I love a nicely composed long lens lockoff just as much as the next person, but knowing when and why to move a camera can add to the effectiveness, beauty, and purpose of the image you are trying to create. Whether long, medium, or on a wide lens, moving a camera can emulate the audience perspective, the character perspective, or simply provide a narrative observation. No other tool has freed the camera more than the invention of the Steadicam. When dolly track limited our imagination, and cranes flew to their limits, our industry needed something that would achieve a cinematic image while enabling the camera operator to more freely position the lens and explore a space more dynamically. I’ve had the pleasure of working with this great tool for over 10 years; first discovering a dusty relic of a rig in the National Geographic equipment room while contracting for the Society back in 2001.
Fast forward 13 years later to the invention of the handheld digital 3 axis gimbal debuted at the NAB show last year in Las Vegas. As a camera operator, I was interested to see a new device come on the market, but wary of fads and cheaply built devices made for the sake of overseas revenue with no real impact on the art. Just a few months ago, a video came out with the inventor of the Steadicam Garrett Brown, talking with Tab inventor of the MoVI gimbal system. Seeing Garrett show such great interest in the device gave it more credibility for me as a professional operator. It was the stamp of approval I needed to add one to my kit.