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Cool Videos: Witness the power and importance of the Steadicam in this montage

Mar. 6, 2013by: Alex Maidy
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Are you tired of all of the found footage and Bourne movies that seem to exclusively use the handheld, shaky camera approach to filmmaking? Many of us seem to have taken for granted the smooth and luxurious power of a Steadicam shot scene in a movie. In fact, I think we often forget that up until 1975, there was no such thing as a Steadicam. We owe a lot to Mr. Garrett Brown who brought the Steadicam to Hollywood. In fact, we never would have gotten movies like GOODFELLAS or THE SHINING without him. At least not the iconic visuals we have come to associate with those movies.

This montage from the good folks over at Film School Rejects serves as a lesson on how the Steadicam is integral to Hollywood. I am all for hand-held footage when it fits the moment, but sometimes you just need a smooth look at the cinematic world on display to best digest everything on the screen.

Check it out and see if you disagree.

I don't think any of the films in this supercut would have been able to achieve these shots using a crane or larger rig since many of them are in such close quarters. If you look back at movies like Orson Welles' TOUCH OF EVIL, that amazing tracking shot was done without the benefit of a Steadicam and is phenomenal. Most movies today evoke this shots with a cameraman holding the camera, which just makes it look like an episode of COPS.

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9:12PM on 03/06/2013

Ready, Steadi, Go!

Such an important innovation in the history of filmmaking, and a great supercut that celebrate its importance. I remember reading about Keanu Reeves' testing out the "bot and dolly" camera system for "Man of Tai-Chi" - that looks like it could be an interesting next step in the evolution of camera rigs, especially for filming action scenes without the shaky cam.
Such an important innovation in the history of filmmaking, and a great supercut that celebrate its importance. I remember reading about Keanu Reeves' testing out the "bot and dolly" camera system for "Man of Tai-Chi" - that looks like it could be an interesting next step in the evolution of camera rigs, especially for filming action scenes without the shaky cam.
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2:15PM on 03/06/2013
7:45 looks like a crane shot, but a pretty beautiful compilation there.
7:45 looks like a crane shot, but a pretty beautiful compilation there.
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1:33PM on 03/06/2013
Imagine CHILDREN OF MEN without it. Can't.
Imagine CHILDREN OF MEN without it. Can't.
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12:41PM on 03/06/2013
I love Steadicam. Iconic tracking shots like In Goodfellas wouldn't have happened without it.
I love Steadicam. Iconic tracking shots like In Goodfellas wouldn't have happened without it.
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11:39AM on 03/06/2013

Technology movies shouldn't live without

Steadicam shots always feel beautiful and somewhat mesmerizing to me. I've always felt that as soon as a movie makes a cut of any kind, a small piece of you is reminded that you're watching fiction. But with the steadicam, you stay right there with the character to experience their lives in real time as they would. To me, it will always add another layer and dimension that isn't even possible with 3-D.
Steadicam shots always feel beautiful and somewhat mesmerizing to me. I've always felt that as soon as a movie makes a cut of any kind, a small piece of you is reminded that you're watching fiction. But with the steadicam, you stay right there with the character to experience their lives in real time as they would. To me, it will always add another layer and dimension that isn't even possible with 3-D.
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11:51AM on 03/06/2013
You said it all when it comes to this post.
You said it all when it comes to this post.
1:11PM on 03/06/2013
Sometimes I feel the opposite though, like in Atonement that long take of him on the beach...you realize at one point that there has been no cut and you are thinking about how they managed to achieve such a shot. Which takes you out and you start thinking about the mechanics of the film.
Sometimes I feel the opposite though, like in Atonement that long take of him on the beach...you realize at one point that there has been no cut and you are thinking about how they managed to achieve such a shot. Which takes you out and you start thinking about the mechanics of the film.
1:38PM on 03/06/2013
@EvilDeadKing - I get what you're saying. I think the problem with that clip specifically is that the camera kind of goes off on its own to look at the things beyond the viewpoint we started with. If the camera isn't moving in sync with the character we were originally following, then you definitely start to see the sausage being made.
@EvilDeadKing - I get what you're saying. I think the problem with that clip specifically is that the camera kind of goes off on its own to look at the things beyond the viewpoint we started with. If the camera isn't moving in sync with the character we were originally following, then you definitely start to see the sausage being made.
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