Garrett Brown is considered to be one of the greatest minds Hollywood has ever seen. For those who don’t know who he is, Garrett is a cinematographer and is famous for being the inventor the Steadicam. The Steadicam is used by operators to take their shots while running without the normal shaking that happens during handheld shots. The initial testing for the first Steadicam was used during the shooting of Rocky. The training and running sequence in the movie was shot using his invention. The Steadicam was then thoroughly used in Bound For Glory (1976) which won him the Academy for Best Cinematography. He later used it most for Stanley Kubrick’s horrifying thriller The Shining (1980).

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Garret Brown on the sets of The Shining with director Stanley Kubrick | photo: filmlinc.org

Garrett has since then been Steadicam operator for more than 100 projects, famed movies like King Of Comedy, Casino, Philadelphia, Rocky, Annie etc. The famous ‘Speed Bike Sequence’ in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983) was in fact shot by Garrett. He shot the forest sequence using a Steadicam at 1 fps (frame per second), so when viewed at the normal 24fps, the motion is 24 times as fast.

He received the Academy Award for Best Technical Achievement in 1999 and the Academy Scientific and Engineering Award in 2006 for his contribution to cinema. He now holds over 50 patents for his various inventions, some being the SkyCam (used over wires for sporting events), the MobyCam (follows swimmers underwater), the DiveCam and the SuperFlyCam. His inventions are now used by camera operators around the world and is held in high regard in the industry. Aged 75, Garrett’s last project was Stay (2005) as a camera operator. His son, Jonathan Brown is also a cinematographer, who has worked for movies like Pink Panther, The Internship and for television too.