To submit requests for assistance, or provide feedback regarding accessibility, please contact

Arts & Entertainment

Frost/Nixon: Steadicam Staging

Ron Howard

Lesson time 21:34 min

Ron reworks the scene for a Steadicam, which requires technical movement and choreography from actors.

Ron Howard
Teaches Directing
Ron Howard teaches directing, editing, and storytelling in his exclusive video lessons.


So. That last one was a pretty rough assimilation of what we did with it as a movie. It was a kind of applying the same aesthetic sensibility to this scene today as it when we shot the film. But I want to experiment a little bit today. And this is something that I actually thought about for the movie. We didn't really have time to explore it this way, and I ultimately rejected it. But today I'm going to-- we're going to experiment with it a little bit. Which is the idea of playing it in a long, extended steadicam shots. I'm not sure we'll get it to be a one-er. But, using a steadicam, I want to go at the scene in a different way, and which is going to require some different staging. Now when you're working in a scene that's a one-er-- if you think of a movie like Birdman. It all had the feeling of a one-er. It requires some technical willingness and adeptness from the actors. Because very often you have to work with the camera operator. You know what we were doing was a little more spontaneous and natural, and the camera was hand-held, and it could move to find the shots. But when you get into this kind of highly choreographed sort of shooting, the actors have to be a little more technically willing to really hit specific marks and make it seamless. So we're going to work on that now. The only thing that I'm going to change, for starters-- because we have to reblock-- is instead of going in that alleyway, because it would be very difficult to do much with the steadicam inside that narrow alleyway, instead we'll assume that when you want to go, that you're going out the garage door. And we'll finish out here. And this is an area where the steadicam can operate. And move around you guys a little bit. OK? So let's just begin to experiment. It may be one shot. It may be three shots. I'm not sure. But just walk in, and do what you were doing more or less and let's see how much we can adapt a single shot to that. And then we'll have to start tweaking it. But I'm going to sort of be the steadicam now for a second. And we have a steadicam operator. Work with me here a little bit. OK. OK. All right. And, so maybe we'll just hinge him in, like in a profile or something. And action. What revolution? Let him come through. And keep going. You just let Richard Nixon claim the country was in a state of revolution, with protesters bombing and assaulting police officers. That's not how I remember it. What I remember is people protesting peacefully and legitimately against the Vietnam war. So if you got a wide for a second. That's what I remember. Music off, please. Music off. I need to see that. Hang on, whoa, whoa whoa. So how are we going to see that? So we've come into this situation. That's pretty good, because we get him yelling. If maybe, you might need to mot...

About the Instructor

Ron Howard made his first film in 15 days with $300,000. Today, his movies have grossed over $1.8 billion. In his first-ever online directing class, the Oscar-winning director of Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind decodes his craft like never before. In lessons and on-set workshops, you’ll learn how to evaluate ideas, work with actors, block scenes, and bring your vision to the screen whether it’s a laptop or an IMAX theater.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I'm a writer and I'm amazed how much this course stimulated me to think about stories, organizing them, and in a sense - staging them. This was great!

His work is amazing, and he was able to share a bit of this experience to us, so that´s very cool !

Loved this class! The best I've taken so far! Thank you so much! I've learned a great deal!

Ron has helped me visualize the step by step process of creating a film from preproduction all the way through post production. I can't wait to implement his teachings!


Rafaela R.

Really would of been great to had a mic on the steadicam operator. Hard to hear him

Susan F.

This was a fascinating look at the very specific choices that needed to be made in order to tell the story and keep the tension building through camera work. This whole series has been an eye-opening look into the world of filmmaking. I've never had the opportunity to see the whole process from a director's point of view. As an actor, I've experienced some of the work, but I've never been privy to the process. Thank you, Ron Howard, for sharing your brilliance with such passion and insight. This was and continues to be a gift!

Steph F.

This has been invaluable to see the blocking with the Steadicam staging - working with the actors and the camera

Jerry G.

Just awesome behind the scenes that I have always wanted to know of how a movie is shot. Since my youth I was always in awe of the cinema. And it only took 50 or so years for "Masterclass to bring it to me" I never just watched a movie but tried to break down the scenes and how it was all shot. Thanks for the insight Mr. Howard it was your youth on AGS when it started for me and you so so lucky that you got to pursue it.

Frank T.

this really is advanced filmmaking. Ron has a very common touch he uses to express Profound ideas and concepts that cover a wide range of possibilities and eventualities. Brilliant

Brian Z.

All of these lessons are so valuable and excellent!!! So many great points!!! Thank you very much!!!

Doha I.

An old, successful actor friend of mine swears by the value of memorising his script very early on, and then not even holding it in his hand....


I would like know if they really have so much time on a real set to allow Directors trying different angles with two cameras on the set. Plus Ron does not seem worried at all about crossing the imaginary line of sight between the actors. I wonder if he is going to refer to that later or it is so elementary now a days that it is not important if you cross it.

Ruben R.

@ the edge of my seat! Great acting & Directing/Instructing by Ron Howard.

Matthew B.

thanks for the reality of this process Ronnie and to your hard working actors