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Laying the "Steadicam effect" to rest

Article published in the august 1989 issue of Les Cahiers du Cinéma

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An English translation of "Pour en finir avec l’effet Steadicam" which was published in The Steadicam Letter

At the end of the nineties, an analysis of the often-dubious aesthetic of bad Steadicam use was already in progress, particularly when it lead to twirl it round in the void, instead of favoring rigor and humility. The goal was trying to insert it, without any tinsel virtuosity nor complacency, in the visual fabric of movies. Jean-Marc Bringuier, one of the current AFCS vice-presidents and one of the pioneers of Steadicam, signed this article in the n°422 issue of les Cahiers du Cinéma, a prominent and intellectual magazine about cinema in France.

This text is more than 29 years old and is beginning to date on some sociological and technological aspects. It calls up a time when there were only seven or eight Steadicam in France, when gyro-stabilization hardly existed and when you still had Panaglides and Arris Bl around.

On the other hand, it remains valid in its description of the limitless potential of our tool and in its humorous exposure of an ever-present tendency to make it an end in itself. It certainly keeps being newsworthy and not old-fashioned as it remains true that “the real Wizardry of the Silver Screen rapidly wears thin when tools take over, or when some of their addicts declare their "fascinating" ventral appendage to be a necessary evil, on the way to a doubtful paradise”.

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