Working As A Steadicam Operator Might Be The Toughest Job On Television

Working and operating a Steadicam is tough work. The most ridiculously awesome steadicam shot ever probably proved that without a shadow of a doubt, but we have even more proof! The following video follows steadicam superhero Niclas Närwall as he captures shot after shot on the set of Let's Dance. If you've ever been on a set with one of these guys you know how much stress goes into their whole bodies over the course of a full day (buying them beers afterwards is a given). At least Karsten Jacobsen had a Segway to help give his legs a break! Some of these shots are pretty remarkable and some might go a bit overboard with the floating camera effect. What do you guys think; what is your favorite shot?

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24 Comments

and here I'm thinking it's hard to balance a Stedicam Merlin.... wow. These shots MAKE these shows like this... without these type of shots the shows would be ALOT less interesting. Incredible work, and definitely takes incredible talent to work one of these rigs.

Wao! Very impressive. I'm surprised they didn't have a backup guy for resting periods.  He covered the entire perimeter from on camera talent, dancers, judges, and audience. Not to mentioned the bump-in and out shots. As he was shooting at a precise angle, he was already preparing himself for the next shot simultaneously.  LIVE!  People in the control room must love this guy. Especially the director. Wao! Thanks for posting this video. I really enjoyed it.

Now that takes proper skill, my hat's off to these guys and girls..

impressive...

That guy is the man! The steadycam operator is incredibly vital to the dynamics of the show! I actually learned a lot from the video too. Notice how he aligns his foot directly in front of the other to reduce the wobble we naturally create when walking. Hey, every little thing helps. :)

I noticed the foot alignment too, and the first thing I thought was: "damn, how the hell can he do this and not trip himself???"

Marvin Hagemeister's picture

Mind = blown! This guy is amazing! Love his shoots!

He's one of the reasons why James Cameron did all the handheld shots himself EXCEPT steadicam, on Avatar.. That shit is hard!

Nick Shek's picture

It's like dancing itself. His footwork is pretty impressive.

My vote goes to the thai steadycam op that filmed the continuous 4 minute fight scene in Ong Bak.  4 flights of stairs, dozens of marks to hit to avoid being hit by thrown objects and stuntmen, backwards up stairs all with a 35mm camera.  BTS on the dvd claim the first 2 or 3 guys to try couldn't get the timing down, and that the final cameraman trained for a month for this one scene.  The final scene was the fifth and last take.  As mentioned the DVD has more info, but here is the scene. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79ditPebZ8g

Awesome ! Lots of hard work, and Id say it's probably a short career for his back.

That dude is the real deal.  One shot he was in a full on run to get in front of the dancers and it was flawless.   His quick turns with the stops dead on are incredible.  One of the most impressive things, besides tripping or running into other camera ops, is keeping the subject dead center of the frame when he's rotating around them.  That is HARD!  that guy is like a robot with some nice ease in's and ease outs! awesome stuff!

Wow... the comments above say it all !

This is a great steadicam op. but you must know the secret why he makes it look so good? Ok yes he must have been doing this for a very long time but look at the camera. Notice something strange about it? That is a TV camera and it does not record to tape or media. It just send a signal to a control room. That setup with lens, body, transmitter, and monitor may only weight 15 pounds max. Its not that bad to carry a setup like this. I have done it for a couple hours and you gets alot of breaks even being live. Sorry to burst the bubble. 

Now movie steadicam ops vary again. When running they limit the load on the camera but they have the worst of it a nicely loaded 35mm camera can weight 50 pounds. Thats a killer on your body. 
Transformers 3 camera setup was 75 pounds.  

Actualy its easy. But if you have a 14k Zephyr. Nice balance, smooth control and expensive. All in one.

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