The ultimate training ground: The Steadicam Gold Workshop

Feb 8, 2024

The Steadicam Gold Workshops are highly regarded the world over for many reasons but none more so than the stellar line up of instructors provided.

The instructors for the UK Gold workshop held in Bicester towards the end of last year included Paul Edwards, Jason Ewart, Roger Tooley, and Martyn Porter, who between them have shot many top rated movies and series, then the fast rising Steadicam star Junior Agyeman, as well as Tiffen’s highly experienced Danny Hallett and Robin Thwaites and very special guest, the inventor of Steadicam himself, Garrett Brown. The students were given a fantastic opportunity to chat about real life operating and to draw experience from the very best.  

The Steadicam Gold Workshop is a five and a half day total immersion experience for students from raw beginners to experienced operators wishing to improve their techniques. The first part is based around the Tiffen Steadicam short course syllabus then comes the more complex shot building and sophisticated techniques including the use of vehicles and other moving platforms. The larger rigs from the M-series are provided for the instructors and students to use. The Gold workshops are full board residential and make use of all the time available for practical work during the day and lectures in the evening. Locations are chosen to provide an interesting backdrop for training.   

Junior Agyeman talks of his instructing 

“I was honoured to be invited to join the team of instructors. This was a surreal moment as it felt like only yesterday I was doing my Silver workshop where my journey all began. On the first day, it hit me on how far I have come and how daunting the journey can be. What made this workshop special for me was that Garrett Brown was there. To have the inventor of the very tool that has given me my liberty to express myself in the manner that I do in film, was surreal. Plus, it was the first time that I have ever met him, so it was one of those once in a lifetime experiences for me.

“Further to this, I had and still do, look up to many of the instructors that were invited onto this workshop. Due to the nature of our work, meeting other operators, especially of this level doesn’t happen often so it was great to be surrounded by such experience. Tiffen created an amazing environment for the participants to learn and to be tested, whilst ensuring that each student had the opportunity in learning difference styles and approaches to operating.

“Many of the students found my approach to operating untraditional to my peers with 30+ years of experience, but just as effective, which in turn reduced both the complexity and pressure that they felt toward learning how to operate. 

“Despite all the technological advancements in Steadicam made by Garrett Brown himself and others over the last 30 years, it was nice to know and teach participants the fundamentals that were used in the early days before the Volt and the Wave, which deepened the importance of understanding the mechanics over the dependency on just aided electronics alone.

“Being in such an environment reminded me of the magic of learning and the importance in being surrounded by skilled craftsmen, passionate about the creation of the image”.

Inès Bedrouni  1st AC , DOP, Paris, France – workshop attendee 

“I was so touched by the passion of all the instructors present, and above all the kindness with which they passed on their knowledge left a singular impression on me. It’s a framework that has fuelled my desire to surpass myself, and that has enabled me to redefine my objectives as a young Director of Photography.” 

Jack Howe, London based, camera op, snr kitroom tech, workshop attendee 

 “To me the experience opened my eyes. I was unsure of my future and path I wanted to take but after and during the course I knew this is what I wanted to do. Steadicam is where I want to be.”  

Instructor, Jason Ewart, Camera and Steadicam op on the last Bond movie ‘No Time to Die’  

“It was my first experience instructing at a Steadicam work shop and thanks to the actors strike I was available. It was a very enjoyable experience to pass on some knowledge to the next generation and to share some stories about my journey so far. It was great group of people and it’s an experience I’d be more than happy to do again.”  

Duncan Lorthioir, Edinburgh based camera, Steadicam operator, workshop attendee 

 “Regarding the experience of the workshop, it was worth every penny, I didn’t realise I could learn so much in a week, and I feel like the connections I’ve made are real and strong. In my case I think I could almost say that the experience was life changing, even if it sounds a little bit dramatic, it fully reignited my passion and motivation, as well as giving me a healthy dose of confidence in my skills, old and new. On top of the practical training and learning, getting all the insights for the different instructors and from Garrett himself was priceless, and I never expected to be able to meet such incredible people there. I did buy one of the ‘demo’ kits from the course, it was a good deal, and I’m now fully ready and confident to face the future and take on all kinds of cool projects.” 

Reiko Nagayoshi   Japan UK DP /Producer / Editor/Colour Grading…ultimately DP, currently London based, workshop attendee 

“I attended the workshop because I was looking for more possibilities for moving pictures.  

Overall, I was surprised that so many long standing professional Steadicam operators are still operating at the top of their game as many people have said in a Steadicam career you won’t be able to last long due to its tough physical requirement. 

After watching Garret Brown, who was actually operating the camera at his 80s, with his popping, unique, yet creative operation, it reassured me that the Steadicam could be much more creative than a conventional operation if I and the gimbal can become as one.” 

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