Steadicam + Segway = Steadicam on a Segway
July 25, 2007 6:46 AM   Subscribe

Steadicam operators! Are you tired of simply walking with your camera rig to achieve that special wobble-free shot? Or maybe you're making a movie on the cheap and can't afford all that heavy equipment? Behold! The future of filmmaking has arrived! Presenting: Steadicam on a Segway! (Warning: Obnoxious, awful Flash interface on second link)
posted by 40 Watt (28 comments total)
posted by DU at 6:50 AM on July 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

These were all over the British Open Championship last week and I kept wondering how talented the camera operators had to be with both cameras and Segways. The Segways were providing awesome dolly services. Driving using the camera lens/screen on uneven terrain looked like some sort of techgeek ballet.
posted by HyperBlue at 6:52 AM on July 25, 2007

Heh... I can't decide if that PVC Steadicam is awesome or hilarious, DU.
posted by 40 Watt at 6:53 AM on July 25, 2007

Ulrich Kahlert had original developed the Handsfree-Transporter for theatrical purposes and animations. (from Link the Second)

That's actually a really cool (probably expensive) idea.
posted by ikebowen at 6:54 AM on July 25, 2007

This sounds like a perfectly reasonable and practical idea for moderate-budget filmmakers. I have no snark.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:56 AM on July 25, 2007

I want to laugh at this, but I have to say that it's probably the most productive use of a Segway I've yet seen. Steadicam operators can certainly afford one, too...

Sure beats Segways for airport cops.
posted by invitapriore at 6:58 AM on July 25, 2007

I think the pictures of the PVC steadicam make it look hilarious, but the actual plans (if it's the same project) in the issue is awesome.
posted by DU at 7:01 AM on July 25, 2007

Maybe it's just a knee-jerk response to Segways based on all of the previously ridiculous uses I've seen for them, but I felt compelled to snicker when I saw the steadicam mounted on it.

However, the more I think about it, the more I think this might be a honest-to-god practical use for this thing.
posted by 40 Watt at 7:01 AM on July 25, 2007

At the second fpp link, the 'first commercial use' of the stedicam+segway was filming a marching band... how long until some football team's marching band gets some knee driven segways... the synchronized singularity of nerds.
posted by acro at 7:06 AM on July 25, 2007

Picture of the segway in action at the golf at Hoylake last year.
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 7:07 AM on July 25, 2007

I can't think of Segway without thinking of all that ridiculous hype back in 2001 or 2002. I expect Segway to make good on all that hype and get to work on an anti-gravity device.
posted by rolypolyman at 7:19 AM on July 25, 2007

Cool, idea. It seems like it should have a remote kill switch so that some assistant can cut the power if the operator isn't paying enough attention to his steering and is about to plow into something/someone.
posted by octothorpe at 7:41 AM on July 25, 2007

Um, that's not a segway. It seems to be some sort of segway like device without a handle, which probably infringes on Dean Kamen's patents.
posted by delmoi at 8:00 AM on July 25, 2007

Did the date of the 2006 Open beat the "first" use with the Dutch marching band?
posted by A189Nut at 8:01 AM on July 25, 2007

Steadicam... Segway... Marching band... Queen...


Does seem like a cool idea.
posted by brundlefly at 8:18 AM on July 25, 2007

Yeah... it seems like they're not only running around infringing patents, but also calling their thing a segway, they're probably going to get into even more trouble. I always thought the segway patent was bullshit, since Kamen only wanted to make things that were "safe" a lot of fun toys couldn't be built on his design. Nonetheless, the patent does exist and won't expire for like 30 years, so this product will probably get pulled off the market, unless they can show it doesn't violate anything (maybe since it doesn't have a handle)
posted by delmoi at 8:37 AM on July 25, 2007

It's like chocolate and peanut butter, but put together!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:17 AM on July 25, 2007

As a former grip and former sometimes camera assistant this is pretty cool. Laying down track and all that shit for a dolly was a colossal pain in the ass.
posted by tkchrist at 9:26 AM on July 25, 2007

but also calling their thing a segway
where are they doing that?
posted by matt_od at 9:38 AM on July 25, 2007

Um, that's not a segway.

Um, they sure look like real Segway® brand Segways to me. They've just had their handle removed.
posted by zsazsa at 10:03 AM on July 25, 2007

That's the first good use I've heard of for a segway. Well, aside from Rabbi Schwartz's High Speed Brit Milah-O-Rama.
posted by es_de_bah at 10:28 AM on July 25, 2007

So that's how Daleks were first created...huh.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:31 AM on July 25, 2007

Is this actually a new idea? I thought people were doing this almost right after the Segway came out.

If not, I should be kicking myself for not doing something with the idea, because this application is one of the first things I thought of when the Segway came out. I mean, a flat even movement without needing to set up rails? Brilliant.
posted by quin at 10:54 AM on July 25, 2007

I wish people were more accepting of Segways for a very specific reason: if they were an acceptable and un-snarked form of conveyance, then individuals who cannot walk easily -- but can stand for reasonable periods of time -- could use them as a means of getting around without the associated stigma of being in a wheelchair.

I mean, they can NOW, but they swap the wheelchair stigma for people thinking they're a douchebag.
posted by davejay at 11:33 AM on July 25, 2007

They seem to be calling the device in the second link a "handsfree transporter." I have had a pair of those for years - they are called legs.

delmoi - patents filed after June 8, 1995 receive 20 years post filing.

davejay - the segway folks came up with a very nifty new transport for the disabled called the iBot. In my experience, those that can't walk well usually can't stand in one place well either, and if they can, generally they are older and less willing and able to run a device like the segway. That, and the cost of segway keeps everyone away. So, I'm not terribly convinced there is any degraded market for the disabled who are concerned their street cred will be shot for riding one.
posted by Muddler at 3:34 PM on July 25, 2007

Actually, that is indeed a Segway. I own and use a Segway instead of a car for in town errands and the trip to work, and have been involved in Segways from the start.

It's too bad that Segways have a bad rap with many people. For those who DO live in urban areas, I think they're fun and economical for getting from Pt. A to pt. B.

Getting back on topic, the camerapersons are using a modified version of the Segway.

I know I love mine, and those who own one or have ridden one will understand how remarkable and fun it is to have one.
posted by lonemantis at 4:09 PM on July 25, 2007

Everything seen so far in this thread has been a real, custom-modified Segway. No patents have been infringed upon.
posted by hellphish at 11:06 AM on July 26, 2007

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