How to hold a camera? Stabilized!
how René Blümel experienced the workshop
At the second artemis camera stabilizing system workshop, held from 10 to 14 April, 16 participants from Germany, Italy, Denmark, England, Austria, Croatia and Switzerland were introduced to the camera stabilizer system. They soon discovered that as well as strength and stamina, a sense of balance was also vital for good handling. The workshop, run by experienced instructors Curt O. Schaller and Kay M. Kramme, was aimed at participants’ practical production requirements.
»I had already got involved with the subject of camera stabilizer system – now I wanted to attend the workshop to see how it really worked. And that’s exactly what the workshop achieved.«
Ole Sieg, cameraman
Getting the movements right
After a creative introduction, the instructors demonstrated the camera stabilising system and showed how it worked. Participants were able to try out the whole range of stabilising systems for video and film (ENG, EFP, studio, 16 mm and 35 mm). One essential element was learning to balance the rig, as complete concentration and body control are vital for stability. As well as adjusting the system to their bodies, the instructors concentrated on getting their movements right: body balance, slow and fast starts and stops, dealing with stairs and changing sides. Those who were good at dancing had a natural advantage and their dance course paid off at the workshop. Handling this system calls for lots of practice and stamina; after ten minutes, nearly every participant had to stop for a breather. So the instructors’ tireless demonstration was very impressive, bringing a wealth of practical know-how to the workshop
Special exercises under set conditions
A lot of my work is off the beaten track, where you just can’t work with a dolly, so the camera stabilising system is the only way to get the kind of expressive pictures I am looking for«
Film-maker Klaus Friedrich
The exercises got more specialised on the fourth and fifth day of the workshop. The team of instructors, participants and actors tackled two fast-moving sequences from a spy and an action film, so that participants were able to get a realistic picture of a camera stabilizer system operator's job. They covered the scenes a number of times each and were able to analyse their recorded material later. Participants had already experienced a number of difficulties at first hand and now it became even clearer how hard it is to hold a scene, stay in focus, follow an actor forwards and backwards, go round the corner and change the camera position. Instructor Kay M. Kramme made the sobering remark: "You need two or three years to become a real camera stabilizer system operator.” However, the participants all saw improvements in their own camera work.