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Greatest Inventions in Film: Rocky’s Steadicam

Rocky Steadicam
Rocky Steadicam

Rocky” is one of the greatest sports movies ever made. The 1976 classic went on to earn 10 Academy Award nominations, winning Best Picture. The ultimate underdog story spawned seven sequels, ended the Cold War, and revived Sylvester Stallone’s career in Ryan Coogler‘s “Creed.”

The steadicam is now a common way for filmmakers to achieve smooth tracking shots. However, “Rocky” features one of the first uses of the steadicam.

Photographed above is steadicam creator Garrett Brown and Sylvester Stallone while on the set of “Rocky II.” Brown also acted as the steadicam operator for the film. He first tested the new invention by filming his girlfriend running up and down the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. See the test footage and Brown’s commentary below.

The footage later inspired the film series’ most iconic sequence: Rocky’s training montage.

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In 1978, Brown received an Academy Award of Merit for his invention. The steadicam later achieved international success due to its use in Stanley Kubrick‘s “The Shining.” Brown also changed the way live sports are broadcast by inventing the skycam, a computer controlled camera system suspended by cables from the roof of a stadium.