This Official Steadicam Gold Workshop, brought to you by Steadicam Action, Tiffen and Cartoni, is a continuation of the original workshops hosted by Garrett Brown in the pioneering days of Steadicam. Through the input of hundreds of operators adding their experience to the teaching process (most notably Jerry Holway and Ted Churchill), the workshop has developed and broadened into the definitive industry-standard entry to Steadicam operating.
In an immersive experience, spanning five days, we introduce you first to the physical aspects of operating, where step by step, our exercises are tuned to set you up in a sound operating position that will serve you throughout your career. In the following days, our instructors lead you through a series of shots designed to develop your technical and artistic skills, and to introduce you to both standard and new techniques. During these, you learn to operate the Steadicam in its various modes (high and low being only two), and come to understand intuitively how the instrument works as a storytelling tool.
One day is devoted to operating from vehicles, which include a motorised camera vehicle, a rickshaw, a dolly, and a crane (where conditions permit). You learn to work both soft-mount (wearing the vest), and hard-mount (where the Steadicam arm and sled is mounted directly to the vehicle). During this day, there is also a ‘test’ scenario, following which both your shot and your operating technique are reviewed. Finally, a series of precision exercises accompanied by ‘tips and tricks’ rotations sharpen the skills that you have brought to the workshop, and have expanded upon during the week.
Among the subjects interspersed throughout are practical lessons on inertial stabilisation, lens heights and their associated modes, static and dynamic balance, arm tuning, and navigation; lectures on dealing with weather conditions, personal safety, business aspects, and set politics. You are advised on how to improvise and invent the means by which you achieve complex shots, and offered suggestions on how to communicate your ideas. Equipment used is mostly Steadicam M2 variants with Gx series arms, and a selection of vests including Exovest, Ultra, and Zephyr. Bring your own vest, if you have one.
We operate to a high standard of inclusivity. Everyone is welcome, though the more camera experience you arrive with, the better. In its generalities, the course is standard for all participants, but its specifics will be tailored to you, to best develop your skills. Women are explicitly invited to attend. Be assured, also, that Steadicam operating is not about muscle, but about balance and poise. A few dance lessons serve you as well as a gym membership when it comes to dealing with the weight. However, this is a challenging week, and we will encourage you to the limits of your abilities.
It is my honour to lead a team of five highly-experienced European operators that guide you in groups of four students through rotations from breakfast until dinner, with a break for lunch. Following dinner on our first four working days, we schedule a series of lectures dealing with Steadicam posture, aesthetics of camera movement, Steadicam accessories—the highlight of which is an interactive video conference with Garrett Brown. Our last evening is a celebration of our week together, with a small ceremony to welcome you into the world of Steadicam. You will leave in possession of an official Steadicam certificate, and all the skills in place with which to train yourself to a high degree of professionalism as a Steadicam operator.
We look forward to seeing you.