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Bird's eye view - rigging


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#1 Marc Levy

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 04:55 PM

So I've got this shot: a Varicam needs to be approx 14' overhead (static), pointing straight down over a bathtub. The shower curtain will surround the tub and will surround the perimeter of the frame, so the rig needs to clear it (about 10'). This is the only shot like this in the shoot, so I do not want to rent a jib for it. I was thinking of rigging it with speed rail and a high hat on it's side. Any riggers got some ideas?

Thanks,
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#2 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 07:48 PM

So I've got this shot: a Varicam needs to be approx 14' overhead (static), pointing straight down over a bathtub. The shower curtain will surround the tub and will surround the perimeter of the frame, so the rig needs to clear it (about 10'). This is the only shot like this in the shoot, so I do not want to rent a jib for it. I was thinking of rigging it with speed rail and a high hat on it's side. Any riggers got some ideas?

Thanks,


Assuming it's a lock off, you could put scaffolding up on both sides of the tub and send a platform out between them. Naturally, you'll obviously need qualified Grips to safely erect such a thing and mount the camera. I'm thinking, though, that by the time your done working that puzzle out, you'd have been wishing that production had just sprung for the arm. The time you "waste/spend/invest" in building a contraption may overtake the money that was spent on renting an arm and getting it done quickly and safely. Money isn't the only commodity on a set afterall.

This just popped into my head. Probably a stupid idea, but it might be easier to mount a large mirror overhead at an angle so you could keep the camera closer to the ground where you could safely operate it. :unsure: Of course there are the same safety concerns when you hang anything overhead....

I'm interested in hearing more ideas too.....
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#3 dr_gonzo

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 08:46 PM

You can rent a jib arm for about 75 bucks a day....spend that small amount of extra cash and save yourself a couple of hours of rigging up something that might not be the safest thing for the camera to be on!

It will save you a shitload of time during production which is worth alot more than the small rental cost.
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#4 Shane Bartlett

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 09:15 PM

Sounds like a good idea. . .but I have seen mirrors explode seemingly without cause. Almost always it is due to cheap construction combined with extreme heat (from lighting) and/or pressure and gravity. I'm sure a good quality mirror can be mounted on a ceiling safely for the long-term, but I agree that the time and money spent doing that could have been better spent on an arm, without the anxiety that comes with having a large, heavy piece of glass suspended over your crew and talent.

I have also seen all manner of monstrously bad constructions that I like to call Lawsuits, all built to save money. Sometimes they work.

It comes down to responsibility. If you can't do everything possible to get the shot off safely, don't do the shot.

Not to say professional equipment doesn't fail, and not to say that DIY is always unsafe. But if the necessary and relatively safe equipment is stretching your budget, a professional carpenter/machinist/welder probably isn't part of the crew list, either. Wouldn't you, your crew, and your talent feel a whole lot better knowing that their lives weren't in the hands of some guy with a hammer, nails, and a bunch of suspect lumber?
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#5 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 06:59 PM

Assuming it's a lock off, you could put scaffolding up on both sides of the tub and send a platform out between them.

This is a good idea, although you may just be able to use ladders. You could build the rig on the ground and then carefully place it on top of two ladders. As long as you have the grips safety the rig while you shoot it should be fine. Of course, if you go this route you should consult a good key grip to make sure this rig can work safely. It would probably be quicker than using scaffolding.
Another suggestion would be to rent a stage that has built in catwalks above the stage and shoot from them. This might be pretty easy, but it depends on the stage you get.
Good luck.
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#6 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 07:26 PM

This is a good idea, although you may just be able to use ladders. You could build the rig on the ground and then carefully place it on top of two ladders. As long as you have the grips safety the rig while you shoot it should be fine. Of course, if you go this route you should consult a good key grip to make sure this rig can work safely. It would probably be quicker than using scaffolding.
Another suggestion would be to rent a stage that has built in catwalks above the stage and shoot from them. This might be pretty easy, but it depends on the stage you get.
Good luck.


Actually, ladders were my first thought, but on second thought, for the height he's looking for, I'm not sure that you could get two that size and even remotely do this safely. The platform that would have to bridge the two has to be extremely solid due to the weight of the camera/head/highhat + additional rigging and the person or persons who have to be up there to do it.

Way too risky.

The catwalk idea has merit, but aren't those built for specific sets then torn out?


What about building a minature shower?
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#7 Hal Smith

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Posted 10 September 2006 - 09:51 AM

If there's a good theatrical/live music rental place around you, see what they want to rent truss to build a bridge. A cross bridge built out of (4) 5' + 10' uprights, (4) right angle connectors, (4) 10' horizontals, and a cross connector (6 way cube) in the center built with at least 12" box truss would be easy to climb and strong. Most truss is 2" OD so speed rail fittings will clamp onto it for a tripod head mount. I rent from Toucan Lighting here in OKC from time to time, their rigging guys are knowledgeable and have kept me safe by renting me the correct gear. Hopefully you've got a source in their league.

A truss cross bridge will also give you a super selection of lighting angles. If you use theatrical C clamps rather than truss clamps to attach lights, cut up 2" sections of 2" PVC water pipe and slit out about a 1" slot lengthwise to make truss protectors, Toucan supplies them for free if you ask. Another thought, if you're on a finished floor, rent (4) matching base plates for the truss uprights to protect the floor, put carpet under the base plates.

PS: Just noticed you're in LA, call T2K in Burbank at (818) 557 0903, I've bought gear from them and they've treated me right.
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#8 dr_gonzo

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Posted 10 September 2006 - 11:10 AM

I will say it once again...

why waste all this time and money with rigging when you can rent a jib for the day on the cheap, set it up in ten minutes and save yourself a couple of hours that would be devoted to rigging and shoot it!!!!
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#9 Marc Levy

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Posted 10 September 2006 - 10:14 PM

Thanks for the excellent feedback. I think I will opt for the jib - it would take too many unavailable resources to rig something properly.
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#10 Rik Andino

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Posted 10 September 2006 - 11:06 PM

Money isn't the only commodity on a set afterall.


I like this quote...
It's something that many young producers and filmmakers don't understand...
But they all learn eventually...hopefully... :unsure:

Anyways if you don't really want to get a jib arm...
Which is the easiest and safest way to do the shot as most people have noted...

The easiest rigging job is to build a contraptraption that you rachetstap to a ladder...
I've done this once before in a low-budget shot.
Creating a sort of right angle which you can mount the camera on side
And the otherside is strap to the ladder (if you can understand my explanation)

I don't know how to explain it any better and don't have a picture off hand to show you...
But I'm sure if you talk to any grip with some experience they can probably make it...

It'll take some time to build so again if you want easiest solution get a jib.


Good Luck
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#11 Frank Barrera

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 08:35 AM

I ain't no grip but I believe that a standard jib arm will not get you that shot. You would also need some type of 2 axis head. Right?

F
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#12 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 09:54 AM

I ain't no grip but I believe that a standard jib arm will not get you that shot. You would also need some type of 2 axis head. Right?

F



Swiss jib arm should do it. I think that a Powerpod can point straight down, but it's been awhile since I've used one so I can't be sure. To go even cheaper, but adding to the level of difficulty, you could use a Weaver-Steadman. It would take a little guesswork and/or a 12 step to aim it correctly, but theoretically the shot could be done without a remote head. Of course, that's assuming it's a lockoff.

Fast, cheap, good: Pick two. :) We've all heard that before, but I think that the word "safe" should be squeezed in there somewhere too.
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#13 Christopher Wedding

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 11:26 AM

Well there's a 90 Degree Plate offered, usually a mitchell mount so your camera can point straight down. Then you don't need a complex jib. Can't be too much to rent on it's own (I normally see these come with a dolly package.)

Best,
Chris
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