Larkin McLaughlin is a Steadicam™ operator working across various visual formats, such as feature films, commercials, music videos and live productions. We’re so excited that for quite a while he’s been doing his artwork using Cyclo stabilized head in combo with XCS gear. Larkin McLaughlin, welcome to the community of Cyclo operators!
Cyclo is a Steadicam™ head with a ton of depth so we are all curious to know his feedback. Recently, we talked with Larkin about his experience with Cyclo – setups he tried, how he gets ready for shooting, favourite tricks, recent projects.
Why did you choose Cyclo in the first place?
I chose Cyclo because I was looking for a tool that would allow me to go high to low and low to high in one continuous shot. I also wanted the ability to roll the camera when a shot called for it. With Trinity 2 on the market as well, it’s a great alternative without breaking the bank.
What are the key 3 features that you like in Cyclo most of all?
- The ability to go high to low and vice versa
- The ability to program rolls with the touch of a button
- The monitor yoke that follows you while you rotate the entire rig
What kind of setup did you have a chance to use with Cyclo so far?
I have been able to fly multiple cameras so far in Cyclo. I have flown Alexa 35, Alexa Mini LF, Sony Fx6, Red Komodo and Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro. Each camera setup has had a different set of lenses. Overall, the heaviest that I have flown is Alexa 35 with Anamorphic lenses. It was quite heavy but Cyclo handled it very well.
How long does it take you to get ready for shots with Cyclo?
I have been practicing at a local Camera Rental House with different camera setups in order to get faster at setup and the balance time. I wanted to do this on my own time so that when I arrived on the set, I was not unprepared. At this current point, I would say that it takes me roughly 30-45 min to set up and balance the Cyclo head. This is slower than my traditional Steadicam™ setup but expected, since it is a new piece of gear and requires a few more steps. As for now, I am happy with this setup time. I am hoping to get faster and more efficient as time goes on.
How can you evaluate the level of stabilization that Cyclo delivers?
I am extremely happy with the stabilization that Cyclo delivers. I have had zero issues as far as the horizon and roll stabilization. I have found that from light camera builds up to extremely heavy builds Cyclo has been able to handle them all very nicely.
Do you have favourite types of shots using Cyclo?
I am a big fan of the high to low and low to high shots with Cyclo. With traditional Steadicam™, you must be in either “high mode” or “low mode” to get high or low shots but with Cyclo you can do both in one shot. It has been a huge selling point for me to my clients. Also, there is no transition time form high to low like with a traditional Steadicam™, which allows for faster shots and smoother transitions.
I am also a fan of being able to put the camera in any position in what I call the “grey zone”, where with a traditional Steadicam™ you aren’t sure if it’s a “high mode” shot or a “low mode” shot so you are in between modes. With Cyclo it doesn’t matter, you can put the camera where you want.
What was the most challenging project you have done using Cyclo so far?
So far, the most challenging project I have done was a commercial with an MMA fighter. It was difficult because of how heavy the build was and it was my first project with Cyclo. I had to add a lot of weight to the bottom of the rig in order to balance properly and it was very taxing on my body. However, I was able to get some shots that I would not have been able to get with a traditional Steadicam™. And my transition time from high to low took seconds rather than minutes. Cyclo head also did an amazing job with stabilization with such a heavy camera build.
Larkin, many thanks for all your insights!
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