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walking motion (vertical bobbing) redux


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#1 Sam DeWitt

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 11:57 AM

I know this question has been asked and answered already in this forum, but the answers really seemed to cancel each other out as far as "advice" goes.
I am, without doubt, a newbie, and I understand that practice is the main thing that I am lacking, but I still feel like I have a really hard time eliminating vertical bobbing when I am walking "missionary" with my Merlin.

I have seen footage that others have posted on youtube and elswhere that they say they shot within 3 hours of getting their Merlin, and it has that "flight" feel that I am looking for.
With my footage, I seem to always get a bit of this vertical bobbing that totally blows the effect for me, and is the only thing that I see, instead of whatever shot I was trying to get.

The last time this was asked it seemed that a lot of people at first said that it was important to take smaller steps and walk with a rolling heel to toe action. Others then said that no, this was exactly wrong, and that a good operator should be able to walk normally and achieve great results.

So between practicing with the Merlin, walking with glasses of water, trying smaller steps, trying tensing my arms, trying relaxing my arms, trying to walk with ann egg on a spoon......on and on, I thought I would take a chance and see if I can open this discussion up again.

thanks so much

Sam DeWitt
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#2 Afton Grant

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 01:33 PM

Hi Sam,

All advice that you mentioned and that has been mentioned here in the past is valid in one way or another. Each technique works differently for different people in different situations. The "right" thing to do is whatever is necessary to get a good looking shot.

A workshop is key to learning good technique, and un-learning bad technique. Take one if you can - you'll learn more in one week there than you could in a year on your own.

Until then, something small you might want to try is practicing with your camera/monitor off. Don't even worry about the shot yet as it seems like that is not your problem. Focus on your body. Find what is comfortable. You should be able to more easily identify problems if you're not concentrating on getting the perfect looking shot. Once you feel you're able to move yourself and the camera around in a comfortable and fluid manner, turn everything back on and see what happens.

Best of luck,
Afton
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#3 Sam DeWitt

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 01:55 PM

Thanks so much for the reply, and that is great advice. However the place that I came back from most frustrated was from walking around in Times Square where I was really paying more attention to my surroundings and how I was moving than to the viewfinder. I had a wide angle adapter on so I felt that, being magic hour in Times Square, that just walking about and not running into other folks would be sure to give me something decent, and indeed, if not for the bobbing, I would have some very satisfactory results.
I know that I must seem to be looking for the one magic answer that will solve this, and perhaps I am, but what I am really after is a path to start down to correcting this. While workshops sound great, it seems they are not given to groups of less than 9, and I can hardly spring for an individual workshop, and would feel sort of silly doing so to learn to walk the Merlin right in the most basic stance.

Anyway - whine, whine, whine, back to practicing.

Sam



Hi Sam,

All advice that you mentioned and that has been mentioned here in the past is valid in one way or another. Each technique works differently for different people in different situations. The "right" thing to do is whatever is necessary to get a good looking shot.

A workshop is key to learning good technique, and un-learning bad technique. Take one if you can - you'll learn more in one week there than you could in a year on your own.

Until then, something small you might want to try is practicing with your camera/monitor off. Don't even worry about the shot yet as it seems like that is not your problem. Focus on your body. Find what is comfortable. You should be able to more easily identify problems if you're not concentrating on getting the perfect looking shot. Once you feel you're able to move yourself and the camera around in a comfortable and fluid manner, turn everything back on and see what happens.

Best of luck,
Afton


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#4 Charles Papert

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 03:32 PM

Chances are that as a new operator you are probably dealing with unwanted movement in all axes, not just up and down.

Perhaps you can post some video which will help reveal the source of your concern.
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#5 Stephen Press

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 04:28 PM

One thought, maybe you have too much or not enough tension on your arm and are lifting or pushing with your hands instead of just guiding. When you stand with your hands off the rig does the sled sit naturally at the right height? Try some no hands flying just guiding with your hips.
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#6 Sam DeWitt

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 04:52 PM

Here is a link to one of the times square shots in question -

http://hv20.info/yopu/bobbing_02.mov


It is highly compressed, but still about 10 megs so give it a sec. to load in your browser.

If it does not load, try right clicking and saving to your drive.

Oh, and....THANKS for looking.

Sam





Chances are that as a new operator you are probably dealing with unwanted movement in all axes, not just up and down.

Perhaps you can post some video which will help reveal the source of your concern.


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#7 Sam DeWitt

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 04:55 PM

Thanks so much for your reply, but I have a feeling that you are refering to one of the "big rigs", this is a Merlin. There is no way (unless you add the arm and vest option) to fly it without your hands.

BTW - I keep reading about "drop time". What is this?

thanks again for everyones time on this, really.

Sam DeWitt
Obtuse

http://www.obtuse-ny.com



One thought, maybe you have too much or not enough tension on your arm and are lifting or pushing with your hands instead of just guiding. When you stand with your hands off the rig does the sled sit naturally at the right height? Try some no hands flying just guiding with your hips.


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#8 Charles Papert

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 05:54 PM

[quote name='Sam DeWitt' date='Sep 1 2007, 02:55 PM' post='29817']BTW - I keep reading about "drop time". What is this?http://www.obtuse-ny.com

p. 23 of yor manual.

Well, the video is showing exactly what you describe. Everything else looks pretty good. What camera are you flying?
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#9 Sam DeWitt

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 06:01 PM

It is just a little Canon HV20 with a wide angle adapter on it. Weighs about 1.5 pounds with the lens.

I am away from my house for the weekend, which is where the manual is, so I will have to wait 'till I get back to read that page you refered to in the manual.


Thanks.

Sam




Well, the video is showing exactly what you describe. Everything else looks pretty good. What camera are you flying?
[/quote]
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#10 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 07:37 PM

[quote name='Sam DeWitt' date='Sep 1 2007, 04:01 PM' post='29819']
It is just a little Canon HV20 with a wide angle adapter on it. Weighs about 1.5 pounds with the lens.

I am away from my house for the weekend, which is where the manual is, so I will have to wait 'till I get back to read that page you refered to in the manual.


Thanks.

Sam

Hey Sam,
The Merlin is tuff to get right . . . . .Heal to toe walking is Key with that rig and you may want to add some weight to your camera to sout your movements a little . . . .and if all else fails learn to use those heely shoes . . .LOL . .

Good Luck
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#11 Stephen Press

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 12:12 AM

My bad thought you meant something like this.
Posted Image

I think it sounds like more weight is the right way to go.
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#12 Sam DeWitt

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 08:03 AM

Do you mean more counterweights?

I think you mean to just somehow add weight to the camera area, though I am not sure how I would go about that without something jerry rigged.

Thanks for all the help you guys are lending.

Sam



I think it sounds like more weight is the right way to go.
[/quote]
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#13 Charles Papert

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 11:43 AM

I agree with Stephen, more weight up top (which will require more counterweighting or at least extening the arc) which will increase the inertia of the Merlin.

I also have an HV20 and find it too light for the Merlin, in that it is not nearly as stable as a camera even a few pounds heavier. The wide angle should help, but you could use another lb or so. I would recommend adding this quick-release adaptor, which is probably the right amount of weight and you can use it elsewhere that you might need a quick-release. The Merlin has an ingenious system for that already of course.

A bit more bulk will help "deaden" the weight on your arm which should prevent much of the bobbing. Still, you'll want to practice getting the technique down of floating the camera with your arm. If you have a wall in or around your home that has a defined horizontal line on it (say, a cinderblock wall or exterior fence), walk right alongside it and focus your energy on keeping that line in the same place in the frame. The bobbing will become more exaggerated with a foreground like this.

Here is a test video I did with the HV20 and Merlin (I believe I also had the Canon wide angle onboard). You'll see that there is substantially less bobbing, although a little bit is evident as I am walking around the back of the house. More of my concern was the extraneous axial movement (roll, pan etc) but I discovered that adding a little weight made the the Merlin much "happier". I have a feeling that the new metal gimbal will improve the results even with a featherweight camera like the HV20 also.
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#14 Sam DeWitt

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 01:04 PM

Wow! Thanks so much for this info. I am going to try it out. When I get back to the city I am going up to B&H to get the plate.

Without sounding like tooting my own horn too much, I had somehow figured out that idea of walking along a strong horizontal, I have been practicing along the wainscoting in a hallway where I am right now. It does indeed show how much difficulty I am having getting this motion under control.

The fact thatt an operator as great as yourself (your reel is absoultely killer!) can still get a little bobbing going on makes me feel a little better, and I think I am going to still practice as much as I can with the camera without the added weight, as it seems that it will only be easier once I add the weight, no?

Lastly, in another attempt to reamin as lazy as possible, do you happen to know the configuration for the HV20 with this added weight as far as stage postion, weights, caliper openings?

I really appreciate all you help, and am humbled that someone who has persevered through working with Tony Kaye has deemed to give me advice with my little video cam problem.

Thanks again.

Sam



I agree with Stephen, more weight up top (which will require more counterweighting or at least extening the arc) which will increase the inertia of the Merlin.

I also have an HV20 and find it too light for the Merlin, in that it is not nearly as stable as a camera even a few pounds heavier. The wide angle should help, but you could use another lb or so. I would recommend adding this quick-release adaptor, which is probably the right amount of weight and you can use it elsewhere that you might need a quick-release. The Merlin has an ingenious system for that already of course.

A bit more bulk will help "deaden" the weight on your arm which should prevent much of the bobbing. Still, you'll want to practice getting the technique down of floating the camera with your arm. If you have a wall in or around your home that has a defined horizontal line on it (say, a cinderblock wall or exterior fence), walk right alongside it and focus your energy on keeping that line in the same place in the frame. The bobbing will become more exaggerated with a foreground like this.

Here is a test video I did with the HV20 and Merlin (I believe I also had the Canon wide angle onboard). You'll see that there is substantially less bobbing, although a little bit is evident as I am walking around the back of the house. More of my concern was the extraneous axial movement (roll, pan etc) but I discovered that adding a little weight made the the Merlin much "happier". I have a feeling that the new metal gimbal will improve the results even with a featherweight camera like the HV20 also.


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#15 Charles Papert

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 01:23 PM

Without sounding like tooting my own horn too much, I had somehow figured out that idea of walking along a strong horizontal, I have been practicing along the wainscoting in a hallway where I am right now. It does indeed show how much difficulty I am having getting this motion under control.


Good, keep that up. It wil no doubt improve quickly then.

The fact thatt an operator as great as yourself (your reel is absoultely killer!) can still get a little bobbing going on makes me feel a little better, and I think I am going to still practice as much as I can with the camera without the added weight, as it seems that it will only be easier once I add the weight, no?


It will indeed get easier to control. I'm not afraid to reveal my shortcomings with the Merlin (it's not exactly the same skill as the big rig) as I don't use it that much, but it is fun! I think my gimbal may be a little funky though, it felt to me like I was fighting some friction when I did that shot thus I am aiming my sights at replacing it with the metal one.

Lastly, in another attempt to reamin as lazy as possible, do you happen to know the configuration for the HV20 with this added weight as far as stage postion, weights, caliper openings?


Nice try! I'm going to encourage you as part of your practice regimen to use this as an opportuinty to get dialed in on the various combinations and permutations of balancing from scratch. One day you'll have to add an accessory while in the middle of the shoot, and you'll thank me! Besides, "cookbooks" are for wussies...!

someone who has persevered through working with Tony Kaye


I've had worse, but never stranger...
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