SAN FRANCISCO— stillmotion is a band of
filmmakers and photographers who, as a
rule, always let their curiosity get the better
of them. We believe that the process of
discovery is as important as what goes on
the screen. Our first feature-length documentary
film, “A Game of Honor,” tracked
the lives of the Army and Navy football
teams over an entire season, and was nominated
for eight Emmy Awards, including
Outstanding Sports Documentary and Outstanding
I’m proud of our accomplishments, but
they wouldn’t have been possible without
the help of one indispensible tool—the
Steadicam. This tool has changed the face of
what we do and how we think creatively. It’s
transformed the way we create movement
in film, and that has altered not only how we
shoot, but also how action is perceived.
IMITATIONS NEED NOT APPLY
| Patrick Moreau
I began exploring camera stabilization
early in my career. I wanted to make films
that I would want to watch, and felt that
stronger camera movement was part of
that picture. Before making the investment
in a Steadicam Flyer, I tried some
imitation stabilization products, but returned
them due to the poor results. At
the time, the Steadicam was a sizeable
investment for our small company, but I
knew that you need to be willing to invest
in yourself before you can expect others
to invest in you. Making that initial investment
was crucial to our success. From the
beginning, the Steadicam Flyer just felt
better, smoother, and was more intuitive.
The adjustments were easy and very
precise. The vest was comfortable and
very adaptable to different body types.
Most importantly, it was easy to learn
and we got results faster.
Looking back, the investment in Steadicam
made a world of a difference in the
trajectory of the studio and where it sits
today. We now employ the entire Steadicam
family—the Merlin, Pilot, Scout, and
Zephyr. While the Merlin lets you learn the
basics of setup and control very quickly,
my favorite is the ultra-versatile Zephyr.
As your technique improves, you find
that your ideas for using these tools are
also evolving. The body-mounting system
is superb—it allows me to take longer
and more complicated shots without fatigue,
and feels comfortable and natural
the moment I put it on. It makes it exciting
to go for more high-energy shots that
help build a dramatic cresendo.
At stillmotion, we shoot with DSLRs,
the Canon C300 and the Red EPIC, and have
found that the Zephyr is quick to set up and
balance over a wide range of camera weights
and sizes. The Iso-Elastic Arm helps us shoot
effortlessly from a wide variety of perspectives.
We work on a lot of pieces that are not
heavily produced, so the ability to shoot in a
Steadicam rig for extended periods without
discomfort is essential. There’s an incredible
sense of power when you have one tool that
lets you shoot something as intimate as a
wedding, or as expansive as the Super Bowl.
It elevates what we do and what we teach,
and it’s there for us in virtually any environment
in which we find ourselves.
Cinematographer and educator Patrick
Moreau is the director and one of the driving
forces behind stillmotion. He may be
contacted at email@example.com.
For additional information, contact
Steadicam at 818-843-4600 or visit http://steadicam.com.