B&H, my favorite electronics store here in Manhattan, got to talk to Garrett Brown, the man who invented the Steadicam (and contributed some ground-breaking shots to the history of film himself). I love this quote, in terms of encapsulating the importance of movement inside shots:
“You have to get the physical ‘corpus’ . . . through the move and control this thing and not mess it up—it’s a delicate balance,” Brown says. “It’s hanging out there on a gimbal, it’s floating out on an arm, sticking out in some odd ways, and you’re tearing through the scene. That’s why it is so incredibly much fun to shoot Steadicam, because you have the artistic bit, you have the continuity of a move that does something, that has an emotional whack to it. And then you have the dancer’s tasks of navigating and not falling down, and the more gracefully you can do it, the better the shot looks.”
Of course, this makes me even more interested in DIY steadicams, not necessarily because I can duplicate his products but as a way of learning about the technology. Anyone built a camera mount yourself?