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Shooting tall people


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#1 Robert Wall

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 12:14 PM

Yesterday I had to shoot a short studio segment for a TV variety show. It was very straight forward - walk and talk stuff in front of the host, albeit as he wound through and around cars.

He was very tall probably 6'4, I'm about 6 feet. I was shooting with a camera with an APS-C sized sensor using a 17mm lens, so about 27mm full frame equiv. I feel like my operational skills are not great going much past around 35mm ff equiv.

They wanted a bit of headroom, so I got about 3 feet in front of the host and trimmed the arm all the way up. Is this the right way to do this? It felt somewhat awkward with the arm all the way up. I wasn't sure if I should have used a longer lens and backed off a bunch.

Thanks for any advice.
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#2 Robert Wall

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 01:19 PM

Ok, duh, I realized now I should have lengthened the post both directions and rebalanced. This is why it's in newbies.
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#3 Richard James Lewis

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 01:44 PM

...or pop in a longer arm post.

At 5'8", just, the 8" and 12" are my best friends...

Rick.
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#4 Tomas Riuka

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 02:16 PM

the most interesting is when you have to shoot 2, one is 6ft2in, the other - 5ft5in :D
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#5 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 05:08 PM

Funny you should mention that...I had to do that just last week. Good times.
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#6 Janice Arthur

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 06:21 PM

Robert;

The difference of you, at 6' and the subject of 6'4" is not much.

By adjusting the arm up all the way you just made your back lift more and as you found out not comfortable.

I would have boomed up all the way and held the arm there while shooting. The additional small amount of tilt needed would have been "trimmed" in with the top stage by slightly moving the camera back an appropriate amount to find your headroom and airspace that they wanted.

In a rehearsal you would find your shot and then while holding the arm to the right height trim the top stage until you can find an exact location where your post hand is doing no/little work to hold it.

The addition of an adjustable arm post is also desireable and a trick I use all the time like the others suggested. I've shot NBA players with a long arm post and trimming the top stage and I'm mid 5 feet tall.

(I did the arm adjusting trick when I started too and was told my error too.)

Good luck.

JA
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#7 Jerry Holway

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 06:31 PM

Robert-

Longer arm posts and raising the socket block on the vest (if you can) are the easiest and cheapest ways to gain lens height. A longer rig works, but may not be very useful with a heavy camera.

Trimming the arm up somewhat - especially if is naturally "isoelastic" (PRO, Tiffen arms) or a heavily loaded IIIa type arm - is a good idea - i.e., letting it float higher than normal. But if you run out of boom room, the arm can't absorb vibrations anymore. (same goes for booming all the way down).

Jerry
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#8 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 10:49 AM

One more thought (for sort of a quick and easy fix) is to move a bit further away on a slightly longer lens and the amount of tilt required to get that head room is much less.
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#9 RonBaldwin

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 12:01 PM

Wear stilts. It has worked for Dave Chameides for years
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#10 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 02:03 PM

^^^lol, Bob Ulland had a pair of platform shoes made (I think they were 6 or 8 inches tall) as he was a shorter operator and he wanted to level the playing field so to speak.
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#11 Robert Wall

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 03:07 PM

Wow - I am flattered by all the responses to my very green question. But I feel less silly that my solution wasn't the "wrong" one - booming up.

As Jerry noted, I did basically lock (though I took care not to completely lock it up) the arm boomed all the way up, which made it so very little vibration was being absorbed anymore, which is less than ideal. It was a tiffen arm and I just increased the tension all the way up (well, 95% of the way up) so that the arm sat at the height I wanted without me holding it there - is this correct if you are in this situation and do not have a longer post? With the tension all the way up the arm is not doing much to help vibration at that point, obviously. In the future I should have looked at moving the socket up, though I am most of the way there already, and getting a longer arm post.

There was very little movement that I had to do, so the arm problem was minimized, and at the end of the day the producers were happy with the way it looked. However I was aware that there was probably something wrong with what I was doing.

Janice, it just felt very high - maybe as a result of how close I needed to stand to the man with a wide lens on.

Mike, that is what I was wondering if I should have done - though in the situation I felt I didn't have time to rebalance for a new lens.

What a wonderful resource this forum is - anytime any of you very experienced folks tire of visiting it because it seems like the same old issues keep coming up, please know that it is very valuable to the inexperienced that you are here, and it provides this amazing feeling knowing that I can reach folks like the people who commented here directly. Thanks so much to everybody who responded, especially Ron, because as we speak, I trying on all my wife's high heels in preparation for the next show.
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