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A good way to learn is to make friends with a rental house and see if they are willing to let you use it during slow days. Mount a laser on the head and setup some kind of maze on the wall and trace it for hours on end.

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setup some kind of maze on the wall and trace it for hours on end.

Except that a maze is totally predictable, and actors are not. Tracing patterns on the wall is fine for learning the basic motor skills, but to get good with the geared head, you have to learn to follow people.

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Yes, a maze is predictable but I feel you first need to know how to move a head as second nature. Where you don't have to think which way to rotate the wheel, how fast and etc. This way also means you don't have to relay on another person; it's just you and the camera.

 

Once you get that - following a subject shouldn't be that hard, it will just be about framing.

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Following a predictable pattern allows you to think about the moves in advance. All well and good, except that a large part of operating is being able to react instantly to an actor's movements. Not every scene is simple movement, and not every actor gives the same physical performance every time. I practiced at home with a geared head for weeks and felt pretty confident with it, until the first time I tried it on set, when I realized pretty quick that all that tracing patterns with a laser pointer hadn't taught me how to follow unpredictable movement.

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