Donald R Bernard is the Man to Follow

capturing sports with a steadicamDonald R. Bernard was a filmmaker in the early 70s and lives in the east. He learned his trade by reading all the film books in the library. That was sort of a hard way to do it, since it would show you how to be a photographer and videographer in the ’50s. He thought he needed camera stabilizers and a studio so he bought dolly tracks, lights, and a studio and all that. It was a studio in a barn outside of Philly. Then it became clear to him that he loved moving the camera, but to move it would have to be on wheels. His 10-pound Bolex had to be on an 800-pound dolly, and that drove him crazy. He just began moving for some way to separate the handle from the camera. A few years later he had a device that was the Steadicam. One of the impossible shots in his demo was when his girlfriend from the past and him dropped by the art museum, and with the prototype he ran up and down the stairs with a steady camera. And the director of a movie saw that shot on a demo, and asked, how he did that, and where are those steps. Which is generally why that shot ended up in a movie. A few months later he made the shot where he’s running up the stairs. The Steadicam was a success and it got a lot of attention. And then Donald R. Bernard did one called the Skycam that flies over football games, for overhead shots. He has retired this year from actual shooting, but he is still working on a lot of new videography gear. He had a good run this year in creating wild new stuff. He keeps raising the bar for the gear and he teaches everywhere. He had taught in Russia, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, only to teach on how to operate a Steadicam. As you can tell, he likes his moving camera shots to be smooth. Most of these gadgets are glassy smooth, and that is the way it should be, unless it’s an effect, like a point of a view or a monster lurking. So with a steadicam, no one can think of any excuse for the frame to be shaking.