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Steadicams, Jibs and Technocranes, Oh My! January 7, 2014

Jorge operating the Steadicam at the 2013 Guinness International Champions Cup

Jorge operating the Steadicam at the 2013 Guinness International Champions Cup

It’s 8 am; you’re on your way to work when you see a video shoot taking place outside your favorite coffee shop. Almost immediately you notice a man strapped into a Terminator-esque body harness with a camera, like a mechanical alien, protruding from his torso. What IS that?, you wonder. That can’t be comfortable. This must be a big-budget shoot.

To shed some light on the exciting, albeit mysterious, role of the Steadicam in production, we sat down with Digital Cut’s Steadicam and jib operator Jorge Bustamante.

Kelsey: For those who aren’t sure what a Steadicam is or does, can you explain how they work?

Jorge: The real magic about the Steadicam is in the arm. The main function of a Steadicam is to utilize a two-segment arm, consisting of springs to absorb body movement resulting in steady, dolly-like shots over any terrain.


K: People tend to associate Steadicams with big budget productions. What’s the production value when this type of equipment is used and should it be considered for both large and small scale shoots?

J: There are certain things you can do with a Steadicam that you just can’t do with anything else. The Steadicam adds movement, increases shot diversity, and elevates creativity. Any time you can take the camera off a tripod and acquire smooth, moving shots, you add production value and you can also cut down on set-up time by being able to reposition the camera a lot quicker than if it were on a tripod. No matter the scale of the shoot, using a Steadicam can increase the value of your production both behind and in front of the camera.


K: What attracted you to Steadicam operation and do you work with any other production equipment?

J: I love Steadicam operation because it’s unique.  You’re not stuck on a tripod and you can move the camera where you want it quickly and efficiently. It allows you to be very creative with your shots. I also work with a jib and a technocrane as well.


K: You’ve been on some exciting shoots! What has been your favorite so far?

J: Probably one of the coolest moments for me was shooting Steadicam at the 2013 Guinness International Champions Cup on Fox Sports where I was running on the sidelines between Real Madrid and Chelsea.  I also had the opportunity to run jib and shoot the model of the Bid Laden compound that was used in the 60 Minutes segment about the Bin Laden take down mission.


K: Are Steadicams as uncomfortable as they look?

J: As uncomfortable and cumbersome as they may look, they’re actually not that bad. If you invest in quality gear, and stay in shape, you’re good to go!


If you have question about including a Steadicam in your upcoming production, please contact us at 954-797-6889.

Kelsey Gibson

Kelsey is the Creative Director for Digital Cut Productions. She seeks perfection when crafting a video. Kelsey is meticulous about the details of every project while keeping an eye on the big picture,