Steadicams for Lightweight Video and HDSLR

Steadicam Flyer On A Feature Film

The Steadicam Flyer has been extensively used on the feature film "Maitland". Shooting with JVC HD101E cameras and P+S Technik Mini 35 adaptors with Zeiss lenses and recording to a DR-HD100 hard drive then add BFD wireless focus system and it presents a challenge for the lightweight Flyer, but it worked and worked well.

I arrived on location 2 hours north of Sydney without having had the opportunity to test the full set up. Installing the full camera set up on the top stage I knew would probably not work, balancing the sled would require the gimbal to too far up the centre post. To overcome this we installed 2 batteries at the bottom and attached the hard drive to the back of them. The balanced position for gimbal was now 2 to 3 inches below the top stage, perfect.

The arm was just able to handle the weight, with the heaviest lens, a Zeiss 18mm, it was just at it's limit.

I was able perform shots as well as anything I could do with my Master Film, infact the tight situations inside the Maitland jail location made the Flyer more suitable. I was able to make my profile very narrow moving through cell doors and along the narrow balconies.

For future use of this configuration I have disposed of the IDX V lock battery on the back of the camera and had a custom made cable built to run the camera from the Steadicam power. The IDX also provided power for the BFD wireless focus via the D tap. Unfortunately a standard camera battery has to be used to power the Mini 35 adaptor.

The standard SWIT accessory bracket made attaching the hard drive very simple.
A custom made power cable would enable the DR-HD100 to be powered from a D tap on one of the lower batteries.

This image shows the firewire cable between the camera and hard drive at the rear of the rig, we later moved this using a slightly longer cable to the front of the rig running down to the monitor and then back to the hard drive. We then rotated the drive to a horizontal position which helped with switching between "missionary" and "don juan" shooting positions. It also gave us a better view of the drive's menu window.

I continue to be impressed with the way the Flyer performs. With the new lightweight HDV cameras becoming more and more popular and the increasing production of low budget films I think it will prove to be a very worth while investment.

My experience teaching operating at workshops is due to it being much less physically demanding almost any camera operator can learn to use one very successfully.

I run workshops with the Steadicam Flyer in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane supported by Lemac, the Australian and New Zealand agent for Tiffen Steadicam Products. You can find more details and register for a workshop by visiting the workshops page of this website.