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    #11
    Senior Member DPStewart's Avatar
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    I have both a couple of gimbals and a Liange 'Steadycam' and I've learned a lot about both.

    First - 90% of all the gimbal shots that are called for can also be done with a Steadycam. The other 10% certainly cannot, but 90% sure is a lot.

    The Steadycam is cheaper, doesn't need batteries, balances FASTER once you know how to do it, and never has software glitches or power glitches or dead batteries.

    The REAL big deal for me is simply this: if ANYTHING AT ALL goes wrong with your gimbal on set, you're screwed. A Steadycam is a purely physical device and cen be adjusted and worked with in a pinch on set. That makes an enormous difference.
    The best of all worlds is to have BOTH on hand on a shoot.
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    #12
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    A small gimbal on a monopod looks intriguing for weddings. I'm curious how the gimbal motors hold up over a few years of use. A maintained steadycam will pretty much last forever.


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    #13
    Senior Member puredrifting's Avatar
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    In my experience, at least the lower end gimbals are semi-disposable. My gen 1 Crane is getting tired and the pan down switch only works if pan down with a left or right bias, straight down does nothing. Gimbals can be great for certain things but I completely agree, the movement tends toward the robotic and the shots all kind of look the same. A good Steadicam op is worth their weight in gold and can do moves that a gimbal operator can only dream of. But yes, Steadicams are more expensive, larger, more hassle in a way. They are both great tools that have their place. I want to like my little Zhiyun Rider M Go Pro gimbal but so far, it does some weird moves on its own when mounted in a car so I haven't used it much.
    It's a business first and a creative outlet second.
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    #14
    Director of Photography
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    Quote Originally Posted by DPStewart View Post
    The REAL big deal for me is simply this: if ANYTHING AT ALL goes wrong with your gimbal on set, you're screwed. A Steadycam is a purely physical device and cen be adjusted and worked with in a pinch on set. That makes an enormous difference.
    The best of all worlds is to have BOTH on hand on a shoot.
    Good point. I'm about to shoot my first commercial using a gimbal and I'm bringing in a seasoned and highly recommended op to ensure success. One of the things he told me that helped me feel more comfortable is that he has a complete second system (Movi Pro) with him as a backup. During my tenure as a Steadicam operator I never needed a backup system - I did have a duplicate of was the CRT green screen monitor since that was the only purely electronic component. And that was mostly because I bought a second one by a different manufacturer when it was introduced at a "bargain" price...ready for some sticker shock? The original PRO monitor cost $15K, and the radical new XCS one was $10K but the first 50 were sold for only $5K! Such a deal! But both were so good that I never had either go down.

    I'm watching the gimbal evolution closely but I'm seeing so many strange choices made in the design and human interface...operators straining to hold them up to eye level with their necks craned back to view the monitor, massive exoskeletons for support that cannot fit through a doorway in multiple directions. And the delay of majestic mode, even though improved, is still a dealbreaker for me for following the nuance of performance.
    Charles Papert
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    #15
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    +100 to both puredrifting and DPstewart regarding lifespan and reliability of gimbals, though I realize that there are some shots only a gimbal will get you in a pinch. There is one steady cam shot that always stays with me...a very simple shot I suppose....Michael Fassbinder goes for a run at night in a film called Shame....I forget the name of the steady cam operator, but the shot is unforgettable.


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    #16
    Senior Member JPNola's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fboonzaier View Post
    +100 to both puredrifting and DPstewart regarding lifespan and reliability of gimbals, though I realize that there are some shots only a gimbal will get you in a pinch. There is one steady cam shot that always stays with me...a very simple shot I suppose....Michael Fassbinder goes for a run at night in a film called Shame....I forget the name of the steady cam operator, but the shot is unforgettable.

    Familiar with this epic steadicam shot?




    I was lucky enough to be there to witness it in person. I was doing the BTS for the show. I had to learn the timing and movement of the shot in order to remain out of sight while capturing the BTS of the shot. It was a honor that they trusted me not to screw up a shot like that in my attaining of bts.
    Big sources matter.


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    #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesPapert View Post

    I'm watching the gimbal evolution closely but I'm seeing so many strange choices made in the design and human interface...operators straining to hold them up to eye level with their necks craned back to view the monitor, massive exoskeletons for support that cannot fit through a doorway in multiple directions. And the delay of majestic mode, even though improved, is still a dealbreaker for me for following the nuance of performance.
    Agree.

    It’s so odd to me that these exo rigs are so huge you can no longer do the things a Steadicam can do like go though a normal doorway !

    And yes the hesitation in majestic mode when the rig is trying to decide if your move was intentional is stil very visibility in the shot. And last time I tried operating remotely, there was still a lot of delay in transmitting wheels or joystick to the rig. I have actually enjoyed using the mimic but for some reason very few seem to use that way of remote operating.

    JB
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    www.johnbrawley.com
    I also have a blog


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    #18
    Senior Member Run&Gun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPNola View Post
    Familiar with this epic steadicam shot?

    I was lucky enough to be there to witness it in person. I was doing the BTS for the show. I had to learn the timing and movement of the shot in order to remain out of sight while capturing the BTS of the shot. It was a honor that they trusted me not to screw up a shot like that in my attaining of bts.
    I think everyone involved in TV production was in awe and talked about it for months afterwards. I was taking my first Steadicam workshop after that episode aired and one of the instructors had been called to do it, but could not, because he was on another project. He said that they brought in two operators and had a planned built-in 'natural transition/wipe' point(the laundry room in the back of the house, I think) they could use if they couldn't pull it off in one-take and that both operators did the entire shot, start to finish. There was a rumor that they did use the natural wipe point and actually used both operators shots, but that was just a rumor. I don't believe they officially divulged which operator's shot was used in the episode, but it was a true 'oner' and they didn't need to use the natural transition/wipe point.

    BTW: That would have been incredible to watch in-person.


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    #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Run&Gun View Post
    He said that they brought in two operators and had a planned built-in 'natural transition/wipe' point(the laundry room in the back of the house, I think) they could use if they couldn't pull it off in one-take and that both operators did the entire shot, start to finish.
    Would that have been at the 2:53-2:54 mark? It actually looks like a transition did take place there based on the pole wires/helicopter light, but I don't doubt for a second there wasn't.

    Sick scene. Never saw the show once.


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    #20
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    I never saw the show either....thanks for posting....creates incredible tension!


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