It’s hard to overstate the revolutionary impact of the Steadicam when camera operator Garrett Brown introduced his invention to the film industry in 1975. The camera stabilizing mount didn’t make its onscreen debut until the next year with the trio of “Bound for Glory,” “Marathon Man” and “Rocky,” all of which involved Steadicam shots operated by Brown himself. With the the device’s 40th anniversary around the corner, Refocused Media (via FirstShowing) has crafted a roughly 10-minute-long ode to “The Art Of Steadicam.”
The video starts with, what else, the iconic Copacabana sequence from the Michael Ballhaus-photographed “Goodfellas” featuring legendary Steadicam operator Larry McConkey (seriously, his IMDB page is mostly Steadicam work with occasional “B” camera work) trailing Henry Hill as he shows both Karen and the audience what a big shot he is. From there, the video is a greatest hits of Steadicam shots with Stanley Kubrick’s films well represented alongside Andy Shuttleworth’s Steadicam work in the Robert Elswit-photographed “Boogie Nights,” and more recent entries in the canon like the great staircase fight in “The Protector” and the beautifully lit Peter Robertson-operated Dunkirk shot in “Atonement” (Seamus McGarvey was the DP).
There’s also some small-screen work celebrated in the video. Watch the video below and share with us some of your favorite Steadicam shots that didn’t make the cut. One of this writer’s picks? Any of the Matias Mesa-operated shots inside the school in Gus Van Sant’s Bela Tarr-aping “Elephant,” which was photographed by the late great Harris Savides.