OPERATING A STEADY CAM
... It's time to dance.
What’s a Steady Cam?
It is simply an equipment designed and used to stabilize a camera while in motion. It movements are meant to be friendly to the eyes not the jerky movement made by hand held cameras. The steady cam operator uses the soft and gliding movement to keep the camera comfortably steady. The steady cam consists of the grip, the arm and the vest.
This is the main part of the steady Cam on which the camera is mounted. It can be used on its own to secure and balance the camera. The balancing device is the gimbal. Holding the grip alone will achieve balanced movements but it can be quite tiring and not very sustainable, that’s why the other parts are equally important.
The vest is worn and tightly strapped to the body. It is made with steel parts. It distributes the weight placed on it all round the body for easier, long term handling.
The connection between the Grip and the Vest is ably secured by the Arm. The Arm supports your arm structurally acting like an exoskeleton. There are single and double arms with springs to softly hold the grip in place. The other side is keyed into the vest.
Before putting it Together
Setting it up will initially appear to be complicated and time consuming but as you get used to it the task keeps getting easier. Apart from the grip, the arm and vest which is usually what you get when you purchase the steady c am set, you’ll also need to assemble other things to it to make it perfectly functional. These include a camera, an external monitor, an external microphone and lights to get great results for video production.
Personally, I also add a camera cage, a follow focus, a matte box and some magic arms to standardize the set up.
Putting it all together from scratch could take up to an hour, but with a little patience and experience it could be very rewarding. There is no hard and fast rule to putting it all together. Most times it’s like an art canvas of digital video equipment. Just do it the way it works for you, and with some trial and error you’ll find out what works best.