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underwater housing one'er


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#1 matthew pearce

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 03:59 PM

I was recently asked about the possibility of mounting an underwater housing on a steadicam for a low mode shot that walks a swimmer through a building into a pool and then the camera "quick releases" off the rig into the hands of the underwater operator who finishes the shot.

Obviously there are many reasons that I didnt think this shot could be done safely, technicaly and smoothly enough to do as a one'er but I figure I would check in to see if any one had any idea's on how to do this shot that I didnt come up with?

Issues discussed...

Weight- lots of lead in an already heavy housing.

Have to operate of a moniter attached to housing.

Large bulky housing compromising operating in low mode.

Low mode would have to be so low to get to the water.

Can you mount a quick release plate to the housing and or the rig?

If it is possible to mount QR plate could you safely release the camera while bottom floor low mode?

If you could safely release Camera would it be a smooth release or would it a tilt foreward then pick up release like lifting a camera off a dolly?

Trying to do all this next to or in water is a safety hazard for the operator and equipment.

Video assist?

Limited / no ability to pull focus.?


In short I told them to do it in cuts but they are currently sold on the one'er concept.
Yes its a student film so re-inventing the wheel has appeal.

Just wanted to see if there was an obvious solution that I may have missed- i recommended hand held or doggy cam type hand held angle.

sorry if this should be in newbies.

cheers
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#2 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 04:20 PM

Have to operate of a moniter attached to housing.

Not necessarily. Most professional housings have video out ports to run video to the surface and/or an external monitor. It would work just fine but of course would need to be unplugged when going underwater. The other option would be to stick a video transmitter in the housing. Make sure it doesn't get too hot in there and throw some silica gel inside to make sure that the heat doesn't contribute to condensation.

Can you mount a quick release plate to the housing and or the rig?

There isn't anything stopping you, although it will take a bit of ingenuity.

If it is possible to mount QR plate could you safely release the camera while bottom floor low mode?

Think of it like a step off. If you can add weight to the sled before releasing the camera then there will be no problem. If you have a light enough camera setup you could easily manage the weight shift yourself. Im thinking HD lipstick cam in a housing recoding to a surface deck. The other thought I had was a some sort of bracket below the camera that someone could physically step on, then the camera slides out and the bracket is still attached to the sled. Does that make sense?

If you could safely release Camera would it be a smooth release or would it a tilt foreward then pick up release like lifting a camera off a dolly?

I think either would be possible, although you may have to custom build something.

Trying to do all this next to or in water is a safety hazard for the operator and equipment.

Yep! If you are going low mode that close to the water I would at the very least figure out how to protect the top stage from splashes, etc....

Someone in charge of safety who knows what they are doing is a must, and make sure that any and all power anywhere near the pool is on GFCIs......... I could go on and on and on.

Limited / no ability to pull focus.?

Rig a wireless follow focus completely inside the housing. I have used my bartech inside of a crash housing that was a thick aluminum tube with no problems, underwater housing shouldn't pose any either. Of course this will stop working once underwater.

In short I told them to do it in cuts but they are currently sold on the one'er concept.
Yes its a student film so re-inventing the wheel has appeal.

If doing it as a oner then make sure the housing has a dome port otherwise the transition will suck and it won't be worth not cutting.

Just wanted to see if there was an obvious solution that I may have missed- i recommended hand held or doggy cam type hand held angle.

Lots of obvious solutions, cutting, hydrascope, handheld, etc...

~Jess
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#3 Sydney Seeber

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 06:03 PM

Why not just shoot it with a jib or crane? I did notice the "Through a building" part, that would be very difficult with either a jib or crane... Coming from someone who's shot a lot of underwater video, that particular element seems like a rather inefficient use of steadicam... The hardest part really, would be the transition from air to water, as the camera/housing will go from being quite heavy to slightly negative bouyancy. That would be a tough trick to pull off... I think everything else you've mentioned there could be easily worked around... I don't know, maybe it'd work...

Edited by Sydney Seeber, 12 September 2008 - 06:06 PM.

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#4 thomas-english

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 02:57 AM

You often attach an underwater monitor to the housing. This would not need to be detached. Amphibico make some nice ones.

You don't HAVE to have a hard housing. You will probably end up only being able to afford a soft splash bag housing. This COULD be put in an extended low mode cage and a polly bag wrapping your whole rig. Do not have your rig powered and be very careful. The shot your probably after is a couple of feet deeper though and your steadicam will not be able to do that. The ballast to keep the camera in the water (due to the air in the housing) is going to be too heavy for your steadicam operators liking. I would recommend finding another way.
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#5 Reid Russell

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 05:54 PM

How is the swimmer getting into the pool? If he or she is diving your not going to have much time to quick release the camera and hand it off to an underwater operator who will then have to catch up to the swimmer. Hopefully it's not Michael Phelps. Not to mention having to keep the underwater operator and a water safety person clear of the shot.
Like others have mentioned before it may be easier to dip the lens of the steadicam shot into the water as the diver penetrates and pick it up with the underwater housing or splash bag entering the water at the same time. You will have a couple frames of distortion anyways on both shots that you can cut with.
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