Garrett Brown Interview
"I’ve been thinking about those days 30 years ago when all this began because I’m writing a book, a kind of a memoir about the 20 year period between getting in the business in the most idiotic way you can imagine — I read all the old film books in the free library of Philadelphia so of course I learned how to be a 1940’s filmmaker — and getting frustrated with the ancient equipment I acquired from a bankrupt local producer.
I thought you had to have a studio. I thought you had to have giant dollies and perambulator mic booms, and all of that heavy stuff. My dolly was a ‘Fearless Perambulator’ that weighed 600 lbs. Our crews were small and we broke our hearts lifting that thing into trucks and lugging that it up stairs and laying my 30 feet of rusty rails and putting my pinheaded little Bolex on this behemoth because that’s what one had to do to move the camera. I hated the bumpy look of handheld so I finally started looking for a way to disconnect the camera from the cameraman. Somehow the ever-bumpy human being camera must stay isolated from the smoothly moving camera. That turned out not to be easy, and became a three year project with a lot of false starts, which yielded some pretty goofy prototypes. We used to joke that one of them was “70 feet long and you couldn’t smoke near it”.
I tried every possible variation and finally got to one that looked like the modern Steadicam. I took it to Hollywood and almost immediately had a license deal from a camera manufacturer Cinema Products Corp.