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Garrett Brown’s Steadicam Breakthrough Continues to Grow 50 Years Later

In the history of motion-picture technology, few operators have had a more profound effect on camera movement than Garrett Brown. While dollies and cranes were Hollywood’s go-to platforms into the late ’60s, Brown’s ingenious camera rig — dubbed the Pole and later renamed Steadicam — started a photographic breakthrough that’s still growing 50 years later.

Preceding the prototype’s successful debut in 1972 for ABC Sports (covering female jockey Robyn Smith on a 600-foot uncut walk from weighing room to paddock), Brown sent out an “impossible shots” reel that included a scene of his girlfriend and future wife Ellen ascending the 72 steps at the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art with, miraculously, nary a camera wobble.

One of the people who saw that reel included director John Avildsen, and sure enough Brown’s invention landed three colossal projects in 1975 alone: Avildsen’s “Rocky,” Hal Ashby’s “Bound for Glory” and John Schlesinger’s “Marathon Man.

See full article on Variety