Title Banner



December 2005 Markee Magazine

Specialty Shooters                                                  

Special Qualities                                  

by Michael Fickes

Can you operate a camera 35 feet under water and pay attention to what you are doing? Would you want to shoot from a helicopter, 300 feet up? Maybe you’d rather strap a 60-pound Steadicam to your chest and jog backwards? Can you frame a shot while snow skiing backwards? Are you intellectually and emotionally agile enough to get real people to come across on camera?

Specialty shooters do all of the above.

But how do they do it? What talents, gifts, quirks, abilities, skills, idiosyncrasies or other qualities make a specialty shooter special? Markee asked four specialty shooters plus one specialty team to talk about the qualities that have made them successful. Here’s what they had to say.

Steady hand, Steadicam

Sometimes specialty shooters need brute strength. “In my work, you lug around a 65-pound camera,” says Erik Anderson, a Steadicam operator based in Waterbury, Connecticut. “You have to have the dexterity to use the camera.”

Anderson has proven his endurance and agility on shoots for ABC, CBS, ESPN, MTV, NBC and others. But sometimes, agility isn’t enough.

Not long ago, Anderson worked on the production team for a live corporate awards show produced by Commerce Bank. The bank brought employees from around the country to New York City’s Radio City Music Hall for the ceremony but none of the winners had been notified in advance.

During the unrehearsed shoot, Anderson helped tape employees as they walked to the stage. He walked backwards with the Steadicam as other crew cleared the cable and production gear out of his way. Upon arriving at the stage, Anderson carefully backed up the steps, keeping the winner in frame.

Anderson was one of a team of shooters using two Steadicams, two jib cameras and three fixed cameras. The Steadicam operators roamed the audience. Whoever was closer when a winner was announced handled the move up to the stage.

It was a big production culminating with a Porsche awarded to the Employee of the Year. That employee proved to be as fast as, well, a Porsche. “When they called his name, I was close, about 55 feet from the stage,” Anderson recalls. “He stood up, and I moved toward him. He was so excited that he started sprinting toward the stage. And he was fast.

“I had to stay in front of him, while running backwards [carrying the camera]. I heard the crew behind me throwing cable and production stuff out of the way. I was backpedaling very fast. The winner was running all out, paying no attention to me. I managed to keep him in frame. But he was catching up. When I got to the stage, I tripped over the bottom step. And the guy slammed into me. He knocked me up the steps and the crew caught me.”

Anderson’s ear piece erupted as the director yelled to cut to another camera. The true professional that he is, he checked focus and got ready for the next shot.


For booking and rate information please call:

(203) 232-7507








Image 1


©2012 Erik Anderson Steadicam