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Steady shot from a motorcycle


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#1 Ale Reynoso

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 07:18 PM

Hi
I was watching a bicycle racing in tv, and the cameraman in front of the competitor was capable of really steady shots, like a close up of the man in front without any shaking.
From what I could see from an aerial camera he was travelling in a motorcycle, using a mini dv sized camera and I think there wasn´t anything hard mounted to the motorbike. I coudn´t notice anything like a usual stabilizer, like the steadicam jr.
I usually shot sailing competitions from a boat and we can´t use any stabilizator because of then wind caused from the boat speed.
Any idea of wich device could he had been using? It wasn´t hand held for shure.
Thak you
Alejandro
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#2 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 01:01 AM

It wasn´t hand held for shure.
Thak you
Alejandro

Hmm. I would have said handheld. I've seen these types of motorcycles before and there is normally just a seat pointing backwards for an operator to sit and operate handheld. I guess they could have some kind of stablizing head on there, but that would seem like overkill to me. How do you know that it definately wasn't handheld?
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#3 Lars.Erik

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 02:15 AM

Most likely some kind of gyro. They use this technique alot on cars and boats.

Edited by Lars.Erik, 30 March 2006 - 02:15 AM.

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#4 Robert Edge

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 04:13 PM

I usually shot sailing competitions from a boat and we can´t use any stabilizator because of then wind caused from the boat speed.


Alejandro,

What is your setup when you are shooting during competitions? Are you shooting from a rib or from a sailboat in competition and, if the latter, what size boats? What are you doing when the camera is in actual use about protecting it from spray? I'm thinking of shooting some 16mm footage in the English Channel (Solent, just off Southampton) this summer from an Etchells (a 30 foot open keelboat).

Sorry for this question in the midst of a discussion about motorcycles. It isn't often that one runs into a person who has experience filming sailboat races and I couldn't resist.
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#5 Ale Reynoso

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Posted 03 April 2006 - 01:19 PM

Hi
Thanks for all responses.
I´m asuring it wasn´t hand held beacuse the cameraman could do close ups with the stability of a steadicam while they were running at high speed (for a bicycle). The picture had the floating aspect of a stabilizator shot, without hard shakings.
I know the wind is a great issue with steadicam-like stabilizators, so I assumed, as you told, it could be some kind of gyro stabilized unit, but I don´t know if there are tiny ones for a dv camera (It wasn´t a full sized camera).
Of course I may be wrong and perhaps the guy was able to get this shots just hand held.

For the shooting of sailing competitions I´m tied with a harness to the front of an 8 meters semi-rigid boat (with flatable sides but with v shaped, hard bottom) powered by a 130 HP, four stroke Honda (the bigger the boat, the steadiest it gets).
I´m standing facing forward hooked to a rope fixed in two points in the front of the boat, describing a "V". I´m hooked in the lower part of that "V" with a windsurf style harness but wraping you around the shoulders too (different to a waist only harness). This lets you have both hands free. You absorb the boat shakings with your knees. The flatter the water, the fastest the boat can run while you´re shooting.
We use a Panasonic DVC-30 mini DV camera. It weights no more than 1.5 kilos, so it´seasy to handle even while runing, but I know in earliers days (of the production company I´m working for) the cameramen used this harness setup with bvw-300 betacams.
We had good results with this setup. We often can go from wide angle to mid telephoto and full zooming if the steadiness conditions are ok. For example with the camera boat stopped waiting for the race boats to turn a buoy.
We´ve covered every local race this way, from optimist to IMS, and even the volvo ocean race.
The boat driver must know very well the job you´re doing, and have in mind wich kind of shots you could be able to do in every condition. He is in charge of the background arrangement when you´re in movement.
To protect the camera from the spray we have a rain cover that covers entirely the camera and has a "long sleeve" in the lower part of the cover where you pass your hands through, so is almost impossible that the cam gets wet.
In emergencies we had used a plastic bag with the openig facing downwards (where you slide your hands to operate the camera), made two holes, one for the VF and the other for the lens, and sealed this holes with duct tape. You should carry a tissue in a dry pocket to wipe the lens when it gets wet.

I hope my english was clear and this could help you.
Thanks
Alejandro
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#6 Robert Edge

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Posted 03 April 2006 - 10:01 PM

Alejandro,

I am most obliged for your comments.

It is very cool that you have shot everything from Omptimist to Volvo.

I have used a still camera, unprotected, while crewing on an Etchells. It worked fine, but we had light winds and I only felt comfortable about it running downwind under spinnaker.

I want to do it this summer with a motion picture camera, but in a three man boat my primary obligation is to race, and running a camera, other than under spinnaker, won't really work.

I may be able to do it if I go out one day in a RIB. From a camera point of view, that has its own risks. Your comments about photographing from the vicinity of a racing buoy, where the RIBS with photographers tend to hang out, reminds me of something. A few years ago, I was crewing on a Dragon when one of guys called things a bit tight and we collided with the lead boat at the first mark. The photographer on the RIB at the mark got some great photos of the collision. That was fine, given that we were sailing 30 footers. I imagine that being on a RIB in an IMS race, at a buoy, is a much trickier proposition, requiring a really good driver.

You probably already know Beken, but if not check out www.beken.co.uk. Until 1975, they did all of their photos on glass plate. I've spent a bit of time in their archive, and I own a print, made from a plate shot in 1935, of the sloop known as the Bluenose. I have seen the camera that Mr. Beken used to take glass plate photographs from the deck of a boat (it is in the store, and shown on the website) and it raises interesting questions about technology. After 1975, Beken moved to Hasselblad, and it is my understanding that the firm is now shooting digital.

The other thing that I would suggest, if you haven't already seen it, is the film Wind. There was recently an article in American Cinematographer Magazine on the DVD that says that much of the sailing footage was shot onboard and handheld.

Thanks again for your response to my question, and good luck.
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#7 Ale Reynoso

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Posted 04 April 2006 - 09:24 PM

Hi (what´s your name? R?)

Thanks for the comments
I shot once on board during a race on a 29 feet IMS.
My work was only shooting and hadn´t crew work at all. I could shoot while sitting on the side. During the tacks and gybes I had to put the camera inside my jacket (it was hanging from my neck) and run to the other side while the ship rolled.
I an opportunity I almost slided in the side to the water. The wind was near 30 knots.
Only in a couples of time I had the chance to stand up and shoot holding the mast or in the front.We had good shots, specially in the start, with all the ships aligned to my side.
I was an exciting experience. I´d never raced in the sea before.

Thanks and good luck
Let me know how it was with your shooting
Alejandro
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#8 John Dann

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Posted 07 April 2006 - 08:24 AM

Hi
I was watching a bicycle racing in tv, and the cameraman in front of the competitor was capable of really steady shots, like a close up of the man in front without any shaking.
From what I could see from an aerial camera he was travelling in a motorcycle, using a mini dv sized camera and I think there wasn´t anything hard mounted to the motorbike. I coudn´t notice anything like a usual stabilizer, like the steadicam jr.
I usually shot sailing competitions from a boat and we can´t use any stabilizator because of then wind caused from the boat speed.
Any idea of wich device could he had been using? It wasn´t hand held for shure.
Thak you
Alejandro


Take a look at these platforms: jetski, skateboard, motorcycle, cranes, underater......
http://www.makohead.com
john
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#9 Ale Reynoso

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Posted 08 April 2006 - 09:32 AM

Hi
Nice stuff!
Thank you
What about the price?
I´ll let know to the production company I´m working for
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#10 Chris Keth

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 04:18 PM

It may not be what you're thinking of but check out this month's American Cinematographer. There's an article that details how one might film the Tour de France from a motorcycle with 65mm (yes, that's meant to be a 6) gear. ;)
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#11 Ale Reynoso

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 10:52 PM

Hi:
Thank you!
I´ll check it out

Best regards
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#12 John Dann

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 02:10 PM

Hi
Nice stuff!
Thank you
What about the price?
I´ll let know to the production company I´m working for

Rentals are $1000.00/day for a 7-day week, lower rates are available for extended uses.
thanx
john
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#13 Alex Wuijts

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 12:18 PM

I always see television camerapeople walking around with some kind of harnass which has a pole sticking out from the back, bending over the cameraman, with an elastic cord on which the camera hangs. I wouldn't know how much stability that would give on a motorcycle, but it could explain why you didn't see it from the aerial shot. Just an idea...
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#14 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 02:59 PM

I always see television camerapeople walking around with some kind of harnass which has a pole sticking out from the back, bending over the cameraman, with an elastic cord on which the camera hangs. I wouldn't know how much stability that would give on a motorcycle, but it could explain why you didn't see it from the aerial shot. Just an idea...

It's called an Easyrig, and it's very doubtful that it could have achieved the shots that the original poster described.
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#15 Lars.Erik

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Posted 22 April 2006 - 02:07 AM

I always see television camerapeople walking around with some kind of harnass which has a pole sticking out from the back, bending over the cameraman, with an elastic cord on which the camera hangs. I wouldn't know how much stability that would give on a motorcycle, but it could explain why you didn't see it from the aerial shot. Just an idea...



Easyrigs were not made as a gyro nor a steadicam. They will NOT give you those kind of pics. They're intention, and a good one at that, is to take some pressure of the camera operator's shoulder when filming handheld.
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#16 Alex Wuijts

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 10:51 AM

Easyrigs were not made as a gyro nor a steadicam. They will NOT give you those kind of pics.


What kind of pics? In understand ofcourse that it's not the same as some sort of stabilizer, but what made me post my reply was because the original poster said he "may be wrong and perhaps the guy was able to get this shots just hand held." Now i could be wrong, but i would believe an easyrig would provide more stability than the guys arm. Ofcourse i would be surprised if i was right, but i mentioned it anyway.

Edited by Alex Wuijts, 23 April 2006 - 10:51 AM.

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#17 Nick Bennett

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 02:56 AM

I shot some handheld for Sunseeker boats (boat to boat) out in a lumpy Poole Harbour, I used a Canon IS 2/3" video lens (x17 I think) the results were supprisingly stable, perhaps this is what may have been used on the cycle race?

Nick

Edited by Doco, 26 April 2006 - 02:57 AM.

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#18 Brad Smith

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 06:08 AM

G'day all. This is my first post but should chip in because I reckon I can explain this one. By way of introduction and explanation, I'm a eng/efp camera op in Australia (also a newbie steadicam op). I think the gear they are using is this

http://www.usa.canon...BII_intro.shtml

I've never used it myself but one of the other networks in sydney has one. BTW most cycling event are shot handheld from the pillion position on the back of a motorcycle. Motorcycle is the only vehicle small and fast enough to manouvre around the peleton.

Brad Smith.
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#19 Nick Bennett

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 01:05 PM

I was probably not clear enough with the description of the lens that I used but the suffix 'IS' stands for image stabilising, although I used a much older Canon where the IS function was an integral part of the lens rather than an attachment.

Nick
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#20 Brad Smith

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 01:52 AM

Sorry Nick I noticed that after I posted. Canon seem have the stabilised lense market cornered, alot of their technology from stills lenses has made it over to thier video stuff, or is it the other way around?

Brad.
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