Operating a Steadicam is an art, & requires endless hours of practice, so is best left to dedicated operators.
Years ago Cooter suggested looking into the Easyrig systems, but at the time I scoffed at the idea due to how silly they look.www.easyrig.com
Recently I've seen them in action with some high profile DPs, & have changed my mind, so am testing one of their more affordable systems, the Turtle XS, & if need be may upgrade to their line of Vario(s). When I went to demo their systems the US distributer didn't have any Vario(s) in stock, & stated they fly off the shelves, so it seems they're becoming quite popular.
The Easyrig is not a substitute for Steadicam, but it does smooth out handheld work, a look I usually prefer to the floating footage of a Steadicam.www.youtube.com/user/easyrig#p/a/u/0/aP5btPSaYogwww.youtube.com/user/easyrig#p/u/4/Cl7LHTGT46c
Well thank you Bern. Yea, the Easy Rig is damn silly looking but works and actually gives you that hand held look without all the nervousness. Kind of like a professional way to shoot loose and real.
Somebody, a while back made a bungee system that would work off everything from real skateboards (like the kids that bust their balls at the park, not skateboard dollies) to the hoods of a car.
I haven't seen them again, but they probably snuffed someone, or crunched an arriflex so that system may be gone.
Next we need a portable folding crane that doesn't take two hours to set up and has an early warning device so some some assistant or swing doesn't run it into the powerlines and fry him/herself and the powergrid for Orange County.
A few years ago I knew a good dp that moved to tv movie of the week type of direction. He directed and shot everything himself (and I mean everything that was an exterior shot) from a shotmaker
and always came in a half budget.
He's was fast through I think it scared the crap out of the talent to always have a Ford F-150 pointed at them.