The Steadicam system consists of a stabilizing support arm which attaches at one end to the camera operator's vest and at the other end to a floating camera mounting assembly which can accept either a 16mm, 35mm or video camera. The comfortable, adjustable, padded, close-fitting camera operator's vest is an effective and sophisticated weight distribution system. It transfers and distributes the weight of the Steadicam system (including camera and lens) across the operator's shoulders, back and hips. The arm mounting plate may be quickly reversed to mount the stabilizer arm on the right or left side of the front plate.
The stabilizer support arm is an articulated support system which parallels the operator's arm in any position, and almost completely counteracts the weight of the camera systems with a carefully calibrated spring force. The double-jointed arm maximizes maneuverability with an articulated elbow hinge, which frees the arm to move 380 degrees horizontally from the elbow. One end of the arm attaches to either side of the vest front plate, allowing the operator to change for left- or right-handed operation. A free-floating gimbal connects the stabilizer support arm to the camera mounting assembly.
The camera mounting assembly consists of a central support post, around winch the individual components are free to rotate as needed. One end of the post supports the camera mounting platform, while the other end terminates in the electronics module. The film or video camera can rotate 180 degrees to left or right on its platform. The video monitor is attached to a pivoting bracket which may also slide up, down or around the post. There are scale markings on each of the components so that adjustments for various modes of shooting may be documented and repeated. The video viewfinder monitor features a kinescope tube of high brilliance with multiple layer coatings to eliminate reflections and permit viewing in sunlight. An electronic level indicator is visible on the CRT viewing screen in the bottom of the picture area. Electronically generated frame lines can be adjusted to accommodate any aspect ratio. Positions of the components may be reversed to permit "low mode" configuration. The Steadicam unit is internally wired to accept wireless or cable-controlled remote servo systems for lens control. A quick-release mechanism permits the operator to divest himself of the entire Steadicam unit in emergency. A 12V/3.5A NiCad battery pack mounts on the electronics module to supply the viewfinder system and film or video camera.
Was this article helpful?