What can steadicam do?
Well… within reason: anything. From a practical standpoint, provided the operator’s safety is not in question, the steadicam can go anywhere any other camera mounting platform could go, while providing a wider range of dynamic control over your camera’s movement than many of these other platforms. How so? The steadicam arm automatically allows the operator a booming range as much as a 30” or more, and its gimbal allows the camera to travel 360 degrees in space. This provides you with many more options in terms of how to compose your shot as well as stabilizes the image frame in a way that is impossible for many hard mounted camera platforms.
The steadicam arm isolates the camera from not only the operator’s movement, but the movement of whatever the arm can be attached to, such as a moving vehicle. Utilizing a hard vehicle mount, the steadicam arm inherently neutralizes road vibration and unwanted movement from the camera vehicle. Additionally, that camera vehicle could be, depending on the ingenuity of your grip department, anything… from a pickup truck, to an ATV, to a camel. Yes, I said camel. This being said, is a steadicam the best tool for 7.5 pages of locked off dialog coverage? Or a static establishing landscape shot? Probably not. In theory, could you shoot an entire project with steadicam, absolutely. Several productions have already done that. There still is a common sense value in selecting the right tool for the right shot. Think of the steadicam as a dolly that can go anywhere and you won’t go wrong.