I have always had a huge interest in operating and jumped at the oppertunity to improve my op-ing skills by taking the universities Steadicam course. Over summer I decided to do a bit of research around it before sending in my proposal. I spoke to the operator on Cold Feet who said he had not done a Steadicam course but really did recommend it. He’d said that even if I don’t necessarily want to go down the path solely of a Steadicam operator that doing the course would greatly improve my general operating skills employability.
I looked at a few of my favourite Steadicam as inspiration:
Tricycle scene in The Shining
Boogie nights double murder scene
Steadicam Training Workshop
I am really excited by the prospect of attending the Steadicam course. If selected, short term, it will open the opportunity for me to work on various different graduation films, exploring styles and pushing my operating skills in a new direction. In the long term it will give me a head start at the beginning of my camera-operating career. I am gearing towards the prospect of continuing documentary filmmaking in the future, at this moment I am operating on a short form documentary centred on a Bare Knuckle Boxing champion. For this film handheld camera work has been key, following the main contributor and trying to keep framing as much as possible. I hope that Steadicam training will help massively to build on these skills. It is the fluidity of camera movement in film that has always inspired me, especially the operation of Chris Haarhoff (Birdman). Although I am currently more documentary focused I am extremely passionate about possibility of camera operation on fictional films in the future and I feel being able to operate a Steadicam system will increase my skillset for this tenfold.
Once Id been told I was successful I decided to buy the Steadicam Operators Manual by Jerry Hollway to help prepare myself for the upcoming intensive three day course. I also began reading some articles to better inform myself. I was honestly a little bit worried about my own physical strength as I had heard the large Steadicam rig, we will be learning on ways around 70pounds! I found one particular article that caught my interest from the Steadicam Operators Handbook by Laurie Hayball: On set, it is even more critical for me to maintain a certain composure than for my male counterparts. There is already a doubt in people’s minds that I can lift the weight of the rig, so I must never complain, groan, huff and puff etc.”
Although I don’t believe my male counterparts or male tutors would think of me in that way at all, there was still a small part of me that began doubting my ability. However I decided to read a bit more about female Steadicam operators and check out some of their own experiences and how they became successful op’s.
I found this: https://opticalsupport.com/2016/04/19/hows-a-little-girl-like-you-gonna-carry-that-heavy-thing-the-world-of-the-female-steadicam-operator/
I discovered a few very important female operators such as: Jessica Lopez, Liz Ziegler, Ilana Gerrard (who is one of the small amount of British female Steadicam ops but actually also started her own rental company Pod Hire) and Katy Most who was actually Russia’s first ever female Steadicam operator!