45 – Garrett Brown – Steadicam Inventor

For this episode, number 45, February 2022, I have another film legend, Garrett Brown.

If that’s not a name you recognise, you will know his work. Garrett invented the steadicam. He also operated it over 100 films, most notably for me, Rocky, The Shining, and Return of the Jedi. Three very different films and three completely difference applications of the steadicam.

The steadicam of course is a camera stabilising system, with the stability of a conventional tripod mount but with the fluid motion of a dolly shot as well as the flexibility of hand-held camera work.

Garrett’s incredible invention smoothly follows the operator’s broad movements, while the the Steadicam’s arm absorbs jerks, bumps, and shakes, while its almost frictionless gimbal gives precise control of the camera and framing. It’s used on everything from film, light entertainment TV shows and just about every sport you can think of.

Garrett won a special Academy Award for Science and Technology for his invention. Just to put this into perspective,  winners include those responsible for colour film, Cinescope, IMAX, Avid. All seismic innovations in the industry.

Huge thanks to my friend and old colleague Patrick Van Weeran for putting me in touch with Garrett back in 2017 and providing me with some research literature that I wouldn’t have otherwise found.

If you’re a patron of $3+ then there is a video version coming soon for you over on patreon.com.

Steadicam Demo Reel – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtmeGPWLAow

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