Patrick Moreau, Director, stillmotion /
10.15.2012 02:01PM
Steadicam Stabilization Is Key to Success
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 Camera Work.

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.

 
 Patrick Moreau
IMITATIONS NEED NOT APPLY
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 patrick@stillmotion.ca.

For additional information, contact Steadicam at 818-843-4600 or visit http://steadicam.com.



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