it. They may have a variety of devices on a film – stabilised heads, Steadicam, gimbals – and want them to fuse together. If it brings the same look because it’s stable, that’s great.” GRIPPING STUFF Fusing these elements inevitably involves more than just clever electronics. A grip team might clamp an active stabiliser directly to a fast-moving vehicle if there were no alternative, especially in the comparatively restricted confines of a domestic car. On a rocky road, though, anyone would prefer some sort of mechanical isolation system handling the worst of the roughness, before electronics add the final polish.
long been a good way to suffer hard stares from aficionados of one or the other. But Parmenter is clear on the different goals of the gear. “There’s things the Steadicam can do that a stabilised gimbal can’t – and vice versa. Something like the Trinity is actually quite difficult to use... we were involved in its early stages before Arri took over, and our emphasis was on training, even for people who’d done Steadicam for years. Framing and precision became trickier because there was more to think about.” “The Steadicam Volt,” Parmenter continues, “works on a far smaller scale, but more directly helps the camera operator because it corrects horizon and tilt at the gimbal, where the operator would control
Many advancements in grip are aimed at producing smooth camera moves, without laying track or building cranes. Motion Impossible’s increasingly sophisticated range of robot dollies all represent a push in the right direction, towards placing the camera on a vehicle that runs directly on potentially unstable ground – then stabilising the results with both mechanical and electronic means. The flagship Agito runs on track, or – with interchangeable wheels – almost anything else. Its suspension is soft enough to take out off-road bumps, to the point where other measures can produce a well-stabilised shot. It possesses towers and risers that move up to 200mm per second and reaches road speeds up to 32mph – enough to take part in at least some car chases. Like so many modern grip options, what Motion Impossible does is often reliant on active stabilisation. The Agito dolly and its cousins are invariably paired with one of the world’s more popular active steadying options, especially when operating away from track.
IMPOSSIBLY STEADY Motion
Impossible’s line-up is a marvel (below), while Steadicam remains a favourite with its M-2 (bottom left) and M-1 (bottom right) models
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