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Carmount or Steadicam?


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#1 Gary McNamee

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 09:14 AM

Hey All.

I'm new to the Steadicam and this forum but am trying to figure the best ways to get forward facing shots for POV angles for runners and triathletes in action for the club I belong to. I have a Steadicam with Arm and Vest but am also looking for a carmount. I bought a stickypod but when I used it, the vibration was brutal. I am looking at at HandsFree Segway but also haven't given up on the carmount. I was hoping to generate some shots like the one in this link:



If anyone could help me figure out how this was done, it would be greatly appreciated.
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#2 Sanjay Sami

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 10:33 AM

Hey All.

I'm new to the Steadicam and this forum but am trying to figure the best ways to get forward facing shots for POV angles for runners and triathletes in action for the club I belong to. I have a Steadicam with Arm and Vest but am also looking for a carmount. I bought a stickypod but when I used it, the vibration was brutal. I am looking at at HandsFree Segway but also haven't given up on the carmount. I was hoping to generate some shots like the one in this link:



If anyone could help me figure out how this was done, it would be greatly appreciated.


Hi Gary,
What camera and what budget ? A hard rig on a vehicle for a POV will give you terrible vibration. A hard rig will only work shooting back at the vehicle its rigged onto.
The reference clip on youtube is really smooth.
My first choice would be a stabilised head (Flight head, Libra etc.) rigged onto Chapmans vertical vibration isolator. This might be a bit pricey.
Or steadicam with Gyros, but if you are new to steadicam,with out experience you may not be able to get the look you want.
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#3 Gary McNamee

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 11:26 AM

I am currently using a Canon Vixia HF M300 to learn with the Steadicam Merlin (I also have the arm and vest) It's a nice lightweight HD Camcorder. I was planning to ultimately use a Sony NEX-VG10 when they come out. I am quite the novice to all this so I don't know what I don't know. I am in the Boston area and plan to take a Steadicam workshop next month as well as lots of practice. The problem is with all the POV videos I've seen online, I could be at this for a year and not get that quality. It leads me to believe there is equipment I am not familiar with or the post production editing is forgiving alot of the camera man's sins!

I will definitely look into the stabilised head (Flight head, Libra etc.) rigged onto Chapmans vertical vibration isolator. However, I also have seen POV videos on trails, paths etc where a car could not go. See Link



This seems incredibly smooth. I don't need this type of quality (nor could I probably afford it) but would love to know what type of camera and equipment they use.
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#4 Sydney Seeber

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 01:58 PM

you're not gonna get shots like that with a Merlin. I only found one photo of their setup, and it was a gyro stabilized car mount. In addition, I'm sure that software plays a significant part in stabilizing in post.
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#5 Gary McNamee

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 03:04 PM

Thank you VERY much for this information. Could you recommend a gyro? I went looking online but had quite a bit of difficulty in determining just what I would need. In addition, the software you mention. Are you referring to editing software?

I would assume on the trail and hiking shots, they are using a Steadicam or Glidecam, etc. Would the Merlin work for these shots or would I need something higher end?

I'm sorry about being such a noob, but figure I am going to need a lot of time to learn how to configure all this. If time could be saved by help from the folks on this site who know exactly what I need, I could spend that time acquiring and learning what I am going to have to do on my own. I have a 4 month window.

Again, thank you very much for any and all help.
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#6 Sanjay Sami

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 08:53 PM

I don't know about the camera you mention. You can get incredibly stable shots off road with a Flighthead on a vertical vibration isolator mounted on an ATV (Polaris 6x6) but I think it might be out of your budget. Maybe a post production solution would be better.
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#7 Gary McNamee

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 07:30 AM

I don't know about the camera you mention. You can get incredibly stable shots off road with a Flighthead on a vertical vibration isolator mounted on an ATV (Polaris 6x6) but I think it might be out of your budget. Maybe a post production solution would be better.


While the idea of a vertical isolation isolator sounds great, I'm thinking it would not be practical for repetitive use (or cost effective)

I think I'm going to look into your other idea of gyros along with the Steadicam. I plan to look into the Kenyon KS-4 or KS-2 next week and hope that that, along with post production editing software will do the trick.

Thank you again for your feedback. It helped immensely.
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#8 Andrew Stone

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 10:55 AM

Hi Gary,

With the weight of the gyros you would be getting into a +$20,000 setup once you outfit it with gyro mounts, wiring, batteries and the rig that can support both the gyros, batteries and the camera.

TIFFEN offers 2 day crash courses that will help you get jump started into basic operating techniques and you could try on some of the rigs you will need to consider purchasing or financing. Last time I checked the courses were in the $500 to $600 range. There is also the Steadicam Operators Handbook by Focal Press, Holway/Hayball. In my view you should get the book now and hope a course is offered soon. Best money you will spend this year is taking that course.
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#9 Gary McNamee

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 11:34 AM

Andrew,

I am planning to take a Steadicam workshop in Boston next month. Spoke with Peter Abraham and he convinced me $$$ well spent.

As for the gyros, each Kenyon KS-2 is 1.5 lbs (I figure I'd need 2) and is only $200./week to rent or $1200. to buy outright.

I have the Steadicam Merlin and the camera is only 1 lb. VERY SMALL pickin's compared to what I've seen on this site but hoping it will get the job done. The Merlin should be able to handle this (I hope)

Major learning curve but what can you do.

Thank you for your feedback. Please let me know if I'm in left field. Again, I'm new and learning.
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#10 Sydney Seeber

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 12:45 PM

You wanna put a Gyro on a Merlin?

Please take pictures


The gyro weight does not include power supply. You need to use nice professional full-sized batteries for that. Gyros work best in pairs. You need to wait for the gyros to get to speed before you can use them. That takes quite a while. There's really no useful place to put them on a Merlin... Or a Pilot, for that matter. This all is in relation to those Kenyons you speak of. Maybe there's a micro version out there. I haven't seen it... I used to use gyros to shoot out of helicopters at very low altitudes (non Steadicam related) and there's no way I could have hand-held that setup for more than a couple minutes.

So on and so forth...

There are quite a few software programs out there that do image stabilization these days, the easiest for you to learn is After Effects. It will (Realistically) eliminate somewhere in the range of 5% of camera shake. There's better stuff out there, but it's going to be too expensive/complex for you to realistically use
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#11 Gary McNamee

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 01:15 PM

YIKES!

So it seems my guess of equipment is perhaps going in the wrong direction. I think perhaps I should ask the original question again. Would anyone care to share, best guess, how the 2 attached videos were made? What equipment?





Some of these shots were clearly on foot as well as in a vehicle. Could this type of quality and stability be attained with just a Steadicam and post production software?

Sorry to beat this to death.
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#12 Bryant Swanstrom

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 06:01 PM

YIKES!

So it seems my guess of equipment is perhaps going in the wrong direction. I think perhaps I should ask the original question again. Would anyone care to share, best guess, how the 2 attached videos were made? What equipment?





Some of these shots were clearly on foot as well as in a vehicle. Could this type of quality and stability be attained with just a Steadicam and post production software?

Sorry to beat this to death.



So smooth it looks fake which a couple of clips in the second link do look fake. My guess is it is a very good operator with years of experience, with a $50,000+ rig, along with help in post.

Edited by Bryant Swanstrom, 07 September 2010 - 06:02 PM.

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#13 Charles Papert

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 06:22 PM

I'd agree that these were augmented with stabilization software. I'd actually eliminate the idea of a full-size rig as several of those shots had to have been body-mounted but moving at speeds that would be unfeasible to maintain on a large rig.

I would suggest a good small format camera on a Pilot or Flyer (maybe a 5D with the Tokina 11-16) combined with a late-model software stabilizer. There seem to be more and more of these showing up and the demos continue to amaze.
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#14 Gary McNamee

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 06:37 PM

I'm not sure about the "fake" part Bryant but as I'm a noob to all this, I have to trust you would know. I know my standards are WAY different (aka lower) compared to pros who's work I've seen on this board. Still, as a laymen, I thought the work on the 2nd link was amazing!

My effort is a work in progress and I'm doing more research but I believe I had an epiphany of sorts yesterday at a friend's lab here in Cambridge (which I've been able to sporadically back up) as to getting the footage I need. It's unconventional and outside the box but if it works, I don't really care.

THANK-YOU for your feedback !!!!

Gary
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#15 Gary McNamee

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 06:45 PM

Thank you for the feedback Charles! I will research your suggestions. Here is another pretty cool video of the type of videos I hope to be able to pull off in a different fashion as a training tool:



I find it ironic, even dismissive about running with a rig for miles over hill and dale even for a full marathon (VERY small camera) a non issue...but trying to master what most on this board do every day an almost insurmountable challenge!

Gary
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