NEW YORK, NY -- Itis the ultimate gift for anyone shooting with a video camera. Itis the gift youid buy yourself if you could afford it. Itis the gift that gets noticed. Itis the gift thatis only US$6,500.
Itis the Steadicam Flyer from The Tiffen Company and if youive ever been to a sporting event or seen a glimpse of one on the sidelines of a televised football game, you know what they look like.
Itis what a Steadicam does, however, that makes it a unique device. Looking a little like a George Jetson jetpack, the Steadicam allows video shot on film of even a small digital video camera to look effortless, almost motionless as it pans, zooms and follows people and events. Instead of jerky video as a videographer walks along, the Steadicam makes video look smooth and steady thanks to a patented set of springs and joints in a device that a photographer wears on his or her upper body.
While the Steadicam isnit new and has been around for years, a new version of the Steadicam introduced this year called the Flyer, has brought this professional device used in major motion pictures down to a price that while maybe not your home video user can afford, schools, small companies and small video production companies now find in their budget range.
Being shown at this weekis DV Expo East in New York, the Flyer has all the bells and whistles of a $66,000 Ultra Cine Steadicam, but a much lower price to support video cameras and accessories weighing no more than 15 pounds total.
Steadicam instructor Peter Abraham shows off
the new Steadicam Flyer to people attending the DV Expo East in New York.
Steadicam expert and instructor Peter Abraham of Orange County, Penn. believes the Flyer will have a profound impact on people who want professional videos and thought they couldnit afford a professional look.
"I became a Steadicam professional in 1990. I canit remember a time of being more excited that this device is now affordable to so many more video professionals," Mr. Abraham told The Mac Observer. "This is now affordable for smaller companies."
The Flyer could also make the difference for some small video production companies who are trying to deliver a professional product at a smaller price than its competitors. David Eagleburger is a freelance photographer and after seeing the Flyer, he thinks he could get a much needed boost to his video production business.
"I think I could pay for this in a year of use, " he said. "I know a lot of video jobs I could do that want this type of professional motion video. For them to go out to other Steadicam operators that charge $500 or more an hour is out of their budget. But I could charge less and get a lot of business. Iim sure of it."
Mr. Abraham remembered his first time using a Steadicam as a production assistant on a Windex commercial. It was then he realized being a professional Steadicam operator was an art that had to be learned.
"I strapped it on and fell in love," he said. "Learning it and then owning it got me jobs at a level I would never get without it."
Today, Mr. Abraham is a Steadicam instructor, teaching others the nuances of how to operate the unusual contraption.
"It looks simple and it is," he commented. "But if you really want to know how to use it to its utmost, you have to play with it and learn from others."
Mr. Abraham believes that to be a professional Steadicam operator and get jobs, using one requires constant practice. "I canit see using one and not owning it. Itis like if you swing two baseball bats, youill be ready to swing one," he said.
Mr. Abraham believes itis a matter of time before the Flyer is used in a lot more educational, industrial and small market video production.
"This might not revolutionize small market video work, but it will have an impact," he said.