Posts Tagged Steadicam
Geoff Andrew at Moving Media Limited (Hamilton) is an enthusiastic user of the Segway Personal Transporter (PT) for hands-free Steadicam filming, and once again he’s refined and updated his rig.
Geoff started out with an Segway x2 with Turf tyres in 2012 to use with a standard video camera when making corporate videos. Next he built his own “knee steer” hands-free kit. He also made some customisations to a SegVator power lift to make it really easy to transport the Segway PT from job to job on the back of his vehicle. Based on his initial efforts and experiences in the field, in 2013 he redesigned the hands-free kit to use with a newly purchased Steadicam rig.
Now he’s refined his solution even further, with tuneable adjustments in all dimensions, a seat, as well as some really nice finishing touches that demonstrate Geoff’s design prowess and attention to detail.
Segway Personal Transporters (PTs) have a long association with the game of rugby in New Zealand.
Segway PTs packed with fireworks and emblazoned with silver ferns and lions heads were the performance centrepiece of the 2005 Rugby World Cup match at Eden Park (Auckland). A Segway PT played a key role supporting the SpiderCam at the 2011 World Cup throughout New Zealand, and since 2012 Segway PTs with custom hands-free controls carrying Steadicam operators have been seen gliding up and down the sidelines at hundreds of rugby and other sports games around the country.
Last Saturday night the mighty All Blacks (the name of the national NZ rugby team) played the English team at Eden Park in the first of three test matches. The Segway PT played a key role in filming an exciting match that ended with a Kiwi victory (20 to 15). Immediately after the match there was great broadcast footage of the Segway PT resting out on the field, surrounded by the players.
* the title of this post is a play on the oft-repeated phrase used by local TV sports commentators talking about a game after a match: “Rugby was the winner on the day.” Both in its original form and in countless variations, it has gone on to become a well-known Kiwi idiomatic expression.
One of the great things about visiting commercial Segway owners all around the country is we get to see first-hand what innovations they develop.
Geoffrey Andrew at Moving Media was one of the first videographers to begin using a Segway PT to carry his camera gear, and later developed his own hands-free solution. Soon after, he purchased a Steadicam and has been using this with great success on a wide range of corporate video productions.
Last week he showed us his latest refinement of his custom hands-free design, as well as his modified SegVator powered lift/carrier on which he transports his machine on the rear of his vehicle.
“Roll up, roll up to the jamboree” sang Tim Finn on Jamboree, the closing track on the Split Enz album Dizrythmia (1977).*
For Brendan Waters those lyrics will take on a particularly literal meaning from tomorrow as he rolls up at the 20th New Zealand Scout Jamboree in Fielding on a Segway Personal Transporter (PT).
Brendan will be using a Segway PT for Event Management to get around Manfield Park where 5,000 Scouts will gather between 28 December 2013 and 6 January 2014.
Segway PTs have become an essential tool for efficient operations by staff at large events. Segway New Zealand regularly hires Segway PTs for a wide variety of public safety roles, including traffic management and first aid/first responder duties. Segway PTs are used at large shows with broad appeal such as Big Boys Toys, SpeedShow, Home and Garden Shows, Airshows, and Balloons Over Waikato as well as specialist industry events such as EMEX, FoodTech/PackTech and The Tertiary Industry Management Conference. They have also become an important part of running public events such as Santa Parades and The Pink Star Walk. As a rule of thumb, putting someone onto a Segway PT instantly turns that person into three people, in terms of the work they can do. In fact, two people on Segway PTs can cover the same area as nine people on foot, in the same time.
At the Scout Jamboree a Segway PT will empower Brendan to get all around Manfield Park with ease and at speed, as well as into the town of Fielding. Covering the distance between his own tent to where his troop is camped on the diagonally opposite side of the park will be a breeze. Brendan will also use the Segway PT to stand out from the crowd as he swaps badges with others, to whom he is known by the moniker ‘King Louie.’
The first 450 scouts to arrive tomorrow – including Brendan and the Segway PT from Farm Cove Scout Group (Pakuranga, Auckland) – are traveling down overnight from Auckland on a specially chartered train. The carriages will initially be pulled by diesel locomotives. Once they reach Taumarunui a vintage steam locomotive takes over, and in nod to what may well be New Zealand’s longest running television advert of all time – The Great Crunchie Train Robbery – Crunchie Bars will be handed out to all on board.
* Dizrythmia (from circadian disrythmia or jet lag) was the third album by iconic Kiwi band Split Enz (NZ #3, Australia #18). Featuring their first hit single ‘My Mistake’ (NZ #21, Australia #15), the songs ‘Bold As Brass’ and ‘Charlie’ would also become well-known as the band’s popularity grew. Future albums would deliver ever-increasing chart success both locally and in Australia, and then further afield – particularly in UK, Canada and USA with the single I Got You from 1980’s True Colours.
Dizrythmia was the first Split Enz album to feature Tim’s younger brother Neil Finn, who joined following the departure of co-founder Phil Judd. Over the next three decades the brothers would go on to write and record some of New Zealand’s most-loved popular songs. Worldwide fame was achieved by Neil’s next band Crowded House, initially in the USA (the single Don’t Dream Its Over reached #2 in the US charts, from their debut album). Kiwi success to such heights of the US music charts would not be beaten until OMC’s How Bizzare topped reach #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 in 1997, and then this year Lorde achieved a 9 week run at #1 on the Billboard Top 100 with her song Royals. Last year, Australian artists Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know featuring a duet vocal by Kiwi singer Kimbra also spent time at #1 on many US charts, as well as many others around the world.
As Crowded House’s star descended in USA, it ascended in UK and Europe when brother Tim joined the band and their popularity soared with third and fourth albums Woodface and Together Alone. Enduring success followed with their respective solo careers and together as The Finn Brothers.
While the Finn’s are yet to feature a Segway PT in any of their music videos, you can see PTs in another Kiwi artist’s music video (Ethical’s On My Throne), and a rocket-launching Segway PT in Avril Lavigne’s Rock N Roll.
When it comes to shooting music videos, live sports, television shows and feature movies the Segway PT offers a fantastic, fast, flexible platform to film from. Beautifully designed Kiwi-developed “hands free” knee-steer options are available via Segway New Zealand, and several Steadicam operators and videographers purchased Segway PTs during 2013. For example, since January 2013, Broadcast Arts Video Unit Steadicam operator Rhys Duncan has regularly been seen in television sports coverage of major rugby games and cricket matches gliding up and down the sideline on a hands-free Segway x2 Turf model.
Wellington Segway Personal Transporter (PT) owner Stephen Patience vibrantly captures the capital city in a four-minute time-lapse video. The article (with video) appears today in Stuff, which reports:
More than 17,000 images were recorded over a six-month period to showcase the best Wellington has to offer.
The result is 30 scenes captured using slider rails, a wind-up kitchen timer, a camera attached to a Segway and walking lapse shots.
A number of Kiwi camera operators use the smooth, stable, safe Segway Personal Transporter as a platform for motion video, Steadicam, and equipment transport. Start with our recent article about Steadicam operators filming New Zealand rugby and cricket matches using modified hands-free Segway PTs, and see also Spidercam’s use during the Rugby World Cup last year.
Steadicam operators have rapidly adopted Segway Personal Transporters (PTs) to offer improved tracking shots and other capabilities. When fitted with custom hands-free operation modifications, the Segway PT offers a very capable platform for achieving smooth camera work at high linear speeds. This combination also offers a lower-cost option for shots that would otherwise require tracked dolly set ups.
Here in New Zealand, two Steadicam operators working in the television sector purchased Segway x2 models fitted with Turf tyres last year, and two more have purchased similar machines this year. There is also one first-generation Segway i180 model that was modified with pedal-operated steering in Germany that is now based in Auckland (Adrenochrome).
Back in 2004 Hamish McIntyre was a pioneer in this field when he purchased a Segway e167. Friends at Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop constructed a seat-steer adaption for both film and television work. This machine has worked on Lord of the Rings, King Kong, Chronicles of Narnia, Eagle vs Shark, Out of the Blue, River Queen and more.
Since January 2013, Broadcast Arts Video Unit Steadicam operator Rhys Duncan has often been seen in television sports coverage of major rugby games and cricket matches gliding up and down the sideline on a hands-free Segway x2 Turf.
Moving Media works in the corporate video sector, and use their Segway x2 Turf not only for Steadicam but also to move equipment around large sites.
Geoffrey Andrew of Moving Media Limited has purchased a Segway Personal Transporter (PT) ‘x2’ model with balloon Turf tyres to transport himself, his television camera and tripod.
Moving Media produces commercials, documentaries and video presentations. Many jobs require Geoff or his staff to move themselves and heavy, expensive equipment significant distances during shoots that can run to long hours. A Segway Personal Transporter is the smart solution.
Starting with the Segway x2 Golf package, the tripod secures readily into the golf bag carrier cradle. Next, Geoff has built additional custom fittings to secure the camera and equipment bags.
Additionally, he has a customised SegVator electric power lift attached to the tow-bar of his Nissan Pathfinder that automatically raises/lowers and secures the Segway PT for effortless transportation as he drives from job to job around the country. Moving Media is based in Hamilton, New Zealand, but there isn’t anywhere they won’t go or can’t go. Now, more than ever!
In addition to transportation, Geoff sees the Segway PT as offering a less-expensive way to shoot certain scenes that would otherwise require the deployment of a dolly on rails. By offering a more cost-effective solution than competitors can offer, Moving Media has the opportunity to grow their business.
Geoff is the second Kiwi to adopt the Segway PT for camera work on a regular basis in this country.
Hamish McIntyre purchased a Segway e167 model in 2004 that was developed into a hands-free camera dolly with help from the engineers at Wellington’s special effects business Weta Workshop. They constructed a custom seat/knee-grip fitting for this first-generation PT model. A number of other operators around the world have since implemented similar custom solutions, and there is at least one commercial business that sells modification kits.
Hamish’s Segway PT has been used on films such as Peter Jackson’s King Kong and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King; on Kiwi film maker Andrew Adamson’s Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; with the fitting of XT/x2 ATV tyres it got down and dirty in the mud during the very wet and cold filming of Vincent Ward’s River Queen in remote, rural Wanganui; on smaller local productions such as Taika (“Boy”) Waititi’s Eagle vs Shark and Out of the Blue (about the Aramoana massacre). Right now it is hard at work on the set of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Segway PTs have also been used for camera work at a number of sporting events in New Zealand, including Golf and motor racing such as the A1GP.
Spidercam purchased a Segway x2 from Segway NZ during the Rugby World Cup 2011.
A third Kiwi business has recently purchased a Segway PT for Steadicam work, and we’ll have more details to share about this coming weeks.