View Poll Results: Would you prefer to purchase a steadicam or shoulder rig?

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  • Steadicam

    5 62.50%
  • Shoulder rig

    3 37.50%
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    Steadicam vs shoulder rig?
    #1
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    I'm trying to work out the pros and cons of getting either a steadicam or a shoulder rig.

    A good steadicam would be more expensive and as I understand it will also take longer to be proficient with, is that right? But, with a steadicam, you will have a lot more flexibility, is that right?

    A shoulder rig is easier to use and will not wear you down as much as a steadicam, as I understand it. And cheaper as well.

    Which one would you prefer if price wasn't a concern?


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    #2
    Senior Member cordvision's Avatar
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    Two totally different tools that give you different results. A steadicam will give you very smooth shots, as if the camera was mounted on a dolly, a handheld rig won't... Therefore, it depends on what your project calls for...


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    #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by cordvision View Post
    A steadicam will give you very smooth shots, as if the camera was mounted on a dolly,
    That would pretty much sell it for me. But if you had a Scarlet shooting at 4K, you could always stabilise a shot with a shoulder rig though, technically speaking, would that be right?


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    #4
    Senior Member cordvision's Avatar
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    Never going to look the same.... Even if you have plenty of resolution from which you extract a stabilized 1080 image, it won't look the same. Also, you introduce motion blur (in different directions) with a handheld rig which stabilizing in post won't remove...


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    #5
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    hmm... good point. So I suppose a shoulder rig is good for, say (very generally speaking) a documentary style look then.


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    #6
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    I do event stuff, so a lot of my work is run and gun style. I now own both rigs, and I have to admit I love the steady cam setup for almost anything im shooting.
    However, with a shoulder rig I get more "money" shots. I have a follow focus and so I can use my more sensitive lenses (i.e. Nikon 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm)
    With my steady cam, I really cant use these lenses.
    Reasons: The lenses are heavy and i have a very light rig - GH2 and most Pana lenses are plastic.
    The Nikon/Canon/Etc. glass, need fine focusing (follow focus) which I cant use on the steady cam
    You cant shoot telephoto or wide open apertures....

    Figure out what you will be shooting, and buy invest accordingly. My first investment was a steady cam, because I know ill use it tons and it was MUCH cheaper then a shoulder rig.
    I got a great Gin rig now, and probably be moving to 50/50 work on both.


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    #7
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    Thanks daihard.

    You're both giving me some serious food for thought, I don't have any experience with the steadicam but it was my impression that there was a lot more flexibility with it over the shoulder rig. But I see that the shoulder rig also has some serious advantages in its own context.

    I was asking about one or the other because I want to purchase either one to be used primarily in making narrative films.

    I may likely find some use for it in a documentary context also though which I would imagine that the shoulder rig would be better suited.


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    #8
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    Also keep in mind you cannot easily rack focus or change any settings with a steadicam as youre shooting.


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    #9
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    I don't have any experience with the Red cameras either but would the Redmote be able to aid in that, say with a second person operating the camera via the redmote?


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    #10
    Senior Member Tom Wills's Avatar
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    The Redmote controls some camera settings, but it won't do focusing on the lens. They were showing a "Redmote Pro" for a while which had a focus knob on it, but there's been no movement on that or new prototypes shown. You're looking at multiple thousands of dollars for a remote focus controller, so that's something to really think about.

    With a Steadicam rig, you need to be prepared for several weeks (at the least, if not months) of practice before you start getting shots that look like "real" Steadicam shots. To get shots that truly rival dolly shots, you may be looking at years of refinement of your skills. Same goes for longer lens shots.

    Steadicam can be an amazing tool, but I'd be reluctant to have it as your only option. I'd get a solution for shooting handheld first. Handheld is a real priority for lots of shooting, and especially for events, there's very little that beats it.

    If you could, I'd find someone with a Steadicam-type rig, and try it out. Ask them about it. Play with it and see if it's what you need for your productions.

    Best of luck!
    Tom Wills
    Steadicam Operator
    Philadelphia, PA
    http://www.willsvideo.com/


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