Rob Vuona

Rob Vuona

Rob Vuona is best known as a Steadicam Operator on live television shows in Los Angeles and was the design consultant on the first Steadicam specifically designed for live television, Tiffens Shadow-V where V is for Vuona.

Rob moved to Los Angeles in 1985 to pursue his career in television production and attended California State Polytechnic University at Pomona with a major in Telecommunications.

During his first 30 years behind the lens, on hundreds of shows shooting in 125 countries, he has earned 12 Emmy Nominations that resulted in six wins. When he isn’t operating Steadicam he spends his time traveling with his wife Jacqueline, eating Italian meals with his family, skiing and mountain biking. He is currently working on a coffee table book documenting his first 50 years.

Tell us about yourself, background and projects you are usually booked for?

I live in Torrance, California; and mostly work in Hollywood, Burbank, New York, Miami, San Francisco and Las Vegas. I started in Sports and migrated over to Live Entertainment. Most of my work is Award Shows and all things live television.

Star Wars Disney

What was your favorite, most memorable job?

There are so many memorable jobs that have taken me to all corners of the earth, literally 125 different countries and 5 continents. Since I love shooting music and Rush is my favorite band, being on stage with Rush in Rio doing their 30th anniversary DVD with 150,000 people in the audience at Rios largest stadium was pretty incredible.

What would be your dream gig if you could work on any set or with a particular crew?

Every job is a dream job because everyday I get to go play on set. I cross over from Live TV, to Sitcom, Narrative and Features all are different but all of them are equally fun.

Did you have a mentor or person that inspired you to get into this industry?

There have been multiple mentors over the years in many different genres but I credit my Steadicam mentors to be Jeff Muhlstock and Dave Eastwood. They were both innovators in the industry and pushed us to look to the future of what is possible for Steadicam in the Live Television world.

One piece of advice for someone looking to get into your profession…

Do what you love and you will never work a day.

How would you describe your cart setup?

My cart setup is the original Scout 31. I have it setup to accommodate the needs of live television. I love the size as it is exactly the same footprint of a Pelican 1650 or a Storm Case 2950.

INOVATIV workstation Steadicam

Can you tell us about some details and components of your cart? (e.g. Size, Wheels, Foldable, etc.)

I chose the Scout 31 because the footprint is 2″ less than the typical roller stand for Steadicam. In the live genre of television you need to have your docking station on a live set and it needs to be as invisible as possible. The Scout 31 is that cart!

I have modified mine with rubber diamond plate strips on the underside of the upper shelf which keeps my Steadicam cases from sliding off during transport. I had the Steadicam mounting post made of aluminum, cut to fit inside the cart and anodized black to have it bend in on set and have the smallest footprint possible on set and in travel.

Small footprint workstation

How do you transport your workstation?

My Scout 31 transports all my Steadicam cases as well as my personal bags with minimal time and effort, its ability to transform from rolling cart, to Steadicam case holder, to travel case is amazingly easy. I break down my Steadicam cases and put the cases on top of the collapsed Scout which allows me easy transport to and from work, as well as in and out of the airport and to and from each venue set.

How many monitors do you have installed?

I don’t have any monitors mounted to my cart as it is not needed for my type of use.

What video and computer gear do you use?

I use my Macbook Pro but typically not while at work and not mounted to my cart.

How do you handle power supply on set?

Power supply for me comes from an external AC cord or just P-Taps on my batteries. Although I have toyed around with the idea of installing an external power plug into the side wall of the cart so that it could be easily plugged in.

What are some accessories and special features you have on your workstation?

The accessories I have for my Scout 31 is a vest hanger bar, a plastic larger water bottle holder that mounts to the side posts, a collapsible water bottle holder that mounts to a side post, a modified S-Hook to hang a back pack from the cross bar, and a garage slat hanger bracket that can accommodate the fiber cable loom and lastly, a small flashlight that mounts to my docking bracket to illuminate the top shelf of the cart.

Workstation in action

What is your favorite component of your workstation and why?

I think my favorite component currently is the removable hinged bracket vest hanger bar. The non-hinged one is smaller and better compacted.

Tell us a story of when your workstation got you through a particularly challenging situation.

My Scout 31 has been a game changer for me and always gets me through the challenge of transporting multiple cases to and from work and to and from the airport. The small size and ability of the cart to compact allowed me to transport everything I need for work in my small hybrid car and without an assistant.