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class="style7" Geared Heads vs Fluid Heads

>Published : 10th March 2008

OK...Here goes.


I use to insist that operators use geared heads and yet I've seen some remarkable fluid head operators.
I completely understand using fluid heads on small projects. They are big and bulky and frankly there needs to be a new generation of fluid head built for today's subtle moves.

>Here goes my fluid head "rant"…

If you are shooting a film for the large screen there are very few operators who can make specific moves, come to a hard stop without slight breathing with a fluid head. The slightest of adjustments (if you breath) will be seen on a 15 foot or larger screen.


Pan and tilt use to require very slight adjustment. Today the loose head philosophy of operating allows for bumps and obvious adjustments. Often times there is too much correction (every time an actor moves the camera adjusts). I have a philosophy: any camera movement upstages a character's movement. Dolly movement with actor movement is corrective unless the movement is opposing or at a different speed. If a camera frame adjusts as an actor adjusts it alters the power or artistic choice that an actor gives that movement. Certainly that camera movement might be necessary to keep the character in frame but there are occasions when that movement is an artistic choice.


As for learning the gear head you would be surprised how quickly you can learn. Once learned it does not go away. The key to operating a gear head is disengaging you mind from the process. If you disengage your mind from the motor-skill process of when to pan and tilt, allowing artistic choices to govern your choices you will be surprised at how quickly you get the skill. I see operators flub a shot when they think about which direction they have to go with the wheel in order to effect the shot. Don't do it. Don't think about the wheels. Only engage in the performance, becoming "one" with the story unfolding before you.


I promise that the "skill" will come to you much quicker. As for signing your name, making circles, figure eight's are great cocktail party tricks but you will seldom, if ever, use them in the making of a motion picture.

>Roy H. Wagner ASC
Director of Photography


>As for signing your name, making circles, figure eight's are great cocktail party tricks but you will seldom, if ever, use them in the making of a motion picture.

Here Here!


As a passable wheel guy, I couldn’t agree more.
I once asked someone where I might actually end up using figure 8's, and he replied, "high camera on a figure skating job."

I was quite intimidated by wheels when I first started out, since I couldn't ever draw anything I liked on an etch-a-sketch, but found that the best little practices for me were the following three things (not in this particular order)

Sitting in my driveway with a long lens and following traffic as is zoomed up and down my street through my Mitchell side finder or still camera.

Sitting close to my TV set and making close-ups out of all the wide shots following the various curvy lines of the myriads of motorcycles and cars that always seem to be at our house (some ours, some others.)

In all cases, it is (for me) about composition, not crosshairs. I don't need wheels to make ugly cantered compositions with a camera - I can do that with a fluid head)

Mark H. Weingartner
LA based
P.S. : If you can ride a motorcycle reasonably well, I suspect that picking up wheels is not that hard...there is a lot of the same muscle-memory stuff involved.
Different stakes - the bike can get you killed, but much worse, the wheels can get you fired.


>Mark wrote:

class="style8">>>Different stakes - the bike can get you killed, but much >>worse, the >>wheels can get you fired

>I experienced death on the wheels. Try shooting smooth, diagonal shots on a 200mm macro when you're new on the wheels. I still have the nightmares...

>Jim Sofranko
NY/DP


class="style8">>>"OK...Here goes.
>>I use to insist that operators use geared heads and yet I've seen some >>remarkable fluid head operators."

>You are brave to start such a subject, Roy, but it will be fun to see the responses from folks.

>Twenty years ago on my first job as an operator, DP Peter Collister said something to me I've never forgotten, and I use it every day of work. He said to me "I don't care whether you use the wheels or the fluid head, but decide early." Every operator, as they become experienced, learns what works best for them on what shot, and becomes very proficient at doing whatever kind of shot is required. I regularly use both heads as the situation dictates, although it seems that most shots (probably 80%) are on the wheels. There is a bit of an old school egocentric thing about using the wheels. Reality, practicality, and ergonomics soon taught me that pride should play no part in the decision. As quite a tall fellow, I quickly learned that a shot that starts quite low, dollies, rises, and pans such that I'm going to be crawling across the dolly chassis is not going to be wise for me to do with the geared head. But, of course, I have developed and refined how to do those with the fluid head.

One really huge benefit of the geared head that Roy touched on is that the shot is going nowhere if I don't move a wheel. I find this particularly useful on close-ups. I can scan about the frame watching the talent, the over subject, the focus, the mic, the background, etc, with no worries of the tilt changing. I was always particularly annoyed doing close-ups with fluid heads, because I found that as the shot progressed and the film shifted to the back of the mag, the tilt would invariably drift. Of course one can overcome this, but it takes significantly more attention to crosscheck and correct. I much prefer not having to worry about this, and concentrating on the other details that are important to the shot. Shots that just scream for a geared head for me are close-ups, dolly shots with fast starts/stops, and about 80% of everything else. Shots that always call for a fluid head for me are as described above, extremely long lens shots and, surprisingly, when on cranes. The latter technique I learned from Dean Semler, and it is a great one. Another great technique that was passed to me by a fellow operator years ago is to use a second handle on the fluid head. That handle rigs "aimed" forward so that your left hand is on the handle just below the focus knob. It is much like grabbing the matte box, but is consistent regardless of the lens used. It is a great idea, especially for low shots with lots of pan, or really fast pans.

I also agree with Roy about learning the wheels, and staying proficient. I think baptism by fire is the best way to learn; something like a season of episodic television. And like he said, it stays with you. I once had to take a considerable time off to recover from an injury. I was worried about proficiency on the wheels when I returned, but as soon as I was into the task, it was like riding a bike again. I could never do a figure eight to save my life; probably couldn't today. But give me an actor or other subject, and they won't escape.

So, back to my original statement and Peter's admonishment, I watch the rehearsal and blocking, and very soon know how I'm going to do the shot. A quick look and signal to the AC to swap out the heads, if necessary, is the ticket to getting the shot and never slowing things down.

I would be interested to hear others' techniques.

Happy New Year to all...

Randy Feemster, SOC
L.A./Tucson


class="style8">>>Shots that always call for a fluid head for me are as described above, >>extremely long lens shots and, surprisingly, when on cranes. The >>latter technique I learned from Dean Semler, and it is a great one.

>Can you elaborate on this one? I assume you don't mean just remote head crane work, as that would be for sure on the wheels. I tried the Technocrane joy stick once and it was so lame that it forced me for the first time to use the wheels. My one advice: JUST DO IT. Throw yourself in there with the wheels and you'll learn fast. Thinking about it does not help.

>best and happy new year to all

>Byron shah
dp Los Angeles


>As a young DP I thought I had to control everything. Thus, I defined the tools that others used. I'm much older now and believe that if you hire persons for specific positions you must trust their instincts and their choices. Ultimately all I care about is results. Whatever instrument gets me there is the best tool. I've worked with brilliant operators, assistants, gaffers, key grips, and associates. All of them do their jobs differently. I love learning new approaches to old tricks.

>On one of my last projects, "Kidnapped", I had the opportunity to work with one of the best camera departments I've ever had. I don't know if it is a "New York thing" but they had a second smaller pan handle on the front of the fluid head (much like grabbing their matte box rods). What a brilliant idea. I(t worked very well. You weren't reliant on the one set of muscles to direct the motion of the head.

>Frankly I think the advent of reflex viewing destroyed operating because it requires that the operator not only operate the camera but their body. The body must follow the camera. In the old days the operator stood back from the frame, looking through the side finder affording a more distant view of the total image. The eye was not required to race around the ground glass as it does today. (I was taught by Ansel Adams to view the image at arms link.)

>I personally think that all forms of operating are currently antiquated. I believe that all cameras should be operated with a Remote Control Head with the operator disengaged from the physical constraints of "dancing" the dolly. With a more removed view of the scene the operator can be more focused on the interpretation of the scene. Camera assistants have removed themselves from the camera by using remote follow focus systems. I think it has significantly improved their performance.

I also believe that camera operators and camera assistants should own their personal tools. Camera Operators should own their own fluid and geared heads. Just like a fine automobile a camera head develops the signature of its operator. Camera Assistants should own their own follow focus systems. Granted, many producers will never give you the rental that you desire but they are your own personal tools that affect the quality of your work.

More to follow....

Respectfully,


Roy H. Wagner ASC (SOC Honorary)
director of photography


>Hi Roy,

>Superb post!!!

>>>If a camera frame adjusts as an actor adjusts it alters the power or >>artistic choice that an actor gives that movement.

>Very well said! Following your rule the film has more life. It gives the subject a relationship to the camera. That's a rare point of view these days. Motivate the camera movement, just don't motivate it too much.

>I think it won't be long before directors just want to swing the camera around on a rope above their head.

>>>The key to operating a gear head is disengaging you mind from the >>process.

>Without contradicting what you are saying, I have a trick that works well for me and has been beneficial to students in some operating classes that I have taught.

>Let's see if I can explain without a physical reference:

>Set the rear wheel to neutral and place the handle in the center left side of the wheel. Imagine that it moves in a straight line up and down. Pull the handle up and the camera tilts up, push down and it tilts down. Then remember pull up, push down.

>Set the side wheel to neutral with the handle at the top center. Again imagine that the handle moves in a straight line, toward and away from you. To pan away from your body (right) push the handle. To pan toward your body (left), pull the handle. Think of pushing the lens away (right) and pulling it towards (left) your body.

>Always set the wheels in these positions as a default (most comfortable anyway) and it's difficult to go wrong.

>You can practice by doing the motions and tilting or panning your head (the one that holds your face). If you can get these rules into your head, then when you default to thinking (yikes), you have a rational reference to default to. This works incredibly well for some people.. maybe a left/right brain dominance issue.

>Happy New Year to all.

>Best Regards,

>Anders "Roy, I owe you a welders glass!" Uhl
cinematographer
ICG, New York


>Roy Wagner wrote:

class="style8">>>Frankly I think the advent of reflex viewing destroyed operating >>because it requires that the operator not only operate the camera but >>heir body.

>Roy, you've really done it this time

>This has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time. I, too, learned to operate "in the old days" with a BNC and wheels and found I could never seem to be able to duplicate with a reflex camera what I had been able to do in terms of operating with the side finder. (And I owned my own Arri IIc at the time.) Looking through the lens was great in terms of being able to see focus and so on, but it was a distraction from pure operating and a having what I can only describe as a sense of control of the composition. Not only that, with the side finder there was no loss of light so even the darkest shots were clearly visible and in bright light you didn't have to contend with a high stop or heavy ND’s or fog filters, etc. Also, focus was entirely the concern of the First AC -- as long as you checked the cams.

It was also very easy to see actors or action about to enter the frame.

Sure there have been great improvements in reflex viewing with periscopes and orientable and extended eyepieces of varying lengths and eye piece supports and eyepiece heaters, but every one of these devices has its own set of complications. For instance, I've never seen a set of viewfinder extensions that were close in terms of colour matching and optical quality. I know that these things don't effect operating perse, but they can be a distraction at exactly the time you don't need any.

class="style8" >> I personally think that all forms of operating are currently antiquated. I >>believe that all cameras should be operated with a Remote Control >>Head with the operator disengaged from the physical constraints of >>"dancing" the dolly.

>I've tried it a few times in the past, but the heads and the video taps were not up to the tasks of rapid set up and moving as required by contemporary schedules. As wireless and multiplex systems improve it looks like it might be doable in the not too distant future.

class="style8">>> I also believe that camera operators and camera assistants should >>own their personal tools. Camera Operators should >own their own >>fluid and geared heads.

>One things for sure, people would take a lot better care of them.

>Thank you, Roy, for some excellent posts.

>Brian Heller
IA 600 DP


>I disagree with the regular suggestion that people learn to write their names and do figure eights with gear heads to become proficient. The trick is learning to follow things, mostly people, that you would normally follow. I used to spend my lunch time on the "A" camera wheels following the art department around as they dressed the set. That was much more valuable experience.

>Another trick: I read that someone did a study where they studied people playing basketball over a period of time, and then compared those people with another group who played basketball less but thought about it A LOT. Both groups came in about equal when tested for improved aptitude. So I'd sit in front of the TV and move my hands the way they'd have to move if I was doing the shot I was watching. It worked really well.

>There was about an eight year period where I didn't touch a geared head. When I was finally offered one again (actually the director thought it was cool that I used to operate that way and insisted I do it for him!) I was a bit nervous, but I nailed the first shot and I wasn't too nervous after that. I still found myself occasionally thinking too hard about a shot, and that bugged me because I knew there wouldn't be any of that with a fluid head.

>I find that there is MORE of a temptation for me to move the camera when I'm using a geared head because. It's too easy to make small adjustments, and there's a temptation for me to over-adjust because I know that if someone moves too quickly I may not be able to keep up with them on the wheels, so I cheat a bit. I don't like that.

>With a fluid head I can more easily operate the way I like to: move the camera only when it needs to move and keep it stopped and framed the rest of the time. I'm of the firm belief that half of camera operating is knowing when NOT to move the camera, and I like NOT moving the camera a lot. And then I like moving it to a new frame and then NOT moving it some more. With a fluid head I find that I can do that more easily because I can operate more instinctually and have access to a greater number of speeds of movement within a shot.

>I also like being attached to the camera. When I operate I tend to sense the world around me as a sphere with objects at different places on it, and I have a good feel for where those objects are if I'm attached to the camera and have to whip pan to something. I've done a fair bit of video operating off a separate monitor and it's not quite the same feeling. I like having my right hand on the pan handle and my left on the head, or where the head meets the dolly, for feedback.

>I do love operating wheels but I guess I've just gotten really good at working with a fluid head to the point where it totally gets out of my way. If I was a dedicated operator I'm sure I'd love wheels, as I have in the past the few times I was a dedicated operator, but as I'm always DP as well these days I try to keep it simple.

>One rule of thumb I heard once was: geared heads are great under 100mm; not so good over 100mm. Works well for me.

>Art Adams
Director of Photography
Film | Hidef | Video
San Jose, CA, USA
www.artadams.net
415.760.5167


>Roy, I couldn't agree with you more.

>I remember teaching myself the wheels shooting my first feature, a 12 day mad dash with a GII and a lot of friends helping. I was operating, and I kept putting the camera on the geared head to force myself to learn it. Now, as I watch my friends Kenji, or Lynn, or Ms. Starr, etc etc etc... on the
wheels.. I know I'm a mere wheels amateur and need to stand next to the director and work with them... help them tell the story they want to tell. I have been asked on every job I've done since the new contract to shoot 2 cameras but operate one. I have very calmly explained why I think it's a bad idea (all the same reasons Roy and others have already given) and every producer has agreed and we've moved forward with 2 operators... and at the end of the job the thanks I get are for my crew and their efficiency... something that I certainly couldn't organize as effectively away from the director's side.

>I once had a very experienced director on an Indie movie explain why it was so helpful to him to have an operator on a one camera show.

>He basically said that when he says "check the gate" he wants the DP to be on the next shot with him right away, or ahead of him. Even though it may only be seconds, he really feels the disconnect when a DP looks up from the camera, and he's still playing back the shot he just did in his head, making sure it was OK, keeping him away from the director's side and forward progress. I've kept that conversation in the forefront of my mind when one of my bosses, the producer, asks me to do something that will hurt my main collaborator (and often) reason for being there, the director.

>I'll stop rambling, all hail the operators, and happy new year again!

>Patrick Cady
600 DP LA


class="style8">>>Shots that always call for a fluid head for me are as described above, >>extremely long lens shots and, surprisingly, when on cranes. The >>latter technique I learned from Dean Semler, and it is a great one.

>Can you elaborate on this one? I assume you don't mean just remote head crane work, as that would be for sure on the wheels.

This is when on any of the "manned" cranes, certainly becoming less common these days as remote heads become more common. With this technique, I still use the "big brass" pan wheel to rotate the entire platform as required with my left hand, but use a fluid head with my right hand. This sounds kind of weird, but works fabulously. With the fluid head you can fine tune the pan and control the tilt with no restrictions.

I kind of agree with the post about operating changing to remote heads. The only downside of that is that it changes the conventional way in which the operator is the human connection of camera to the set, especially the actors. A great bond of trust is built between the actors and the camera operator. Wonderful relationships are made, albeit somewhat protocol oriented. There is a many a scene that requires the operator to be part of "the dance" with the actors. Actors realize this, and most treat it very professionally. If the operator's communication and political skills are strong, this can become an easy and creative dynamic that contributes significantly to the show. As an operator, you know you are on the right track if your actors bond with you on that level. You can feel it, the shots show it, and the actor may even tell you that they trust you at the end of the day. Doesn't get any better than that.

Randy Feemster, SOC
L.A./Tucson


>"Can you elaborate on this one? I assume you don't mean just remote head crane work, as that would be for sure on the wheels."

This is when on any of the "manned" cranes, certainly becoming less common these days as remote heads become more common. With this technique, I still use the "big brass" pan wheel to rotate the entire platform as required with my left hand, but use a fluid head with my right hand. This sounds kind of weird, but works fabulously. With the fluid head you can fine tune the pan and control the tilt with no restrictions.

I kind of agree with the post about operating changing to remote heads. The only downside of that is that it changes the conventional way in which the operator is the human connection of camera to the set, especially the actors. A great bond of trust is built between the actors and the camera operator. Wonderful relationships are made, albeit somewhat protocol oriented. There is a many a scene that requires the operator to be part of "the dance" with the actors. Actors realize this, and most treat it very professionally. If the operator's communication and political skills are strong, this can become an easy and creative dynamic that contributes significantly to the show. As an operator, you know you are on the right track if your actors bond with you on that level. You can feel it, the shots show it, and the actor may even tell you that they trust you at the end of the day. Doesn't get any better than that.

Randy Feemster, SOC
L.A./Tucson


>I agree with you Roy,

>When i was a 1st AC i would put the geared head on a hi hat in front of my big TV with a 85 prime and practice after the prep at home. I found the more you did it and less you thought about what you were doing the better. I love wheels, and the combination of swing head with wheels is nice, but if the director want's to Dutch a lot in the shot then a O’Connor with a Cartoni is more manageable. Anything long lens, table top with the nice aid of the tilt wedge, and dolly moves, the shots looked more "organic".

>My last concert i worked on was me on the Techno and for 6 hours straight, not even a bathroom break. The crane tech. suggested the joy stick because it was video, i tried to work the stick but found i couldn't do it. I looked retarded, and the director was starting to have doubts. So i switched to wheels and thus had to have a 1st AC pull focus and zoom. This 1st was not in the budget, so i split my rate with him because without him my operating sucked. The director loved the moves and i was Tai Chi Zen operator. Nick Mclean Sr. told me when you operate, "Just tell the story", and on a camera move make sure you are more comfortable on the end, than on the beginning of the shot. It is hard to hold an end frame all contorted on a dolly.

>These days a geared head is a dying art. The party tricks i think are more to impress or intimidate the ones who are green on the wheels, sort of a operator hazing thing.

>Regards,
Egon Stephan Jr.
Cinevideotech Inc.
IATSE 600 DoP
Miami


>Roy,

>Thank you very much for writing these words of wisdom. In the times we've had the pleasure to work together I've always appreciated your council and guidance. I am a better operator because of it and am grateful to you for your help and your belief in me.

>My thoughts on heads are as yours. I try to do everything on the gear head as I feel it is more precise, repeatable, and intuitive. I only reach for a fluid head if I can't do the shot any other way. I know this seems odd to some, but in reality fluid heads are much more work as they tend to drift. You have to pay attention to the head every moment when you should be devoting your entire concentration to the shot and what is in it. When I must use a fluid head I turn the fluid up so high my assistants refer to it as my "exercise device" because to actually move it requires some effort. This is on the advice of Jack Green, ASC who told me you should always use the lowest gear or the most fluid that still allows you to do the shot. The reason being if you anticipate movement and actually try to move the camera prematurely it is much less noticeable in the lowest gear or with heavy fluid.

>Roy, you also gave me two great pieces of advice that I take with me always. Operating is all about where you put your feet and a comfortable operator is a bad operator. Thanks again for all your help.

>Dan Kneece, SOC
Los Angeles, CA


class="style8">>>on a camera move make sure you are more comfortable on the end, >>than on the beginning of the shot. It is hard to hold an end frame all >>contorted on a dolly.

>Not sure if I'm changing the subject too much here but I find that when I design dolly moves I always find the end mark first. For me, the end of the move is most often where the money is, and if I find my end composition and then work backward I always manage to find the other marks without too much trouble at all.

>An interesting dance I've learned to do with a fluid head is being able to clamber over and around a dolly while doing a move and isolating my body movement from the camera. It's fun when it works.

>Art Adams
Director of Photography
Film | Hidef | Video
San Jose, CA, USA
415.760.5167


class="style8">>>Ultimately all I care about is results. Whatever instrument gets me >>there is the best tool.

>Amen.

>I remember my first time on the "Wheels". I was B operator on an Indie picture in New Orleans. A cam was on an Arri II head B cam was on O’Connor.

>Everything was going great until A operator had to step out for a day. Well you can guess what happened next, my DP says," Tom you are on A and you are solid on wheels right?". Of course I said, "Yep" and started sweating profusely at the thought of what I'd just gotten myself into. I never left the camera, constantly practicing until the first shot of the day. I got through it. Funny though the DP said later," Not bad for your first time on a gearhead." I said, "How did you know?" He said," By the sweat pouring down your face and back."

>I love a gearhead and the look it gives you. I too avoid the "floaty" constantly adjusting camera. I remember initially how much I hated the operating on NYPD Blue but then later grew to like it.

>Tom McDonnell, SOC
IATSE 600
New Orleans, La
Los Angeles, Ca
818-675-1501


class="style8">>>When I must use a fluid head I turn the fluid up so high my assistants >>refer to it as my "exercise device" because to actually move it requires >>some effort.

>Agreed with lowest gear possible - I did the same on the wheels. 3rd gear never saw much use.

>With fluid heads, the problem with having the head really tight is the Ronford legs or even dolly arm tend to flex slightly under much panning effort, and when you hit your stop, the ending of all that panning pressure causes it to spring back softly (try it once and see the flex in the sticks or even a Hustler arm). You'll notice this only on longer lenses with a 2575's pan-drag cranked 7+, and more with faster/deliberate moves that'll bounce gently at the end, or vibrate on a long lens. I've always favoured looser head and 'tai chi' moves. with today's great fluid heads you can adjust counterbalance so the tilt freezes in nearly any position.

>To each their own of course, and it varies for each specific setup, that's why the heads adjust. But I have noticed the flex/backlash issue with the setting too tight, and really simple moves made messy this way, when a lighter touch might've been better.

>When you use a fluid head with a slider, in general I prefer the pan/tilt have about the same loose resistance in drag as the slider does - or close to it... this is simply my own preference so its all somewhat "at one" in terms of the feel. Whenever I've tried otherwise I've had to fight the move rather than simply execute it by feel -- push the pan arm away to pan Left and the heavy drag's causing you to influencing the slider to go Right! Aaargh!

>Fortunately I've worked with many Operators far better than I ever was.

>To each their own, what matters are results.

>Mark Doering-Powell
LA based DP


class="style8">>>"Agreed with lowest gear possible - I did the same on the wheels. 3rd >>gear never saw much use."

>If you really want to challenge yourself, give yourself a morning in third gear. You'd be amazed at how refined and smooth your hands become. Not that I spend any routine time there, nor would I recommend it, but with enough experience you will find that your hand will respond just as smoothly as your eye requires/commands, regardless of the gear you are in. It will pay off later with even smoother hands in lower gears. That said, my routine starting point is 2nd gear in pan, 1st gear in tilt.

>Nobody has yet mentioned any "free wheeling" techniques/practices... where the subject passes close to you in maybe a counter dolly move and you "send" the pan wheel, helping the momentum with some lateral pressure on the tilt wheel, left hand fingers skimming on top of spinning pan wheel to measure its progress, marrying it to what your eye sees, and taking the pan wheel back under direct control at the right speed and moment. This sounds harrowing, and I suppose it is the first time or two, but soon it too becomes quite routine...but always fun!

>It is indeed a great job, huh guys?

>Randy Feemster, SOC
L.A.-based


class="style8">>>When you use a fluid head with a slider, in general I prefer the pan/tilt >>have about the same loose resistance in drag  as the slider does

>Sliders are a great tool - especially for tight over shoulder shots where the foreground subject shifts about on their feet, encroaching on the player facing the camera but - and for me it's a BIG but - I really wish someone would engineer one so there was some dampening to the sliding action.

>Trying to use one in conjunction to subtle pan and tilt movements is a pain - sliding when you want to pan being the principle grief. Some sort of primitive drag - a soft rubber wheel held against the slider bars with a spring that one could wind tension into, for instance - would be good. To get the pan as loose as the virtually frictionless slider means dialling it all the way to zero.

>Nothing can replace an alert dolly grip and a 4'x8' sheet of dance floor I guess

>Tom Townend,
Cinematographer/London.


>Tom Townend wrote :

class="style8">>> wish someone would engineer one so there was some dampening to >>the sliding action. Nothing can replace an alert dolly grip and a 4'x8' >>sheet of dance floor I guess

>Dampening would be great, but I think it makes them a bit noisier (as its not enclosed) and perhaps one wouldn't get the effortless adjustments possible on the subtle to/fro and possibly get harder stops (not the nice drifts that ramp to a stop). But it would be a great option if it could be well made. And yes, nothing beats a good Dolly Grip, but then there's also a lot of cool things you can setup quickly with a slider in tight spaces, or pushing into a cabinet or whatever where the clearance on rods & MB is really tight. They're a great tool.

>Good Dolly Grips are camera operators too. Not just because they're also adjusting the frame to their monitor and helping to compose, but even without that they time the speed of their moves to be graceful or not, and to fit the scene. Dolly or crane or wheelchair. Really an underrated craft as it relates to camera operating and composition.

>They really are part operators on a regular basis.

>Mark Doering-Powell
LA based DP


>Tom Wrote about sliders:

class="style8">>>I really wish someone would engineer one so there was some >>dampening to the sliding action.
>
>>Trying to use one in conjunction to subtle pan and tilt movements is a >>pain - sliding when you want to pan being the principle grief.

Agreed Tom, major weak point with sliders! Check out the "Silent Cat" slider I mentioned in the slider thread in CML General. It has an adjustable fluid drag device that should help with this.

Also great mounting options ...


www.thatcatcamerasupport.com

>No Affiliation, just played with a demo unit. If anyone has used this slider in real conditions, please let us know your experience!

>Best,
Alan Jacobsen
DP - NYC


class="style8">> Check out the "Silent Cat" slider

>Looks nifty.

>Tom Townend,
Cinematographer/London.


class="style8">>>Frankly I think the advent of reflex viewing destroyed operating >>because it requires that the operator not only operate the camera but >>their body.

>Amen to this. I think one of the greatest advents to modern operating has been the small onboard LCD monitor. I regularly find myself operating off of one of these and shutting the eyepiece. It not only frees up my body for more efficient and effective operating, but also helps me to be aware of the universe around me. When I wish to I'm fully mentally focused on the frame on that screen, shutting out the outside world. But my body is not connected to the camera, so I don't have to fear the increased momentum and inertia of that mass (it seems to be growing!). I think it's added a lot to my operating.

>Mitch Gross
NYC DP/TD
Abel Cine Tech