What is a Steadicam Operator, and what is their Position on set?
The Steadicam operator usually works with trained camera operators to provide smooth footage and operation of Steadicam equipment. They learn practical skills by working in a hands-on position where rapidly changing positions and developing needs make for day-to-day production that is challenging and rewarding. This role requires advanced technical skills and the ability to work well under pressure.
Steadicam Operators have a strong working knowledge of various camera systems and lenses. They have a deep understanding of the Steadicam body mount and systems that are used to focus and render footage for film production. This is a physically demanding role that requires long work hours in a fast pace environment.
Steadicam Operator Responsibilities
The Steadicam Operator has several major responsibilities as they pertain to keeping the camera steady for a smooth shot.
They help with camera placement and provide equipment stabilization that is necessary for achieving various technical aspects of the shot including the appropriate balance of light and action.
Steadicam Operators have a deep understanding of the various camera equipment and accessories that are used in the film set.
They recognize the need for body mount systems, remote focus systems, video senders and receivers, and various other specialized equipment used by camera operators to get the job done.
Becoming a Steadicam operator could take several years to master. Those who work in the field are generally actively working to master their skills for several years before they achieve success. Steadicams understand fluently the basic operation aspects and concepts of filmmaking as well as advanced information regarding loads and stabilization.
Steadicam Operator Job
Quality Steadicam operators can position the camera, power, monitor, and accessories in a way that achieves a dynamic balance for a steady shot.
They work with all types of camera equipment and rigs that vary depending on the shoot location, the individual camera setup, and the needs of the film itself.
The Steadicam is an ingenious invention that provides true control to master various skills in camera operation that were not possible before this equipment came into play.
However, Steadicam equipment is also expensive and cameramen are required to take great care of the equipment so as not to risk damage–especially since most Steadicam Operators purchased their own equipment themselves.
Steadicam Operator Skills
Steadicam operators must understand loads, balances, weight differentials, and camera equipment. They have a strong understanding of the film set and camera functions as they relate to production.
Steadicam operators must also possess the following skills:
- Excellent organizational skills.
- Strong physical stamina.
- Ability to work long hours in a demanding role.
- Ability to collaborate with others and work as a team.
- Ability to be agile and work through physical tasks.
- Excellent communication skills.