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Geared head "whip pan"


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#1 Glenn Hanns

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 09:11 PM

Hi,
Ive got a shoot coming up as operator on a G2 with morphs that requires allot of whip pans on a geared head. Now, I can use a geared head well enough but do you think it would be easier to switch to fluid for the pans or is there some technique to be able to do successful whip pans on a Panahead without having to switch back and forth. Id like to get my time up on a geared head so Id prefer to stick with it.
Cheers, G.
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 11:52 PM

Switch to a fluid head. You can go pretty quick when a gearhead is out of gear but stopping at the end is the tricky part. There's so much mass that there would be a significant ramp-up and slow-down time to the pans that will make them look slow and lumbering, definately not what you want for swish pans.
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#3 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 07:37 AM

Sorry Chris, but I have to disagree.
I'll qualify my statement by first saying that I've never had to do whip pan's with a geared head.....but I've seen it done, and done well.
I've seen an operator do it very effectively by spinning the pan wheel very quickly and taking his hand off of it and then just putting his hand back on the wheel to stop it where he wanted. He's been operating for a long time and I'm sure it's taken him years to perfect, but it worked great....probably even better than with a fluid head because he didn't have to worry about screwing up the tilt at all, and there is no funky correction at the end of the move. I believe he was also exerting force with the hand that was on the pan wheel to keep the speed consistent.
Again, I've never done this kind of shot with a geared head, but it's basically the same principal that people use when doing whip pans on steadicam (which I've done a lot). You start the move with a quick motion and then release the pressure until you want to stop it. It's a bit more complicated with steadicam, but it works great (with a lot of practice), so it technically should be easier with a geared head since you don't have to worry about horizon or backlash like you do with steadicam.
Does any of that may ANY sense? If not, let me know and I'll try to be clearer.
I was going to move this to a more appropriate forum, since the camera assistants forum isn't really the right place for it, but I don't know where to put it. I think maybe we need an "operating" forum. Thoughts?
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#4 Max Jacoby

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 08:17 AM

How about putting the pan gear into neutral and grabbing the camera and head and doing the whip pan 'manually'?
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#5 Chris Keth

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 01:04 PM

Sorry Chris, but I have to disagree.


Don't apologize for disagreeing :P My opinion comes from only a half-practical stance. I'm only "adequate" with a gearhead. :P
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#6 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 03:31 PM

Having just tried it on my old Worrall head, I'd say it can be done. If you're not too wide, and in top gear, then with practice it's possible
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#7 Glenn Hanns

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 03:45 PM

How about putting the pan gear into neutral and grabbing the camera and head and doing the whip pan 'manually'?


I thought this was a good way of doing it, I just didnt want to look like a goose infront of everyone on set. I think this method would work well for wider shots on the panahead with tighter whips being done with the wheels. I have a mini worrell to practice with for 2 weeks so Ill try your suggestions.
Thanks G.
:)
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#8 Glenn Hanns

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 03:59 PM

I was going to move this to a more appropriate forum, since the camera assistants forum isn't really the right place for it, but I don't know where to put it. I think maybe we need an "operating" forum. Thoughts?


I agree we do need a separate forum called "operators", theres a big hole between Assist. and DPs roles.
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#9 John Sprung

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 08:15 PM

How about putting the pan gear into neutral and grabbing the camera and head and doing the whip pan 'manually'?

That should work provided that the whip is the only pan you're doing -- or if you can have your 2nd. push the shifter to neutral at the appropriate point in the shot. On my old Worrall it would be kind of a trick to steady both wheels with the left hand while finding and working the shift with the right.

That's figuring that the whip is a transition, and you don't have to hit a usable frame at the end of it. If you do, another good trick is to cut if it lands wrong, and pick it up again from the start of the whip. You can always hide a 4-6 frame dissolve in the whip pan. You could even set different exposures for before and after the whip.



-- J.S.
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#10 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 12:04 PM

The problem with putting the head into neutral is the stop. Just like with a fluid head, you may have some backlash at the end of the pan. If you do it by spinning the pan wheel you can stop the pan perfectly by just stopping the wheel. The move may be a bit tougher to do this way, but in the end it will be more precise I think.
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#11 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 02:48 PM

Maybe try this: http://www.hotgears.com/
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#12 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 11:21 PM

Maybe try this: http://www.hotgears.com/

Hotgears are probably a good idea. I think you can set an end mark for the pan, so you could just spin the wheel and let it stop at it's mark. The only issue is if you have to operate after the whip pan. If the shot needs to pan past the original mark farther into the shot, that could be a problem. Although maybe after the pan the original mark could be removed....but I haven't tried this with Hotgears, so I'm not sure if it's possible.
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#13 Simon Miya

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 11:44 PM

Is there a reason not to just switch to a fluid head? What is the rest of the shot?

I see operators switch to fluid heads all the time for just this reason. Don't make it more complicated than it has to be. Unless there is a good reason not to, just switch. That's why the package has two heads, after all.
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#14 Glenn Hanns

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 12:00 AM

Is there a reason not to just switch to a fluid head? What is the rest of the shot?

I see operators switch to fluid heads all the time for just this reason. Don't make it more complicated than it has to be. Unless there is a good reason not to, just switch. That's why the package has two heads, after all.


I would if it was one shot, but its every 5th shot and its on a G2 with primo anamorphics so id like to have something smooth as well as the fact that getting time up on a geared head is a good thing to do.
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#15 Simon Miya

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 09:57 AM

I would if it was one shot, but its every 5th shot and its on a G2 with primo anamorphics so id like to have something smooth as well as the fact that getting time up on a geared head is a good thing to do.


As far as changing heads back and forth, that's what assistants are for (take it from one - we don't mind, it's our job).

Don't compromise any takes because you want more practice on the wheels - if you mess up the one take that an actor or the director loves, it won't be worth it. ;)
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#16 John Sprung

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 01:41 PM

It may be your job to change heads, but if the whole show waits while you do it, that gets expensive.



-- J.S.
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#17 Simon Miya

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 02:43 PM

It may be your job to change heads, but if the whole show waits while you do it, that gets expensive.
-- J.S.


Unless the operator waits until the AD yells rolling to request the change, then nobody will be waiting. An on-top-of-it camera crew can change heads faster than hair/makeup does their final touches - especially if they know ahead of time that it is a possibility.

Wait and see what happens when the operator blows a camera move on an otherwise printable take and everybody has to do it all over again - I wager the overall delay will be much greater, and I know the expense will be. The expense of changing heads (free) is far cheaper than that of a blown take on film.

The bottom line is to use the right head for the shot. An O'Connor 2575 is still smooth with weight, if it is not then adjust the fluid drag and counterbalance. I still haven't read a good reason to not change heads for this shot. A slow camera crew would not be a good reason, especially when that concern is voiced before they are even hired.
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#18 Matt Kelly

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 07:56 PM

Late response to this topic, but i noticed no one mentioned the Panahead's pan/tilt handles.. they usually dont include them in the package for whatever reason, but you can get them for that purpose.
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#19 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 09:51 PM

I just saw the thread as well. A few weeks ago I was doing some whip pans on an Arrihead, just put it into neutral and used the pan handles. I hate fluid heads for the most part, though I always carry one just in case. The nice thing about doing it with a gear head is the tilt control is much cleaner during the pan. I also played with what Brad suggested, worked great as well, but I needed more speed, so neutral with the handle was what I used.

Kevin Zanit
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#20 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 04:45 AM

Hmm, I've never seen or heard of pan/tilt handles for a Panahead. Do they go out with every head, or just on request? I'll have to try them out some time.
Are there similar handles for an Arrihead?
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