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Single take steadicam feature to be shot on RED


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#1 Tanner Stauss

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 10:31 PM

Hello all,

this is my first post here on The Steadicam Forum, glad to be here. I have already posted this thread over at REDuser.net and I am looking for some more specific advice than what I am getting there. I will just copy the body of text below of what I posted there:

"So, we are about to embark on an incredible and challenging cinematic endeavor. A feature I am working on in February is going to do a single take steadicam shot. We will be taking the film in around 100 minutes. The film will be shot in the Republic of Georgia in the capital, Tbilisi.

I will be doing the steadicam for this film and I am preparing now physically, mentally and technically. I am openly looking for any suggestions on steadicam equipment to use as well as light-weight and effective accessories. If you have a hypothetical camera setup idea, I would love to hear it. Also I would love to hear and see photos about some of the most bare bones, light-weight camera setups used with the RED. I have used many different steadicam rigs, and I have some ideas, but I am very open to suggestions and testimonials. Of course, I would like something as strong and light-weight as possible.

We will be shooting on the RED with an 18-70mm T2.2 Optimo accompanied by a Preston "FIZ"(focus, iris, zoom).

We understand that this is no small feat and that many many factors will play into the success of this film. I and our 1st AC are doing our part in preparing in every way we can at this point. I am looking forward to this challenge and can't wait to make history."

Let me just say that I am only looking for technical advice and suggestions here, I did not make the decision to shoot this film in one shot, but I am very excited to be operating it.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
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#2 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 11:08 PM

"So, we are about to embark on an incredible and challenging cinematic endeavor. A feature I am working on in February is going to do a single take steadicam shot. We will be taking the film in around 100 minutes. The film will be shot in the Republic of Georgia in the capital, Tbilisi.



First off Good luck on your endeavor

Having said that, I find that the single take or long take films rarely work on a photographic or story telling level. 4+ min shot's take huge amounts of work to make work, 10 or 15 mins is the limit IMO, 30mins is a cure for insomnia.
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#3 Lawrence Karman

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 11:55 PM

We will be shooting on the RED with an 18-70mm T2.2 Optimo accompanied by a Preston "FIZ"(focus, iris, zoom).



As far as i know no such Optimo lens exists. If you mean the 17-80mm T2.2 Optimo then I would say forget it, it's way too heavy for what you propose. I would also advise you to consider battery requirements first with the RED camera/Hard drive?/Preston FIZ/Monitor/Transmitter? combination before deciding on which rig. Good luck.

This is going to sound harsh and I've been sitting here biting my lip trying not to type this but I have to say it; I find it hard to believe any credible producer would entrust the shooting of a single take Steadicam-or-not feature length film to someone with your, shall I say, apparent limited experience. Certainly no bond company would allow it.
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#4 William Demeritt

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 12:21 AM

I'm sure you're going to start performing all sorts of tests, but I would think your first technical hurdle to overcome is power.

I believe RED claims the RED One draws 75wH, but I think most say it's closer to 90wH. A RED Brick sports 140wH, allegedly allowing the RED to run for almost 2 hours in idle or recording. Whether that's accurate or not, you're going to have to figure out a way to power the camera AND your sled with monitor, plus the Preston. That's a whole lot of juice.

Might want to head to the rental house with a stopwatch, build up the obvious configurations with the sleds available and let the camera record 110 minutes of footage. The whole time, you'll need to be periodically cranking the FIZ motors.

Do you know which sled you're likely to use? What's available to you?
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#5 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 01:16 AM

I'm sure you're going to start performing all sorts of tests, but I would think your first technical hurdle to overcome is power.

I believe RED claims the RED One draws 75wH, but I think most say it's closer to 90wH. A RED Brick sports 140wH, allegedly allowing the RED to run for almost 2 hours in idle or recording. Whether that's accurate or not, you're going to have to figure out a way to power the camera AND your sled with monitor, plus the Preston. That's a whole lot of juice.



Excellent point. You should budget the Red at 100wh, the monitor at between 10 and 40wh and the preston at 10wh. Then there is going to be the transmitter so that the director can view the image so that's around 15wh to be on the safe side so that's 135-165wh, meaning your going to need 270-330wh or somewhere near 25amps of batteries...

Looks like you'll be tethered to a nice big power source
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#6 Tanner Stauss

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 03:50 AM

I believe I will be powering the camera from two batteries using a dual mount hot-swap. That gives the camera nearly 3 hours of continuous use. Then I will power the accessories from a separate battery dedicated to the motors, transmitter, etc. If I'm using RED Bricks that gives me about 420wH for the whole rig.

I agree that the Optimo lens in question is a little big. I think it's around 10 pounds, I would of course like something smaller. Any suggestions on something in that focal range, but smaller and not compromising too much light loss?

Also, what are suggestions on the best sled and arm combo to use in terms of functionality, comfort and weight?

Thanks so far guys.
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#7 William Demeritt

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 05:24 AM

I believe I will be powering the camera from two batteries using a dual mount hot-swap. That gives the camera nearly 3 hours of continuous use. Then I will power the accessories from a separate battery dedicated to the motors, transmitter, etc. If I'm using RED Bricks that gives me about 420wH for the whole rig.


Don't trust the paper numbers, I'd really encourage you to spend a full day in the rental house playing around. Power the camera off 1 RED Brick and see if it really hits "almost 2 hours", or barely stretches past 1 hour. I've worked with the RED enough to feel hesitant at the claim the RED One can run in idle mode for almost 2 hours, let alone recording for 2 solid hours.

Are you thinking of powering the camera and monitor off the sled (2 RED Bricks), and maybe using a RED Brick mount on the body to power the Preston (via D-tap)? What type of dual mount are you planning to use?

Considering the RED camera body with all the gak, numerous batteries, Preston + 3 motors AND the Optimo 17-80 lens (Angenieux website claims 11lbs), I think you're officially past the weight range of mid-level rigs like the Archer2, and you will probably wind up with a top level rig like an Ultra2 or a Pro with 70lbs arm.
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#8 Bryan Fowler

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 09:14 AM

Tanner,

Welcome to the forums

You said that you have used "many different steadicam rigs."
Does that mean tried them on at NAB? Or does that mean that you've been operating for a while with your own rig?

The difference is significant, and quite hard to go from beginner to full rig pro operator in 1-2 months.
70lbs is a lot to sling around for 100+ minutes, and the ON the whole time. Obviously it can be done, but I'm afraid it might not be something you can just muscle through with a few weeks of prep.

It might be worth hooking up with an LA op, and wear their fullsize rig for a while just to see how it feels.

Bryan

(Sorry if I'm wrong, and you already know this. )
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#9 Rogerhaugen

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 11:09 AM

Hi!
I did a one take 4 min music video. I felt that was quite hard. Its not only the camera, there are so many factors that needs to be precise. We also had problems with the Red camera. It stopped after 2 min of recording a few times. Don´t really know what the problem was. I would rather go for a 17-35 zoom if you are planning on using the zoom.


The film "Russian ark" is done in one take. It was later known for being a one shot film, not for the film it self.
Personally I don´t see why a film needs to be shot in one take. The audience don´t care and they probably will get board because of all the compromises you need to do just to get thru it. Why not split it up in to a few more shots.

Just my opinion. But good luck if you go for it!
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#10 Frederic Chamberland

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 11:16 AM

HI TANNER

Batteries would be my biggest concern.
I have had my sled modified (PRO_GPI) to be able to use two batteries in 12Volts to accommodate my RED camera. I can now use two Dionics 90 together or one 160 and one 90 for at least a good hour of operating and stand by. All of my accessories (preston,sender,cinetape) are on the third battery.

The modification was done by David Hable at CRAMPED ATTIC

If you have some specific items for cabling or power distribution on your sled, he can probably help.

Do you have your own rig or will you rent ? If you rent, please make sure the batteries are fresh out of the box or have a very low cycle count on them if you are using Anton Bauer products (I don't think it's possible to check the cycles on a red brick).

Good luck , please keep us updated with the results and challenges you faced on the shooting day.

Fly safe ,

Fred
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#11 Brian Freesh

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 12:30 PM

The Optimo 28-76 is about 4.5 lbs I believe, also a good deal shorter and thinner. It's a 2.6
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#12 Charles Papert

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 06:52 PM

Obviously it goes without saying that you should strip the camera body down to bare bones and power it off the rig. A lightweight mounting solution like Element Technica's for the hard drive, no silly RED bracketry. 3 DM2's assuming the lens isn't too stiff for them. I'd think two Dionic 160's would be the safe way to go for power--you want to go with much more than you need just to be safe (how much would it suck if they died 5 minutes before the end of the shot?). You'd probably need a custom setup to mount them as having them in the traditional over/under rear configuration would make the unit too backheavy; I'd have one at the rear and the second just fore of the post, which should work in conjunction with an LCD. If you were only shooting interiors, the RED LCD would probably suffice but you'd need a daylight viewable monitor for exterior work. The Marshall transflective is probably the lightest decent daylight viewable I can think of.

To ensure the least amount of voltage drop, you'd probably want to cable directly from the batteries up to the camera rather than through the center post. If you ran the cable down from the top of the sled to the back of the monitor, it will never get in your way unless you have to slide the rig super close to something like a table. That being the case, you can run whatever other cables might be needed along with these, meaning you wouldn't need HD-SDI down the post. If the rig you were using could accommodate all of this, that's fine too--I just can't think offhand of a rig that necessarily offers all of that with the absolute lightest weight.

Even with all of this, if you had to go with that bruiser of a lens you will be flying a "normal" weight rig which could mean 80+ lbs on your body. That's a massive bitch for 90 minutes--frankly, many operators (myself included) simply couldn't do if, even if they wanted to (myself uninterested). Train your ass off.

Having given you these suggestions, I will also question the point of a feature-length Steadicam shot--it's been done before (don't know exactly what aspect of this is "making history"; hello, Russian Ark?) and I too can't remember the last time I saw a truly great four minute shot, let alone feature length. Actually that would have to be "Children of Men" and neither of the long shots in that were Steadicam, and they both were stitched with CGI from multiple shots. But whatever, have fun.
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#13 Fabrizio Sciarra SOC ACO

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 06:57 PM

LISIGAV

Sorry, couldn't resist
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#14 Daniel Stilling DFF

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 08:46 PM

If I were you I would design the shots with built in cutting points, like full frame wipes, cornering around objects, etc. whatever you can think to break it up, so if the Red goes haywire, or the lead actor forget his lines 5 min. from the end, you only need to do the last segment.
It would be easier on everybody, with so many things that could go wrong, it would save a lot of frustration.
I once did a one shot short that was 15min. long on an Aaton with the big mag. It's no walk in the park, and over 100 minutes non stop sounds like a marathon through the park...

Best of luck!

Dan
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#15 Sydney Seeber

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 09:11 PM

no silly RED bracketry.

But will you do when the aliens come? You'll be sorry then.
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