Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

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This is an interesting take on the update of the now dated “Steadycam” type vest and arm. Many shooters including myself have moved on to the DJI Ronin for our productions. The artemis from Sachtler is more for hi-end productions but very interesting to watch.

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My thanks to Cinema 5D for producing this video at IBC 2015…

Sachtler Artemis Trinity – Mechanical Stabilizer / Electronic Gimbal Combination from cinema5D on Vimeo.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

12 thoughts on “A look at a new Hi-End stabiliser from Sachtler

  1. for movies? I mean when you shoot between 3 and 15 times the same scene? That said this trinity looks breathtaking , problem is that the operators can lose the framing (actor in the same spot of the frame) way too easily. If the demo was performed by somebody with experience with the trinity then I have to suggest to re-do the demo because the framing and composition was all over. sorry, but unwatchable and extremely difficult to edit as well -you have to re-frame the actor constantly and then there will be sequences with the head cut-off…stuff like that. So maybe they can do it again? (And I’m surprised that sachtler came out with a demo like this) or this trinity is at some early stage and way too difficult to control , at the moment. Was it a prototype?

  2. I find it interesting that you’d refer to arm & vest stabilizers as “dated”. They’re the gold standard in the film industry and a proper Steadicam operator has much more control over framing and the shot than what an electronic gimbal stabilizer can achieve. Steadicam also stabilizes translational movement, gimbals only do rotation and you can often see the up/down and side/side movement in the shot. Finally, most directors and DPs prefer the more organic feel of Steadicam over the stiffer and more artificial look of a gimbal stabilizer.

  3. Matthew , I don’t want to put words for Philip but I believe that it depends on the use. Philip is more “broadcast” oriented (and so am I lately) and you have to admit that the arm&vest thing in a live broadcast doesn’t really compare to a crane. While on a movie set gets the spotlight (definitely), also because of the reasons that you just said. Then there are other reasons involving certifications (and Unions) making the arm&vest thing a pretty “particular” line of work given the requirements, while gimbals don’t need any of that. 🙂

  4. I’m not sure what you mean by “arm & vest doesn’t really compare to a crane”, they both provide completely different moves and do not replace one another. By “broadcast” I’m assuming that you mean that a gimbal is useful for field work since I can’t imagine being able to put a live broadcast camera with wireless video and telemetry units plus teleprompter, etc… on a gimbal, let alone operate it continously for an hour or more, that’s kind of the arm and vest system territory.

  5. Matthew: not exactly : shooting a live show is completely different than shooting a movie take. On a live show you have to stay on wide pretty much by default (also to keep the DOF deep enough to get the focus under control while walking). Therefore a wide shot of the performers and the stage gets boring after 2-3 seconds. A Crane gives WAY more detailed views, plus the space range and close-ups too. To be honest I find a robot on a rail more suited for a live show than a steadicam (in my opinion). If you check the productions you’ll see that the steadicams get very few shots, while a crane camera can get the entire show by itself. Again the difference here is about the use. On a movie set everything is controlled in advance and a steadicam will be king. Steadicams give breathtaking coverage of sports events , again wide from the sidelines. I’ll give you that.

  6. We must be discussing different types of live events. On the ones I work on Steadicam has zoom/focus control attached to the handle, sometimes a second operator with wireless follow focus. The camera is usually (but not always) wireless and can do very dynamic shots like 360s around performers, travel down aisles, etc. Especially on the musical productions that I get to work on I’d say that Steadicam might get more air time than any other particular camera.

  7. matthew : well the last live music show I did (audience 80million) was under the brooklyn bridge, 3 frontal, 1 with the public (mine, shoulder) 1 robot under the stage on rails, 1 more shoulder under the stage, 1 crane and 1 from a chopper. No steadicams. Those wide shots are old now, plus they are distracting. It was the new thing few years ago, now it’s more for movie sets and sports but ONLY from the sidelines without hurting the players!. In my opinion of course

    about the wheels … look , of course it was in China and everything but we all saw what kind of disaster those wheels can do on a live sport event(and I don’t even want to mention it, but I believe that we know what I’m talking about)

    I am all for new things, but our job is to record to make the footage good to the viewer, not to become the star or fall during some idiotic stunt, totally unnecessary.

  8. quick question is any one of a steadicam operator?
    Just to make sure we are talking about the same thinks.

    cheers Curt

  9. steadicams are for movie sets, not really for broadcast, come on… even music, those gopro style shots are a thing of the past now. On a movie set the shots are beautiful and rarely all-wide.

    LOL but in defense of the massive stabilization that a steadicam can do for news and broadcast I have to put under the spot the epic “fail” of the coverage of the Pope on the Pope-mobile on 5th ave. in Manhattan and in Central Park. I had the opportunity to follow the feed straight and in both cases I don’t remember any coverage of any major event being that shaky. It was shot by the guys @CNN from a truck (literally a NYPD truck , on a flatbed, probably diesel, with frequent gear shifts and brutal stop-n-go and “gentle” brakes action). The colleague was constantly complaining about the distance (forcing to use full zoom) and begged the others on the truck to don’t move but there was nothing he could possibly do about the shakes. A steady arm maybe.. but come on… a flatbed truck? for the worldwide life coverage of the Pope? I could “feel” the pain of the Operator, who did the best he could do, all considered.

  10. Curt, Yes, I am a Steadicam operator in Las Vegas, NV

    Mark, I did not watch the coverage so I can’t comment but there are good and bad choices for Steadicam. I’ve done vehicle mount many times on rough terrain on ATVs, trucks and even horeseback and the arm does a wonderful job at absorbing bumps. I can’t speak for the operator you’re mentioning so I don’t know what his issue was. The more zoomed in you are the harder the job becomes but I’ve often done shots with 100mm or 135mm glass. I am also not following the “Steadicams are for movie sets” opinion. I don’t know where you live but in the U.S. you’d be hard pressed to find any major awards event or variety/music broadcast that doesn’t have one or more Steadicams involved.

  11. Matthew : the coverage of the pope-mobile was a pain to watch. Not the Operator’s fault. Now regarding steadicams and broadcast let’s take the coverage of the Pope for example : in D.C. there was one for a beautiful 2second take (live) of the Pope walking inside the Church (2 seconds over hours of live coverage). in NYC there was none. was it worth the effort? No. That “kind” of view works best for movies but rarely for a live broadcast. To specify the steadicam 2sec shot was perfect and NOT wide (just like you guys do in the movies). Progressively the gopro style views of steadicams on shows will be left to youtube (and gopro) while broadcast will do crane and shoulder and robots for wider shots up-close. And I believe that you know the difference between shooting wide and shooting standard with a steadicam and walking backwards. Again and for the last time any crane or a shoulder can do that shot but it will be more realistic (it’s a broadcast, news.. it doesn’t supposed to be a fiction). Sorry Matthew but methinks that steadicams should concentrate on the movies, not broadcast , and moreso in the future. In my opinion of course.

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