Handheld Steadicam Workshop FAQ!

>Is it spelled "steadycam?"

Steadicam is spelled...


--NOT "steadycam", "steady-cam", "stedicam", "SteadiCam", or "steadi-cam"!!! It's spelled correctly in the logo and featured correctly in any reputable dealer catalog. Let's start a trend and respect Garrett Brown's intentions by identifying the Steadicam properly.

Getting Color Bars on the Sony VX-1000 Mini-DV camera

  • Turn the VX-1000 to Camera mode.
  • Put the Start/Stop switch into the Lock position.
  • Press REC and PHOTO at the same time while turning the Start/Stop switch into the Standby position.
  • Color-bars should appear in the viewfinder. (repeat procedure if they do not)
  • Press REC to record it onto tape.

>Will a handheld Steadicam give me the best shots?

There is no single device that will give the perfect image. Steadicam is the most proper kind of added camera stabilization. The handheld Steadicam requires patience, practice, and play. (emphasis on practice, practice, practice!) “Glidecam Industries” promises you perfect shots with their substandard stabilizers and I think their marketing strategy misses the point. Any camera with “steadyshot” (or any stabilizer for that matter) can only HELP you get a good shot—the point is: the good shots are up to YOU and not the rig.

Your camcorder won’t solve every problem either. If you absolutely want professional quality images then an HDV camcorder will knock your socks off and the Handheld Steadicam makes an all-too-adequate companion. The great shots are up to you, though.

>Do you keep the camera's supersteadyshot on?

I NEVER turn supersteady shot off. It is a godsend. It absorbs that tiny amount of footfall vibration which is usually transferred to the camera during operation. Now all I have to watch is the Steadicam's horizon level and the slight up and down motion of my natural walking rhythm.

>Is the Steadicam much better than using just supersteadyshot?

In my opinion they help each other. One really isn’t better than the other. I won’t ever say anything bad about the Steadicam system because I’ve used it successfully for over 18 years but it takes a certain kind of person with the right amount of patience to understand and appreciate its benefits and limitations. High wind and telephoto situations have proven to be the most difficult on the Steadicam. Telephoto shots are “smooth” with the Steadicam but they can “bob” around if your arm gets tired. Wind and other external turbulence can be remedied with the assistance of another person blocking it with a large foamcore board or lighting flag.

>What about vignetting?

Vignetting (vin-yett-ing) is an optical phenomenon that basically means the lens is seeing too much and the inner edges of the lens barrel are visible in the corners of the frame (or even the top edge of your viewfinding monitor). Vignetting is common with the use of any wide lens adapter because the adapter and the primary lens are working together to give the widest possible angle. The best remedy for vignetting is zooming in a little bit. The best way to eliminate vignetting is by viewing your live image on a professional video monitor that offers underscan.

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

Back to the Homepage!
Setup Recipes for Steadicam Merlin & Steadicam JR!
URGENT-Screws Loose on the VX-1000!
Caring for the JR Monitor! --UPDATED!
Balancing the VX-1000 with a Wide Lens Adapter!
Using the XLR-PRO with the Steadicam JR!
Attaching Microphones & Headphones to the Steadicam!
Tips and Techniques
The Support Gear Page!
JR/VX-1000 User Gallery!
Recent DV Headlines!
Using the Zoom Commander Pro with the Cobra Crane!

Other Steadicam & Videography Links!!

Garrett Brown's Website: Moving Cameras for Film & Video!
Fountainhead Pictures (Joe & Dan Masucci)
Home Built Stablizers--Prepare to be inspired!!
Michael Fylyshtan's Steadicam Canada!
SignVideo Video Equipment and Accessories!
Video University VX-1000 page!
Global DVC Steadicam JR Page!

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