icon account icon cash icon cart icon cart icon search main arrow arrow check icon camera icon light icon audio icon computer icon storage icon discount icon facebook icon twitter icon linkedin icon vimeo icon youtube icon instagram icon google plus icon share icon email icon print icon time icon phone icon email-m icon marker-m icon pdf icon remove icon comment icon out icon-status icon-star icon-switch pie-chart line-chart icon-user icon-user-1 icon-warning expand-arrow-1 expand-arrow-2 icon-upload icon-download icon-none icon-date-scheduled icon-date-available icon-is-hazardous
Header image for article Andrew Theiss Steps Up to the ARRI TRINITY Camera Stabilizer

Andrew Theiss Steps Up to the ARRI TRINITY Camera Stabilizer

Andrew Theiss is a Steadicam Operator based out of Columbus, Ohio. After deciding on this career path, he purchased an ARRI TRINITY 5-Axis Hybrid Stabilizer. Recently, he talked to us about why he chose the TRINITY and how he’s been putting it to good use.


Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into this line of work?

I have been working in the production world for about 4 years now and found my way into the business as a grip and electrician. After working my way up to Best and Key positions in the Columbus community, I began to consider ways of making my own impact in the marketplace. I’d worked with several AC’s and DP’s over the years who would regularly voice their frustration with gimbals, and it occurred to me that perhaps Steadicam Operator could be the career path I’d been looking for.


How did you start operating and working with the TRINITY?

I first began operating with a borrowed rig from Old Machine, a local production house where I’d interned during college. It was a Steadicam Zephyr, which I used sparingly and clumsily for several student projects only to put it down when I began to get regular grip and electric work following graduation.

After several years of working as an electrician, I decided to seek out proper training and fully commit to becoming a professional Operator. I attended a workshop at AbelCine in Chicago taught by Rey Reyes, a Steadicam Operator. It was there I really fell in love with operating and I proceeded to find work sparingly with my borrowed Zephyr, but I knew I would need to upgrade sooner or later to a bigger rig of my own.


What made you decide to purchase the TRINITY?

After thoroughly exploring options and prices with other manufacturers, I stumbled upon a clip of Curt Schaller from ARRI CSS demonstrating the TRINITY at a trade show in 2016. I immediately signed up for another training class at Abel, this time with Alan Lennox from ARRI. Once I got to put my hands on the TRINITY and see it in action, I began to consider the wide range of dynamic shots and creative possibilities I could introduce to my current market and it became obvious that TRINITY was the rig for me.


What makes the TRINITY a good fit for the type of work you do?

Columbus, Ohio is primarily a commercial market, and with many workdays being jam packed and short on time, the TRINITY has already shown its value on set numerous times. Whether it be the ability to switch a lens with only minor, if any, rebalance time required, or the speed and efficiency with which you can move between shots and setups or hi-mode and lo-mode, the TRINITY is an invaluable time saver and substantially reduces the pressure of making the day. It can also get the camera in tight spaces or on uneven terrain, moving in ways that otherwise could only be achieved through the time and labor intensive efforts of the grip department.


Andrew Theiss with the ARRI Trinity at AbelCine

Have you faced any specific challenges on shoots that the TRINITY helped you solve?

I recently shot a commercial for Red Roof Inn that showcased TRINITY’s ability to switch from lo-mode to hi-mode and back throughout the shot, following talent through a sketchy looking fight club environment, while featuring several seated and standing extras along the way. This was my first opportunity to utilize some of the TRINITY’s many capabilities that set it apart from a traditional Steadicam. Though I was pleased with the result, I know we only scratched the surface of what can be achieved with this tool. I look forward to exploring possibilities and pushing boundaries on projects for years to come.


Can you tell us how you worked with AbelCine on your TRINITY purchase?

My relationship with Abel began with a camera movement workshop I took a couple of years ago at the Chicago location. I followed that up with a TRINITY workshop a year later, and when I reached out to inquire about purchasing my own rig, I was thoroughly impressed with how attentive and helpful the sales team was throughout. I am especially grateful for Steven who worked with me every step of the way, coordinating the purchase of many different items from many different vendors. When I had questions or couldn’t find what I was looking for, he was able to give me answers and get me what I needed in a timely manner.

Andrew Theiss Operates the ARRI Trinity
How would you say that investing in the TRINITY has helped with your career?

My purchase of the TRINITY remains one of the riskier moves of my life, yet I have every confidence it was the right decision, and the early returns on my investment have been promising. As I proceed to build my reel, work continues to present itself more and more consistently. Though I currently rely on G&E work to account for about half my income, the rig continues to pay for itself every month. I look forward to expanding my business, Bionic Steadi Ops, to other markets in the near future and seeing where this journey takes me.


What advice would you give someone looking to get into operating?

If I could offer advice to anyone pursuing a career as a Steadicam Op or the TRINITY as your rig of choice, it would be two fold. First, try it before you buy it. I found my workshops to be extremely helpful in terms of trying out different rigs and asking lots and lots and lots of questions. Also, I believe you really should know how it feels to wear a rig with a full camera build before making the investment to own one. Before taking the plunge, try to spend as much time as you can in a borrowed or rented rig or consider first investing in an entry level rig. The time I spent in the Zephyr reassured me that my choice to become an operator was the right one and that there was in fact a market for my services. It also allowed me to identify what features I was looking for when it was time to upgrade.

My second recommendation would be to know your market. The success I’ve had in the early stages of my career as an operator has everything to do with the relationships I developed as a grip and electrician. I was able to solicit advice from my peers before committing to such a large investment, and I knew I could count on their support during the early stages of honing my craft and building my brand.

For everyone else who knows they want to be an operator or are already operators looking to upgrade their gear, the ARRI TRINITY is an incredible tool and I couldn’t be happier to call one my own.

Andrew Theiss Operates the ARRI Trinity

Responses have been lightly edited for space and clarity.

AbelCine encourages comments on our blog posts, as long as they are relevant and respectful in tone. To further professional dialog, we strongly encourage the use of real names. We reserve the right to remove any comments that violate our comment policy.