The Queen Mary Workshop, Long Beach, California, April 2016
by Chris Fawcett, inventor of the Steadicam Fawcett Exovest
photos: Nadiya Rodkina
Steadicam remains one of the strongest storytelling tools for cinematographers. There is no other way to move the camera that so closely replicates the human experience of vision. Its agility and ability to react instantly and move rapidly in space to control compositional elements is unrivalled.
The Tiffen and Steadicam Operators Association (SOA) Gold Workshops are an intensive 5½ day program teaching all elements of Steadicam operation. From physics and theory to hands-on practice, students learn the lore, tricks and politics of “getting the shot” from master operators with up to 40 years of experience.
Classes begin before breakfast with individual practice and continue long after dinner with lectures and demonstrations that cover every aspect of the art. Training starts with lighter rigs and quickly moves up to full-size production-ready Steadicam systems. The workshops are open to everyone–from experienced operators to novices, though some camera experience is recommended.
The students in the April workshop on the Queen Mary docked in Long Beach ranged from 18 to 70 years of age. Physical strength is not a factor—some of the strongest students are often the lightest in build.
Beginning with simple pass-by exercises, the workshop moves directly to actual location shots on day two. There’s no better way to learn than on the job. All the great advantages of Steadicam are explored, with emphasis on the meaning and aesthetics of telling the story by moving the frame through space.
The Gold Steadicam workshops bring all 16 students up to a level from which they can train themselves to become masters in all elements of the art. It’s a transformative experience that has launched many successful careers.
The instructors on the Spring 2016 Gold Steadicam Workshop were:
Garrett Brown (Inventor of the Steadicam)
Jerry Holway (Author of the Steadicam Operators Handbook)
Chris Fawcett (Inventor of the Exovest)
Kat Kallergis (New York Steadicam operator)
Evan Bartelman (LA Steadicam operator)
Jay Kilroy (President of the Steadicam Operators Association)
Tiffen Steadicam workshops info at http://flysteadicam.tiffen.com/