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The Steadicam® Operator's Handbook by Laurie Hayball, Jerry Holway

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Keeping the camera level

Conventional operators can fall asleep on the dolly and the horizon remains level. Alas, Steadicam operators must stay awake and constantly adjust their grip on the post to keep everything level. Anticipation is the key, because once we are off level, the shot is blown.

We sense what is level in two primary ways

Visual clues: In the monitor, we can watch for verticals like buildings or trees in the center of the frame. However, we have to be sure that our visual references are, in fact, vertical. Verticals at the edge of frame may appear to be off level if the camera is tilted (not level fore and aft). The verticals are said to keystone.

When the Steadicam is at rest, a mechanical bubble level works very well, but it ...

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