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Whip-pans, why no end stops?


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#1 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 09:42 AM

Often when you have to do really fast whip-pans, for instance of a car driving by very fast close to the lens, or an action that ends in a reveal (often horror) you depend on the end framing to be precise. On whip-pans you always overshoot unless you have some kind of restraining device, at least on fluid heads. Often one ties a rope to the bar of the head or find some other way of preventing you to overshoot your end position.

But what has always puzzled me is why couldn't the fluid head-, or geared head-, manufacturers simply have built in a manual end stop that you could set? It would be a no-brainer and so much more quick than going through the whole rigmarole of tying ropes and whatnot to pan bars.

Has there ever been such a device? And what do you do when you need to get a precise end frame after a whip-pan?
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#2 Michael Most

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 10:36 AM

Has there ever been such a device? And what do you do when you need to get a precise end frame after a whip-pan?


Yes, there is. Hot Gears. You can set end stops in all four directions, and it's a damped slowdown when you get to the preset end stop. I highly recommend it.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 11:00 AM

Yes, there is. Hot Gears. You can set end stops in all four directions, and it's a damped slowdown when you get to the preset end stop. I highly recommend it.


Hot Gears is designed for a geared head I believe.

I don't think there is a device to make a stop mark on a fluid head, other than having someone turn the lock knob for you at the right moment, use a rope, c-stand arm blocking the pan, etc.
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#4 G McMahon

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 11:37 AM

Firstly, I chinograph the head, so I know where my start and end marks are so I don?t need to get my preframe before every take. If I?m doing a whip pan to the right I position my hip so my fist on the pan handle smacks in to my hip at the position where I need to end up. More difficult the other way, to get someone to stand there for you. Even more difficult if you?re panning and tilting. I always ask to do the first take a little wider than desired so they have a safety.

I think it helps me to shoot blind, without looking through the finder (ensure you tape the eye piece if shooting film). And also the comfortable body position should be at the end of the pan. Hope I?m not telling you stuff you already know.
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#5 Bob Hayes

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 12:03 PM

After some amount of practice the whip pan to good specific composition becomes second nature. How does the violinist know where to put her fingers on the violin? Wouldn't it help her if there were marks on the neck of the violin? Well, after thousands of hours of practice she's got a pretty good idea where they are.

It helps to line up the end shot so your body is most comfortable here. Then wind up and set for the start of the shot. Your body will start to remember where it is going. It's fun and can be kind of scary. If you are shooting a lot you can just nail extremely complicated moves.
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#6 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 08:43 PM

Some Satchler's head have a stop end. But they don't suit for 35 mm work. On a Panahead or Arrihead, or waroll etc. (How do you call this "wheels" heads in english ?) it's easier to stop a t a precise position...
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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 07:10 AM

Hi,

I have to say I'm very impatient with the "you should be able to do it without" attitude.

Yes you should, but you'll still blow one take in three on a tricky one.

Pursuance of a purer artform is fine but at the end of the day it's a business and it's about repeatability and results. If you want to show off how great you are at hitting the end of whip pans, set up the Whip Pan Display Team and go do it at public events. I'm not sure how well you'd do.

Phil
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 12:08 PM

It's just the nature of a fluid head -- the momentum of a heavy camera that is moving, after you've overcome its inertia, means that it will not easily stop on a dime, especially with a 35mm camera. You'd have to design a fluid head that was so big & heavy to overcome the camera's momentum that it wouldn't be worth the bother.

And if you're talkin about whip-pans, that's a lot of momentum to overcome. This is just basic Newtonian laws of motion here. At least with a geared head, the gears have an easier time overcoming all that weight being slung around and you can stop a gear on a dime without slop. The difficulty with a geared head is getting it to whip pan without having to disengage the gears.

Nowadays with digital editing, I almost think it would be better to shoot a reasonably fast pan on a geared head with a perfect stop and then speed up the pan in post to make it more of a whipping effect IF ending at a perfect point each time is essential (some sloppiness in whip-panning can be justified sometimes.)
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#9 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 02:38 PM

Since your talking of post-prod possibilities, David, on some shots, you can shoot from the end, meaning a quick start, that you turn into a quick stop in post, by a reverse speed process. It also is possible to shoot reverse with a film camera.
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#10 Hal Smith

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 02:58 PM

Helps to sandbag to bejesus out of the tripod. I just about dropped a camera on the ground before I learned that! :(
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Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Technodolly

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery

Glidecam

CineTape

The Slider

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