Attaching Microphones & Headphones to Steadicam!

Attaching Microphones & Headphones to the Steadicam

It's inevitable that you'll have to use your Steadicam system with even the most basic wireless microphones. I always use one or two Samson wireless mics fed thru and XLR-PRO from Sign Video (or directly into my HVR-V1U) and monitor everything through a pair of Sony MDR V-100 stereo headphones. This means that a total of two mini audio plugs have to be attached to the camera and the added weight of those plugs and wires tip the Steadicam JR over to the right. Re-trimming the side to side trim knob is simply not enough because after a moment the camera will probably dip back over to the right again. This is because there is no correct restraint on the additional weight or wires.

Accessory wires and their respective plugs are nothing more than added weight as far as the Steadicam is concerned. Once re-trimmed the sag of the wires is enough weight to throw the Steadicam off again. This is why holding the wires together with the Steadicam grip handle is crucial. To correctly thread the wires under the hand there must be a "loop" or "slack" in the line (between your operating hand and the camera) so that the Steadicam can be panned left or right without restraint. If the wires tighten and pull the Steadicam off balance again you must give them a small loop so the rig can still do its thing.

The best way to make a loop (provided you've correctly trimmed side-to-side) is to hold the Steadicam with the wires along the grip handle and pan left as much as possible. Allow the camera to pull the wires through your hand until you've completed the pan and then hold them tight on the grip handle. This technique gauges how much wire the camera will pull. Panning to the right will not pull on the wires since the plugs feed into the right side of the camera. Upon panning back to center the "loop" is created. This is a simple technique to get used to and must be followed each time the camera is picked up for a shot requiring wires on the rig.

The photo above an example of how I operate either Steadicam. The "loop" hangs above my operating hand out of the way and the slack spills over on the right side of the system. An added bit of advice: the excess headphone or microphone cord should be thrown over your right shoulder so as not to snag on the lower spar of the Steadicam. Always think of your safety and how add-ons affect the rig!

Complete the Handheld Steadicam Workshop on the Web!!--all written by John Brune

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