Garrett Brown

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Garrett Brown
Born (1942-04-06) 6 April 1942 (age 75)[1]
Long Branch, New Jersey[1]
Occupation Cinematographer, Inventor

Garrett Brown (born April 6, 1942)[1] is an American Inventor, best known as the inventor of the Steadicam. Brown's invention allows camera operators to film while walking without the normal shaking and jostles of a handheld camera. The Steadicam was first used in the Hal Ashby film Bound for Glory (1976), receiving an Academy Award (Best Cinematography), and since used on such films as Rocky, filming Rocky's running and training sequences, and Return of the Jedi, where Brown walked through a Redwood forest with the Steadicam shooting film at 1 frame per second to achieve the illusion of high speed motion during the speeder-bike chase.

The sequence in Rocky that took the audience up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum for the triumphant moment at the top was first filmed during tests for the original Steadicam system. The system was used extensively on Stanley Kubrick's 1980 classic horror film The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson. Brown's Steadicam work can be seen in over seventy motion pictures.[2]

Brown has also invented the SkyCam (for football games), DiveCam (following olympic divers) and MobyCam (underwater camera following olympic swimmers).

Garrett Brown is the father of Jonathan Brown, also a professional cinematographer. Both worked together as Steadicam operators on the film Bulworth, directed by and starring Warren Beatty. A member of the American Society of Cinematographers and the Directors Guild of America, Garrett Brown was recipient of an Oscar for Scientific or Technical Achievement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and an Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his invention of the Steadicam.

Early years[edit]

After his graduation from Haverford High School, he matriculated at Tufts University, where he met Al Dana. Together, they formed the folk duo Brown & Dana, and recorded the classic "It Was a Very Good Year", among others.[3][4]


Garrett Brown has invented multiple camera supports focusing mostly on camera stabilization.[5]

  • Equipois: Defies Gravity with a mechanical arm for heavy machinery use.
  • FlyCam: A closed loop, stabilized tracking camera system.
  • DiveCam: The first dropping vertical camera system.
  • GoCam: The ultra-light high speed camera tracking system.
  • MobyCam: The first submarine tracking camera system.
  • SkyCam: The first suspended flying camera system.
  • Steadicam: The original handheld stabilizing system.
  • Steadicam Merlin: Next generation hand held Steadicam system.
  • Steadicam Tango: A new Steadicam accessory for floor-to-ceiling boom range.
  • SuperFlyCam: An ultralight stabilized 35mm wire-borne flying camera.
  • Zeen: Elevating walker.[6]

Awards and recognitions[edit]

  • 2013 – Joined the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his "Equipment for Use with Hand Held Motion Picture Cameras" Patent No. 4,017,168 the Steadicam® Camera Stabilizer.[7]
  • 2012 – Steadicam Guild Life Achievement Award.[8]

Academy Award[edit]

  • 2006 – Scientific and Engineering Award – For the original concept of the Skycam flying camera system - the first use of 3D volumetric cable technology for motion picture cinematography.
  • 1999 – Technical Achievement Award – Shared with: Jerry Holway For the creation of the Skyman flying platform for Steadicam operators.
  • 1978 – Academy Award of Merit – (The Cinema Products Corporation. Engineering Staff under the supervision of John Jurgens). For the invention and development of Steadicam.
  • 2001 – American Society of Cinematographers – President's Award

Society of Camera Operators[edit]

Nikola Tesla Satellite Award[edit]

  • 2014 – For visionary achievement in filmmaking technology[9]


External links[edit]