The Tiffen Company have recently announced that inventor of the ‘STEADICAM’ Garret Brown, will be inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame later this year.
Introduced in 1975, the technology behind the Steadicam camera stabilization revolutionized the film industry by giving cinematographers and videographers the chance to capture lengthy motion shots without the shakiness of handheld cameras or using cumbersome tracks and dollies. Brown’s invention, originally called the ‘Brown Stabiliser’ was immediately used to create iconic running and chase scenes in 1976 blockbusters “Bound for Glory”, “Marathon Man” and “Rocky”.
Brought under the Tiffen Company’s banner in the year 2000, the Steadicam has been helping filmmakers and videographers alike capture superb motion shots for over three and a half decades, and with Tiffen’s product development, the Steadicam has since continued to shape the industry with supporting a wide selection of camera rigs ranging from those for feature film and 3D shoots to the latest hand-held Steadicam Smoothee and Curve which bring that same camera stabilisation technology to the iPhone and GoPro.
Brown had this to say in 1975 about his revolutionary cinema product “We sort of have a stabilizer in our heads, if you think about it. You’re not conscious of yourself lurching side to side when you walk, or rising and falling. The brain just smooths it all out for you. So why should it look worse when you pick up a camera and try to walk? That’s what sort of lured me on back then.” The now legendary story goes, that Brown first tested the Steadicam by filming his girlfriend at the time running up the steps at Philadelphia Art Museum, then only a few months after showing “Rocky” director John Avildsen the shot, he was following Sylvester Stallone up the very same steps for the now infamous ‘training’ montage.
Since that time, Brown has shot nearly 100 films using his camera stabilizer, including “The Shining” and “Return of the Jedi.” Today, anyone who watches movies or television has more than likely watched a scene that was only possible because of Garrett Brown’s Steadicam innovation.