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tips for car shooting with no car mount


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#1 Matteo Quagliano

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 04:17 PM

Hi all,

I'm on a shot with very fast sport cars, I already did some with normal cars I was with a rope under my arms (not too tight) linked to the van with the back door open. It was ok but the speed was not so exagerate... What if they want to go fast? And more important, some ideas about different shots? A part the obviuos from top, down and two sides and some zoom...?

thanks for help if it comes, it's for CA channel, may be some of you know them... WATV

my best

matteo
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#2 Jon Beattie

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 07:01 PM

I would not go any faster than 30mph while soft mount. No matter what. Hard mount with a safety line you can go a little faster. It is dangerous remeber production will always say "go faster, go faster''. But you really need to think about what can go wrong.
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#3 Jaron Berman

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 08:44 PM

I know I'm not the authority on this, but reading that description made me cringe! Honestly, it sounds like a recipe for disaster. We all get swept up in the idea that we HAVE to do everything we're told, we have to REALLY impress everyone with our work ethic and stunning good looks... but this is your life you're talking about here. If they want to go faster, and you're not comfortable with the situation, SCREAM no! If they give you the "we can just find someone else who will do it," then that's fine, walk away. But I can't think of any shot that's worth falling out the back of a car for.

I recall Peter Abraham describing a car commercial he shot on the back of an ATV hard-mounted. Perhaps he could fill in the details, but needless to say they went faster and closer on the actual take, and he had taken a lot of precaution to describe to the stunt driver how to do it safely and the trust necessary for such a dangerous move. But soft-mounted? EESH! Not a chance.

Steadicam isn't the tool for every shot, and if someone wants to cut corners and cost by strapping you in improperly and risking your life for their vision, you need to say something. 30mph is WAY too much in my opinion to soft mount. I'll ride a dolly soft, but even then the hard mount is safer (and less fatiguing on you, allowing you to make better shots). As for angles, that's a creative decision... but personally it sounds like the kind of shot for an ultimate arm, or at least a proper camera car. Another advantage with a camera car is that they generally force you to use their own experienced drivers who have done this sort of thing before and may have some input on how to do it safely and get the most out of their time.
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#4 Amando Crespo

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 09:34 PM

Hi all,

I'm on a shot with very fast sport cars, I already did some with normal cars I was with a rope under my arms (not too tight) linked to the van with the back door open. It was ok but the speed was not so exagerate... What if they want to go fast? And more important, some ideas about different shots? A part the obviuos from top, down and two sides and some zoom...?

thanks for help if it comes, it's for CA channel, may be some of you know them... WATV

my best

matteo

Hi Matteo.... I only can said that you must shot safe.... security arness... put the pin in your gimbal.... cable for strong extend of your arm... and protect your face... It´s good to have a point for your feeds. When you was stoped try all security belts, think about the big inertial in movement.... Have tolk-back with driver...and enjoy
Nice job man
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#5 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 10:26 PM

Hummm.... Let me chime in here.

First, it sounds like (correct me if I'm wrong) your ass is inside the van and the rope is preventing you from going any closer to the door? If that's the case and assuming the rope is tied off correctly (so you can't slip under it), the biggest danger you face is your but going out from under you and the rig falling on your face or (again it depends on how the rope is tied) you falling to the side and again having the rig fall on top of you. Not the safest thing in the world but it doesn't sound like your going to get run over by a car.

Now, lets say the driver of the van (I'm hoping it's not a PA) slams on the brakes. Is there anything that will keep you from tumbling toward the front of the van (while being pounded by your rig)?

Here's the thing, I don't want to beat the safety issue up but there are a few things you can do to make it "safer".

First, I'd recommend the key grip (if there is no precision driver type available) drive the vehicle. They tend to (but are not always) a little more on the ball with driving safety.

Next, I'd get a proper harness. I use a 5 point, full body harness (just google 'full body harness' and you'll get millions of them). But, just wearing the harness is not enough; you need to be picked in AT LEAST 2 points (5 points is good especially for high speed work).

Finally, as mentioned above, a hard mount (the Walter Klassen is the one I use) is a much safer better way to shoot. In addition to being safer and less painful, you will get much better shots.

As for better shots, the set up it sounds like you have is not ideal. The best suggestion I can make is to operate in low mode. I used to find (before I cam up with the Hypercam) that having the camera in low mode and keeping my hand on the same side of the gimbal the camera is on gave me a bit more control over the inertia issues. You also might like it a bit bottom heavy but you'll have to feel it out.

Finally, if you are in fact shooting straight out the back anyway, you might suggest just putting the camera on a hi-hat and a head. You can still pan left and right, the slight bounce you get from the road is probably no worse than the slight horizon loss you get when the vehicle turns and unless the picture car is super close, I can't see much advantage in booming up and down. It just doesn't seem your using the right tool for the job.

I attached a few pictures of me working with my rig. Now I'm going a lot faster and in much more extreme conditions (see 130mph, 6 inches from the ground or 4 wheels off the ground off road) but I've got all the parts that make it safe. In addition to being safer, it allows me to make better shots and have more control over the entire situation.


img src="http://i301.photobuc...ar/DSC00215.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

img src="http://i301.photobuc...ar/DSCF1234.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

img src="http://i301.photobuc...ar/Mike0002.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

img src="http://i301.photobuc.../Hpercamxxv.jpg" border="0" alt="Mike and Artie"></a>

*Note that when I do any type of extreme moving vehicle work, I only work with a very small group of people that have shown over many years the competence and ability to do the job safely. In most cases, if I was asked to work with people I did not know, I would flat out refuse the job.

Edited by Mike McGowan SOC, 19 August 2008 - 10:35 PM.

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#6 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 10:41 PM

^^I went to edit my post and couldn't, what gives?
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#7 Jon Beattie

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 09:06 AM

Very cool stuff Mike. I really like the bike handle grips you have on the mounting plate. Smart way to save your hand and make things more comfertable.

I also like the photo of you in helmet and the driver wearing none, smart.
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#8 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 02:23 PM

Matteo,
Grip people and a harness are your friends when it comes to this stuff, not directors and producers wishes . . . .

If you think it may be questionably unsafe it probably is . . .!

I agree with Mike the shot becomes more exaggerated when in low mode

As for you Mike . . . .sick shot of you behind the F-1 car or whatever that car is, that's crazy at 130mph on a cycle and side car, Hope you kept your mouth closed . . .LOL . . .
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#9 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 04:03 PM

LOL, tnx........ I wish I had the really cool photo that could have been taken that day.

We had done many laps shooting from the back, side and front. We were finishing with the front stuff and after each set of laps the director would ask us if we could get closer.

I have a great relationship with the motorcycle driver so I asked him how comfortable he was and he said it was pretty much up to the race car driver. So I talk to the race car driver (who's all of like 25) and say, how close do you feel comfortable getting. He tells me he can get as close as I want. So I show him like 4' from the camera and tell him he can go there. We do another lap and the director wants us closer still. So I check again the driver (who at this point is obviously totally on the ball) tells me again he can get as close as I want. So I show him 2' from the camera and tell him to watch my hand and I would give him the 'a little closer' or the 'back off' sign with my fingers. Off we go...

So he is cruising between 6' and 2' from the lens and I decide to bring him in a bit closer. At this point he is feeling pretty comfortable with me and my driver so he follows my hand signal and comes right up to the lens then backs off. I figure I might as well push it because we all feel safe and it looks cool as hell. I give him another come and get it hand signal but this time I put a touch of "don?t be a pussy" in the hand signal. He backs off to about 10 feet then quickly comes up and touches my left hand, backs off and then touches my right hand with the nose of the car. As you might expect, the kid can drive.

I love it so much that I give him one more go at it. This time, as he comes in, I boom up and the nose of the car drives under me. I'm hanging over the front of the race car with the lens about 5 feet from the drivers face while we fly around the track at a buck thirty. I really wish somebody had been taking pictures then!

They liked the shot so much they actually use it in one piece at the end of the commercial, only going into gfx as we get the reflection in the drivers face mask.

***NOW KEEP IN MIND*** anybody that is reading this and thinking it sounds like a good idea, We had a closed race track, a flawlessly maintained race car, a flawlessly maintained camera bike, a professional race car driver, a very experienced stunt driver (driving the motorcycle), all the time in the world, all the proper rigging and safety equipment and had worked up to that speed over about 20 or 30 jobs doing similar work. Even with all that, it was still dangerous.
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#10 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 04:44 PM

F!@#$% Yaaaaa!

Great story . . . .I had a smile the whole time reading that . . . .Nice I wish you had the pictures as well . . !!

I guess my sky surfing picts suck now . . .LOL . . .

Keep up the great work

Fly Safe
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#11 Matteo Quagliano

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 04:58 PM

Hi all,
first of all thank you for your help. A lot.
Amando, do you mean a little rope that can hold the sled of going too out? Well... It's a great idea. thanks.
WOWWWWWWW Mike your shots are astonishing and the ones you describe even better, I've already saw your reel and pictures on your site... well no, I'm definitly not going to do anything similar.
I did a shot on a mountain road, quite empty, lot of curves but some nice 30mph stuff. In this next too I'll probably go not over that speed that all of you suggested me. In that first job I tried to follow Ted Churcill video's suggestions, with the rope under my arms...
I think I'll have two different shot positions, one from the back with the backdoor open, then from the side with open door too. Obvoiusly the driver is probably gonna be the PA, but I'll look for someone else more experienced, it's better.
Also thank you Mike and Amando for the body harness suggestion, didn't understand what's was till I go for a google search, I was used to climb years ago and we were using a similar but only half harness and I think it can does the job connected from two sides to the car... I'll have to go and check my old equipment, there were also ropes and rinvii (don't know english word, that two clips thing that you use to bring the rope up on a pre nailed way). What do you think?
Infact my first job was not that nice, there were some nice quick cuts but few good long solid takes.
The low mode is great too, it's pretty easy with my strange piece of equipment and I have to hold the jimble on that side anyway, willing or not...

Well, a big thank you all, very generous and kind (for the security issue)
again may be the best forum I ever attend, my compliment.

matteo
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#12 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 06:44 PM

So Mike. With that rig of yours can you tilt the camera as well as pan and boom? Got any more pictures of it?

~Jess
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#13 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 11:16 PM

Yes, tilts pans and dutches.... The way I have it set now, you can get like 20-30 degrees and the harder you push the more you get. It's basically a ball and socket joint (so it swivles 360) and a dampening system.

The whole thing is going through a re-design as we speak (its on generation 3 right now) and generation 4 should be super user friendly. I'll look for more pictures but my web site is also being re-built as we speak and there will be a link just for my Hypercam. It should have all the specks and pictures.

I've thought of selling it before (it's a pretty low tec piece of equipment to be honest) but it was never quite right. I think this generation will be a tool that many people could use. The thing with it is that it's not a very "anybody can use it" piece of gear. You really need to be comfortable straped to something going fast in directions other than the way your pointing. I'm sure some of you could make it work better than me but most of the other operators I've shown it to gave me that, "um, yea, ok, not for me, thanks" look when I showed it to them.

Maybe if I like the way the 4th generation comes out I'll have them make a few of them.
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#14 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 11:23 AM

You have me thinking about making something similar. Hope you don't mind. I am curious as to what you used for the joint itself and how exactly it functions.

~Jess
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#15 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 02:11 PM

You have me thinking about making something similar. Hope you don't mind. I am curious as to what you used for the joint itself and how exactly it functions.

~Jess


Hey Jess,
did you miss the part where Mike said he was making them . . .LOL . . . .Float the brother some cash . . .LOL . . .

Just bustin your balls . . .
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