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Music video oner


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#1 William Demeritt

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 09:46 PM

A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to do Steadicam on a music video with a crew I've worked with in the past. When I arrived, my earliest premonitions were confirmed: the whole music video was a oner. The resulting video finally debuted last week, and you can view it here:

Eels, "Little Bird"

Now, the whole video is indeed a oner, and the song lasts somewhere around 2:40. However, the move took place over approximately 40-50 feet. I'm getting a good sampling of operating practice either working normally or running in a variety of locales (suburbia, Mojave desert, downtown LA), but I don't think I've properly practiced the "extremely slow" move.

So, I performed the whole move in 1:20 to the song set at double speed. The DP and director were eager to have the sun in the right spot (breaking through the tree branches towards the end of the video, right up to setting on the horizon). We shot on the RED, and I used an Archer2 with Bartech, low mode.

Any critique is appreciated. Many thanks!
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#2 Matteo Quagliano

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 04:41 AM

Hi Wiliam,

for what my critique can count I'll throw it in anyway... I like Eels a lot (10 years ago more then nowadays) and I like the video too...
The trick of the speed is good but audio doesn't match perfectly with lips in my opinion. Operating is ok but sometimes you can see imperfections in movements not horizon problem but more from walking so slow... I can see your steps...
I think hard mounted on a rickshaw would be a better solution in this requested shot...

my countless 2 cent

maqu
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#3 Charles Papert

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 03:37 PM

As I always say, the real test of Steadicam is the super-slow stuff. You actually have the frame rate on your side, as the 48 fps thing theoretically slows down and thus smooths out imperfections (it's the other direction that gets you, shooting 12 fps or slower for 24--see "Return of the Jedi" speederbike sequence).

More than anything else though, I have to say that the color correction is entirely baffling, it looks like camera raw files. I know you weren't the DP on this but wow, if you hadn't said that was shot on a RED I would have guessed a DVX100 or something similar--very flat and dull.

Per the operating, it's good and as you indicated, practice would only help. The line exercise with the cross on the wall, especially done with a long lens, is a good way to dial this in. It's boring for sure but getting your footsteps and fingerwork used to the painfully slow moves is critical to success.
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#4 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 06:43 AM

Nice work. Oner's are tough. One thought I have is that it appears you set your headroom for the end of the shot and then didn't compensate for it at all. I think it looks odd when you're chopping off his feet and his head is center punched in the frame with tons of head room. I think if it were me I would have tilted down quite a bit.
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#5 William Demeritt

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 08:48 PM

Thank you all for the feedback so far.

Matteo: I definitely need to figure out some practice moves to help minimize my walking. The slow moves remind me of when I would have an issue with "seeing my footsteps" in normally paced walks. Next time, I would very likely recommend the rickshaw for the last half of the video, since there was a small staircase splitting the move in half. If you have any practice suggestions, I'd appreciate it!

Charles: Yea, I don't think I've given proper attention to the good ol' line dance on a long lens in the last few months. Definitely going to give that some attention in my practice sessions. Regarding the color correction, I'm not sure if the online version of the video will differ from the broadcast version. The sunlight was a huge player in the video, I would have liked to see the warmth of the setting sun way more.

Brad: I agree with you, I wanted to give a more balanced and appropriate framing. However, we also wanted to keep the sun and sunlight in the frame to flare out at the right time. I just wish the online video really showcased the light hitting the lens a bit moreso so the framing didn't feel so bottom-heavy.
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#6 Matteo Quagliano

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 03:50 AM

Hi William

first thing that comes to my mind is to have some wood axis over the little staircase (or something similar just to make it flat), the man pulling you as to be strong but sounds not impossible to keep a very slow move even on that particular situation, for sure you need a very good gaffer to build this up. Or may be I'm totally wrong and you just have to practice, practice, practice slow walk.

have fun,

maqu
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