I direct and shoot web series that need to look cinematic because my work is showcased on the big screen. I’ve used the Steadicam Merlin with the Arm and Vest for years, and I recently got the new Steadicam Solo, which can fly cameras up to 10 pounds, to use with my RED EPIC camera.
To keep the EPIC at 10 pounds, I use a Tokina 11-16mm lens, a RED TOUCH 5-inch monitor and a 90Wh battery. This setup has given me great results on a variety of tracking shots, including perfectly smooth shots in 5K resolution, which is amazing for such an affordable stabilizer. (The Solo is $500, plus $1,000 for the arm and vest, which are essential.) This setup works for tracking shots that don’t require many focus pulls, though the EPIC’s REDMOTE remote control does allow for some wireless rack focusing. For a lot of follow focus work, you’d need a heavier-class Steadicam.
An added bonus is that the Solo doubles as a monopod, enabling me to create shots that no other Steadicam can do. It’s possible to begin a shot completely static on the monopod (for a long time, if necessary), then seamlessly lift into a tracking shot.
From my experience, the Solo adds tremendous value at a surprisingly good price.
An L.A.-area Emmy-winning producer, director and DP, Richard Gale is preparing a feature film based on his comedy short “The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon.”