Monday, December 18, 2006

Homemade Steadicam...and not much else

It's been quiet, no filming going on, not even really working on anything. Since I'm taking time off I decided to actually take time off instead of working on another part of the project. Well, that's not entirely true. I did do some location scouting and built a homemade steadicam.

I'd seen articles and plans on how to make steadicams several dozen times over the years, I've even looked at buying them - ultimately I never bothered with any of it. The homemade ones all seemed too much work for no real results, the pro ones just seemed way overpriced for what small use I'd really have for them (not much of a handheld fan since it buggers up any FX).

So a friend of mine, Derek Martin (Grayson, in the movie) sent me an email with a link to another persons site claiming to have a $15 steadicam. I checked it out - it was pretty McGyveresque. Then I figured, what the hell - it cost me more then $15, I neither had the luxury of the same stores this guy did or US prices, still only about $25 so no real complaints.

Finding the right parts without the hassle of running here and getting this drilled and going there and getting this cut and rethreaded was a bit of a pain in the ass. The whole point of something like this is the ease of finding the parts and assembling them - because the ultimate finished product is of only so much use so it's a little ridiculous to put that much effort into it. It's like, why bothering travelling all the way on horseback to a hidden village in Tibet for a special coffee cup, when you really don't drink coffee all that much.

So after a couple hours running around, I found one store that had all the parts, had to go to get two pieces of galvanized steel drilled and that was it. And that's about all the effort needed to make a weird looking t-bar thing with a barbell weight on one end. Not a perfect steadicam, but it actually does make a difference in the quality of handheld shots. It's not "balanced" in the sense a real steadicam should be, more like it's just weighted down to keep down excess wobbling and given a different axis to hold the camera on that helps also.

Overall, it's not too bad, do I have much use for it? Not really. I have a few shots where I can use it and it will help. I'll probably design a few shots to use it just to make use of certain sets and locations. Who knows, I might become more accustomed to it and use it more often, although I'm seriously considering this being one of the last movies I work on - live action at least.

Otherwise, the problem of a lost location that caused a major setback in shooting is more or less taken care of. I've found a place, very similar to what I had before - only this one offers a much wider variety of shots and angles. I've yet to actually secure it for shooting, but I've got a better handle on what needs to be taken care of first before I go in and shoot. So in the new year I'll be working on that and hopeing by mid-January we'll be back up and running and we'll finall wrap this thing up.

And that's it, this is probably the last post for sometime until things get back up and running.

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