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How do I film a grehound running?


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#1 Christopher Joyce

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 01:41 PM

Hi Guys,
I'm new around here, currently doing a higher diploma television production course in
ireland. I'm getting ready for a pitch and if successful it will be screened on
national t.v.

I plan to do a documentary on a very famous coursing greyhound named Master McGrath.
And for the pitch I'll be discussing the visual aspects of the preogramme.

Now I have a few visual ideas, but I was wondering would it be difficult to film a
greyhound running through a field. Obviously I mean to follow the greyhound as he
runs. I thought about using tracks or even putting the camera on the back of a
scooter. But does anyone have any other ideas or suggestions on this cos, greyhounds
run really fast!!

Thanks for any help..

Chris Joyce
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#2 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 03:30 PM

You could use an ATV or a motorcycle with a sidecar and mount the camera to it. If you have the money you could probably use a small arm with a stabilized head off the back of an ATV.
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#3 Tim Terner

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 03:50 PM

Well other than giving Tyson Gay a steadicam, perhaps its possible to have a few cameras scattered around the coursing field and a bullet cam somehow attached to the dog. The footage from the bullet cam could be intercut with what the cameras in the field fail to catch.
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#4 Marc Alucard

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 04:52 PM

If you go the motorized route plan on speeds around 65-70 KPH with off the line acceleration of a super bike.
Cheers,
Marc
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#5 Michael Nash

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 10:22 PM

You might look into a cablecam - type system like this. I've seen some cool shots following snowboarders on the X-Games and such.

I once camera operated a demo video for a stunt motorcyle rider who did all kinds of crazy stunts like wheelies while sitting on the handlebars, "skiing" behind the bike (steel plates on boots) and so on, all at very high speeds. We shot on a closed-down airport runway and over the course of several days chased the bike with everything we could think of -- a big-engined pickup truck, a Porsche 911, and finally a helicopter. The truck couldn't match the speed of the bike but got us some cool moving drive-by shots from the bed. The Porche did a little better, but our pole-cam configuration suffered too much wind vibration. The helicopter worked well, but it took multiple passes to get the timing right between the helicopter's approach and the bike's stunt (being on an airfield we could get as low as we liked). Speed was only part of the issue -- nothing, and I mean nothing man-operated could match the acceleration of a sportbike ridden by an experienced rider. We had to time all our vehicles to find a "sweet spot" in the middle of the runway where bike and camera were traveling the same speed.

Of course I wouldn't recommend chasing the dog with a helicopter!

Panning shots fared better when the camera was far from the subject. Up close and you have a hard time accelerating your pan fast enough as the subject passes, let alone pull focus accurately.
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#6 robert duke

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 11:02 PM

the ATV idea is a solid one for greyhounds, however some might be scared by the noise. you might check out http://www.doggicam....C...page&pid=10 doggicam systems. Superslide would get you some of the shots. you might also check out the electric offroad atv made by a grip in LA. It is electric and goes 45mph. It has been used out in nature with elephants so it probably wouldnt spook the dog. you might also think of attaching a lipstick camera to the "rabbit" at the dog track.

I will look for the name of the electric atv guy. I know the lovely people at Modern Studio equipment know him.
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#7 Michael Nash

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 12:01 AM

you might also think of attaching a lipstick camera to the "rabbit" at the dog track.


With a REALLY long cable? ;)

Seriously, that does sound like a good idea if you used a small enough self-contained camcorder. Vibration could be an issue, but it might end up looking cool.
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#8 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 01:38 AM

All this stuff is cool, but you'll probably be able to afford hand held from the back of a pick-up truck. Find a field with a dirt road or better yet a paved road beside it and shoot him at an angle. B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 25 October 2007 - 01:40 AM.

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#9 Marc Alucard

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 01:48 AM

Try out how lure savvy the dogs you are working with are. Most Greyhounds will chase a lure no matter what is going on around them. Modern Coursing is usually done with a lure pulled really fast by a winch type device.

Coursing also includes changes in the direction that the dog is lured. Use it to your advantage to show of the balance and control the Greyhound has while making turns using its tail as a rudder.

A vehicle running in front or from the side may be easier than you might expect. Find a good grassy level field and give it a try using a lure set up.

Cheers,
Marc
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#10 Christopher Joyce

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 04:24 AM

Well other than giving Tyson Gay a steadicam, perhaps its possible to have a few cameras scattered around the coursing field and a bullet cam somehow attached to the dog. The footage from the bullet cam could be intercut with what the cameras in the field fail to catch.



All your ideas are really good guys. I never knew there were so many different things on the market. Unfortunatly due to the pittance of a budget we get for shooting this....(The students are trained in directing, editing, sound, script and get no actual money for the work, however professional, they put in. The equipment is supplied free of charge from the production company. And we are expected to find free resources also. ) So I think they give us no more than ?2000 per production, month on pre-production, 5 days to shoot, 5 days to edit. Also the fact that I can't find these DoggiCams and Cablecams in Ireland for rent, is a problem.

So I think at this stage Tim has probably the most suitable idea for my situation. I may try and borrow my friends Porsche too.... :D , but seriously i'll try the scooter and sidecar if i can get my hands on one.


Thanks again,

Chris
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#11 Nick Mulder

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 05:39 AM

For gawds sake please consider the dogs safety - these beasts live for chasing the lures and will do so to their own peril without a moments hesitation ...

I've seen a dog hit a wall at full speed, put down 10 mins later ... Then later in the same day another hound ripped its own leg off on its own steam (not kidding), put down 10 mins later ...

magnificent creatures and good luck with whatever system you go with ;) (I have my own shoot up my sleeve also, hence the research)
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#12 Christopher Joyce

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 07:16 AM

For gawds sake please consider the dogs safety - these beasts live for chasing the lures and will do so to their own peril without a moments hesitation ...

I've seen a dog hit a wall at full speed, put down 10 mins later ... Then later in the same day another hound ripped its own leg off on its own steam (not kidding), put down 10 mins later ...

magnificent creatures and good luck with whatever system you go with ;) (I have my own shoot up my sleeve also, hence the research)


Oh of course no footage is worth killing something. Ya i have some experience with greyhounds....i've done the research. I saw a dog die of a heart attack after chasing a hare.....
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#13 Marc Alucard

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 11:58 AM

Just be careful and never chase the dogs with a vehicle .
Here is a picture of my Greyhound "Maggie" that came off the track seven years ago.
She is a great dog.

Cheers and Good Luck with your shoot,
Marc
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#14 Daniel Christie

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 11:08 PM

A better solution than the cable cam for this setup would be a rig like Garrett Brown's GoCam (garrettcam.com). I've seen it used in coverage of track events. Again, this would be well out of your budget, but how about this; You could try mounting a lipstick camera on the dolly that whizzes out infront of the hounds with the fluffy animal. It's not the most stable solution, but it would certainly keep up with the dogs without a hassle.

Daniel
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#15 Daniel Christie

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 11:21 PM

A better solution than the cable cam for this setup would be a rig like Garrett Brown's GoCam (garrettcam.com). I've seen it used in coverage of track events. Again, this would be well out of your budget, but how about this; You could try mounting a lipstick camera on the dolly that whizzes out infront of the hounds with the fluffy animal. It's not the most stable solution, but it would certainly keep up with the dogs without a hassle.

Daniel


Just saw the aforementioned SuperSlide- Similar rig.
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#16 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 03:53 AM

A better solution than the cable cam for this setup would be a rig like Garrett Brown's GoCam (garrettcam.com). I've seen it used in coverage of track events.
Daniel

The problem with the GoCam and other similar rigs is that you're tied to one direction for the whole shot. No adjustment is possible. When working with an animal it's a good idea to have the maximum amount of flexibility possible, in my opinion.
Don't get me wrong, Garrett is a genius, but I don't think any of his rigs would be right for this job, except possibly steadicam. I'll bet if you asked him he'd probably have some pretty fantastic ideas of how to do the shot though.
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#17 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 05:06 AM

I've filmed dogs running for a dog food commercial with a hard mounted Steadicam on the back of one of those those large agricultural quads that have a platform on the back. It worked extremely well, you could even get close ups (tough on the focus puller). However, they weren't running as fast as a greyhound.
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#18 Bill Totolo

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 08:39 AM

Wouldn't they would use a rail camera to cover track and field events at the Olympics? That's sounds like it's gonna be out of your budget.

I guess I would grab a wide angle adapter on whatever I was shooting with to increase DOF so I had a better shot of making sure the event was in focus and I would definitely cover it with multiple cameras.

Do a run through to make sure you get the coverage you want and don't shoot the other cameras.

Can you choose the time of day of the shoot? The change in lighting can dramatically alter the mood of the event.
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#19 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 10:07 PM

Can't you just strap the camera to that motorized rabbit lure they chase around the track? he he ;)
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#20 JD Hartman

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 10:54 AM

It sounds as if he is trying to film a Greyhound "Lure Coursing", not racing where the dog chases a mechanical lure on a rail. A totally different sport, where the dogs chase a lure pulled by a line run through pulleys on a zig zag course. It requires both speed and abrupt turning agility from the dogs, something a vehicle can't do. I would attempt to film the run with multiple cameras from different point in the course. The camera operators must be careful not to distrct the animal.
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