Sunday, October 21, 2007

1/2 a Steadicam Operator

This week I did a lot of work with the Garfield mount. The Garfield is a mount that allows the Steadicam to mount directly to the levelling head of the dolly, which results in you providing the movement while the operator rides and does what he does. There are a few applications where this is a great tool. In our case, it was a shot involving pulling (meaning the camera is facing an actor and moving backwards with him as hewalks/runs, while the Steadicam operator is facing forward) an actor at high speed through several aisles in a warehouse making several dogleg turns. The operator wanted to "Don Juan" (meaning when a Steadicam operator runs forward in front of an actor with the camera facing behind him) but there were several turns and a reverse direction that made this difficult. I suggested the Garfield and as the Hustler has roundy round for the dogleg turns, it worked like a champ. The camera operator was also able to achieve that mid-low height that is hard to get on a Steadicam. We also used it later in a large open warehouse space for a confrontation involving three actors. This was fun because as a dolly grip you have a little freedom to play and improvise. If you see an opportunity for an over or a cool foreground piece to dolly past you can slide over and take it without worrying about bumps on the floor. Like any tool, it can be overused and I have worked with Steadicam operators in the past who used it just because they didn't want to walk. I always ask them for half their rate in these cases but usually only earn for myself a nasty look. You do have to be careful with your stops and starts with this configuration so you don't sling the Steadicam arm around too much making it hard to control. So remember this as an option when the need arises.