Article courtesy of Mel Noonan.
For more information on Steadicam and Steadicam Workshops please visit: www.tiffen.com/flysteadicam/
Here’s what the students thought of the Steadicam UK Gold workshop at the end of last year
The venue chosen in November 2016 was the beautifully located Beaumont Conference Hotel, in Windsor, Berkshire, UK. Instructors are highly competent Steadicam operators, hand-picked by Tiffen for their operating skills, communication abilities and enthusiasm for instruction. This time the students were receiving personal instruction from highly skilled and experienced operators:
-Peter Robertson BSC/ACO, Edge of Tomorrow; Anna Karenina; Quantum of Solace; Atonement; Hot Fuzz;
-Paul Edwards BSC ACO, Man From UNCLE; Before I go to Sleep; 47 Ronin; Harry Potter (various); Run Fatboy Run; Apple Tree Yard;
-David Crute, with years of experience shooting mainly television drama and all types of television programming;
Robin Thwaites, Tiffen International Sales Director and
Danny Hallett, Tiffen European Sales Manager, who know the kit inside out and can advise on all aspects of Steadicam choice, set up, operation and accessories.
The workshops draw students from many countries, this time from the UK, the Netherlands, Macau, Denmark, Hong Kong, India, Angola, Austria, Iceland, Slovakia, and Lithuania.
You can read here what the student’s thought of the experience:
Rupert Peddle, UK: I’m a part time first AC and focus puller, part time Steadicam operator. My ambition is to build up to working on bigger budget productions. The workshops are amazing, and cover everything from the basics of operating right through to advanced; It’s great to get the different perspectives of the different instructors. www.pedhead.net
Matthew Barauskas, Lithuania: I studied film in Singapore, majored in Cinematography and worked there. I’m now freelancing in Lithuania. I don’t own a rig and this is my first course, which I am loving. This has to be the only way in. If you rent a rig you’re going to make mistakes and get into bad habits. These guys are professionals – this has to be the best way to learn. www.mbarauskas.com
Vikas Vasudevan, Chennai, India: I want to learn Steadicam and buy a rig. I’m a DP as well. I just graduated from Leeds Film School, living and working in England but I want to go back to India and work on films there.
Matt Davey, UK: I’m managing director of production company Montrose Media, and exec producer for outside broadcast and corporate work. The course has been really interesting to me as a producer and not as a native camera operator. I came into it wanting to understand the capabilities of what Steadicam can do so that when I go to spec jobs or projects, I will really understand what added value Steadicam can bring. www.montrosemedia.com
Elva Sara Ingvarsdóttir, Iceland: Steadicam is something I have wanted to learn but never took the step forward to do it. I finished film school end of 2008 and have been working as a 1st AC and 2nd AC since then. I found this workshop by coincidence online at a time when there wasn’t much happening at work, and I will never regret going. This workshop was really very good with the best instructors, and I learned a lot from all of them with an amazing group of people. I’m definitely going to pursue this further and getting my own rig is going to be the first thing I do. www.elvasara.com Subsequently Elva purchased her first rig in January 2017, and will be the first female owner operator of the top Steadicam rig, the M-1.
Tom Blount, UK: I’m a camera op and Steadicam op. I own a Gildecam X30.
The Steadicam Gold course was a good mix of hands-on tuition, insight in to the role of being an operator, and plenty of time in the various rigs supplied by Tiffen. It was great to have some of the UK’s top operators helping to hone my techniques, teaching us the ins and outs and passing on their knowledge of their time on set. I felt like I got a huge amount out of the week and it was great to spend time with a group of people all equally passionate about Steadicam. I’m still young, still learning, but my ambition now is to own an M-1.
Ben Gibb, UK: I’m a focus puller, on dramas, commercials, feature films; I want to become a camera operator and Steadicam operator as well. These days a lot of companies expect operators to be able to do Steadicam as well. This course is amazing – the teachers, the setting, the environment, the way we all work together. It’s very well organised. It’s good 12 hour days; we meet at 9 am in the morning and then yesterday we finished near enough at 10 pm last night, with an hour for lunch and an hour for supper -I haven’t been to the bar once yet!
Barry Gunning, Scotland: I’m a camera op. I’ve been trying to get on this course for years now but I’ve just always been working. There’s plenty of work in Glasgow. I also do DIT work. Whisky Galore was the highest budget film I’ve worked on. I’ve been thinking about Steadicam ever since I saw films like Rocky and The Shining. You see shots and you think ‘how was that done?’- and then you find out and you just think ‘wow!. What the Steadicam does is not just effectively camera op but you are sort of planning the shots and you’re working even closer, I would say, than a normal camera operator does, with the DP because you can advise on shots – you actually able to craft more creativity into the production values of the film. http://barrygunning.com
Rainhard Lehninger, Austria: I’m already a Steadicam op; I own a Scout, and my main work is commercials but my love is movies. I have an events company, Entech Alliance. My ambition is to become a top Steadicam op in movies. www.entech.at
Simmy, Sin Mei Cheong, Macau: I’m a camera operator and assistant camera, and my interest is in film. My ambition is to become a DoP. This is my first Steadicam course, and I’m enjoying it very much, in particular learning techniques and the design of shots. http://simmycheong.tumblr.com/
Carlos Viera, Angola, Africa: I’m already a Steadicam operator but I don’t own a rig, I use one belonging to the company I work for. I’m working mainly on sport and some commercials. I’m also technical co-ordinator for a government TV channel in Angola. I’m enjoying the course very much because the trainers are so very competent, and it is clear that they are interested to teach, and for the trainees to learn.
Frieder Wallis, Netherlands: I’m originally from Germany, now living in Holland. I’m a first assistant director and line producer working in feature films mostly, but I’m looking to stepping into Steadicam. I have been really looking forward to coming on the course. It’s very demanding, challenging and also top grade. The choice of people, how they teach you, share their visions, the way they put you into the vest and make you experience the trouble they were in 20 or 30 years ago – it’s a very good way to put you on a steep learning curve.
-and afterwards: It was a fantastic week with a very inspiring and motivating workshop! I particularly enjoyed the variety of instructor’s visions and their approaches to the Steadicam and filmmaking in general. Beautifully led by Robin, it was a blast to join this and be part of such a nice, mixed group of students from many countries. For me personally the workshop was a big gamechanger: starting to learn something new and being encouraged by everyone to do so, is something great. I think the week has affected my career already and will continue to do so. Thanks a lot to all, both instructors and students.
Miguel Toran, Hong Kong: I come from Spain originally but now I live and work in Hong Kong. I’m freelance, doing news and documentaries. This is my first time with Steadicam. I’ve come to see if this is a possible direction for me- it would probably be studio work. I’m a camera op and I do lighting as well, and editing. I usually work for BBC, CNN – I do a bit of everything. This course is very intensive, from 9am to 10pm. Last night I finally got to sleep and then I dreamt about Steadicam! www.buplelab.com
Max Franken, Netherlands: I’ve been a Steadicam op since April 2016, working in The Netherlands. I graduated from film school in Brussels; since then I’ve been assisting, camera, and getting into Steadicam. I’ve done the Bronze and Silver, now the Gold. This is a good way to progress because the more you do the better you get.It’s all about repetition, and then working with all these top operators.
-and afterwards: For me the Gold workshop was a great addition to my Steadicam career and learning path. Between the Silver and Gold course I bought my first kit with great help from Danny to get the best kit for my needs. The workshop for me was a confirmation that I was doing things right and taking my operating to the next level, all under the guidance of great operators, David Crute, Peter Robinson and Paul Edwards. It was a fantastic week with amazing people, beautiful location and loads of great toys to practice with. I want to thank everybody again for making this week a great (learning) success. Thanks again Tiffen, Robin and Danny for these great courses and the Steadicam support. www.steadifox.com
Kevin Vidal, Netherlands: This is the first workshop I’ve done. I’ve been a camera assistant – I’m a camera operator now and I am studying at the National Film Academy in Amsterdam. My ambition is to be a DoP. A lot of Steadicam operators from the Netherlands are also focus pullers or grips, and there aren’t a lot of Steadicam ops who also have a film school background or a camera operating DP background; so I thought it was really nice to do this workshop to expand my way of thinking – where to put the camera in space, and maybe doing Steadicam besides my DP’ing in the first years, and being a camera operator on the sets of DoPs and to learn from them.
Jakub Gucman, Slovakia: This is my first time on a Steadicam course. I really like the way it’s done – the way the instructors are talking with us, showing us the tricks and tips how to set up Steadicam, how to work with Steadicam, and most of all, they are very patient with us. They are cool- they just talk with you like with your friends, and it’s like a family atmosphere.
I want to be a Steadicam op. I’m already working as an assistant to a Steadicam operator in a Slovakian company which is focussed on rental. I was sent here because we need more Steadicam operators.
– and afterwards: During the 5 or 6 days of the workshop I obtained skills which would have taken half a year if I was training alone. Immediately after the course I’ve started using the skills and knowledge obtained, and thanks to that I’m prepared now to do some live broadcast for television. I was given an opportunity to train with the most advanced Steadicam technology and it was a great experience for me. I would like to say thanks to all the instructors for their patience and for the friendly atmosphere. It was honour that the best Steadicam operators were teaching us how to use Steadicam correctly. It was great to meet and work with such talented people from all around the world. www.rsr.sk
Dimitrios Mavrogiannis: I have been working a lot recently, on a short film that I’m doing cinematography for, with some of my classmates from the course that we finished last year. We are in the preproduction process and we’re trying to find locations, actors etc. I travel to Brighton a lot, too, for the purposes of location scouting of the short (I live in East London) and also have been doing some editing for past work and have also been doing my part time job, in the private sector.
I haven’t done much camera-operating work recently, apart from a sizzle trailer we shot for the short film, in which we used the Steadicam Smoothee a lot.
I really enjoyed the course and I learned a lot from it, not only regarding image stabilisation but also things that covered many aspects of the production process. All the tutors were good both as operators and instructors , the environment was really welcoming and the structure of the course was just the way it should be, in order for us to take as much as we did in that given time.
I hope to do more Steadicam work in the future and I’m going to look towards that direction as soon as I finish the projects that I have been working for.