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Steadicam: Taking The Bumps Out Of Movies, Pt. 2

Seemingly unable to stop inventing more technology, Garrett Brown developed Steadicam® into more and more models. He then came up with radical ways of moving a camera above and across a sports field, down into a pool as a diver descends and tracking with swimmers as they move from one end of the pool to the other.

By Barrie Smith

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Steadicam Pilot incorporates the vest, iso-elastic arm and sled. It can carry a camera weighing between 900g and 4.5kg.

These days there seems to be a Steadicam for almost every need, user and budget.

Way down the bottom of the list is the Merlin model that is tailored for camcorders that weigh between 200g and 2.2kg.

Shaped as a hinged, curved tube that weighs less than a can of Coke, Merlin can be handheld or attached to a vest. It is priced at around $1000.

Steadicam Pilot resembles a ‘junior’ Steadicam in its setup and appearance, based around the vest, iso-elastic arm and sled. It can carry a camera weighing between 900g and 4.5kg.

Another current model is one that Brown admits to thinking about in his early inventive beginnings. Steadicam Tango is a novelty in that, although based on the vest, arm and sled, the visible ‘extra’ is a jib arm that can rise from floor level to ceiling height. It’s also able to make 360° pans with ±90° tilts all around. Camera weight range: 2.3 - 11kg.

Amazingly, there is even a budget Steadicam made for mobile phones that shoot video. Amateur camcorders? Maybe soon. Price: $US179.

The top models are the Ultra 2 and Ultra 2c, used by high end operators around the world. They can carry 5.4 to 31.7kg of camera. Price: around $US66,000 with “all the bells and whistles.”

Video at: www.lemac.com.au/video/Steadicam.mov

It seems the sky is the limit for extensions of the Steadicam principle as the camera can now soar above sports grounds and dive deep into Olympic pools.

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To satisfy the need for a low cost stabiliser, Garrett Brown came up with the Merlin model, suitable for camcorders that weigh between 200g and 2.2kg. If fitted, the camera’s internal stabiliser must be switched off as it can introduce delays in panning and tilting.
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