Steadicam – ‘Wide Angled Hand Held’

To produce my film in the cinematic style of Terrence Malick, I have decided to try out the ‘wide angled hand held’ which was discussed in my research. This was a technique used by Malick that avoided the typical shot reverse shot found in many conversation scenes. I though this may be interesting to feature in my short film, to create a sense of unity between the actors in my film to enforce the friendly nature of the main character. Here is the kind of thing I wish to recreate from The Thin Red Line:

I chose not to film the ‘wide angled hand held’ with a handheld camera, as it would just look untidy and incredibly wobbly. In the Malick films I have watched, it is clear that a steadicam or arc dolly has been used to film these kinds of shot. So, I used the resources available to me and borrowed a steadicam from the media office. Here is what I filmed:

Test 1:

For my first attempt, I feel that it looked quite successful. I managed to pan around an actor like I desired to in my film, without the camera wobbling too much and becoming off balance. With a bit of practice and a lot of patience on the day, I feel that I can pull off the ‘wide angled hand held’ quite well.

Test 2:

This one didn’t go quite as well. I think this is probably due tot the fact that I tried to guide the steadicam by gentle holding the pole to prevent the camera swinging. From this, the shake of my hands affected the stability of the camera so effectively it was just a hand held shot. In order to prevent this, I just need to get handy with maneuvering the steady cam in the way it’s supposed to be handled.

Test 3:

Again, this is a similar issue to the second test and although I thought steadying it with my hand would help the effect of the film, but ultimately it just made the camera wobble.

Test 4:

I feel like this shot was very effective and the camera only wobbles a little, but moves quite smoothly. Although it doesn’t move around a specific subject, I can use this in my film to create the kind of shot that would be found in Malick films.

Through doing this, I have realised how difficult it is to work a steadicam. With this in mind I’ll need to dedicate a large amount time to filming the steadicam shot, in order to create it to a high standard and to ensure it looks effective.