Cinematography

A Beginner’s Guide to Basic Steadicam Positions

Since its invention in 1975 by cameraman Garrett Brown, the Steadicam has expanded into its own niche within the film industry and become an integral part of the filmmaker’s toolkit.

As a camera assistant (AC), you can’t have a career beside the camera without eventually working with a Steadicam. Even if you’re just beginning as an AC or trainee, there’s a good chance you’ll soon work alongside a Steadicam operator, perhaps on some of those notoriously long takes.

So what do you do when they tell you they’re flying the camera low Don Juan? Or they’re thinking missionary is the best position for a shot? For starters, they aren’t coming on to you. They’re telling you how they plan to coordinate the complex movement of their feet, the camera, and the subject.

(And you, if you’re pacing alongside them during a shot – whether as a spot or a focus puller)

For you, as an camera assistant (AC), it’s vital you’re on the same page as your operator, especially if you’re the one pulling focus. It’ll also help you communicate with the operator to coordinate changing needs for the Steadicam rig between setups.

So, with that said, let’s cover the basics of Steadicam positions…

The Basic Modes and Positions of Steadicam

There are two basic “modes” of Steadicam operating:

  1. High mode: The camera sits on top of the sled, typically at a height between …read more

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