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underslinging a camera


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#1 Bobby Shore

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 04:02 PM

Does anyone know of a weaver-steadman type head to undersling a camera on a jib or dolly, but which is much more compact? I'm trying to push the camera forwards about 8 feet along the ground, but it needs to travel through several pairs of legs (a technocrane style move, but needs to be done on the cheap). The move is slow enough that as the camera passes through each pair of legs, the person will be able to step out of the way of the dolly or jib arm on which the camera is attached. I've attached a storyboard of the shot. Any advice would be more then welcome. Thanks.

Bobby Shore
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#2 Darryl Richard Humber

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 04:26 PM

Does anyone know of a weaver-steadman type head to undersling a camera on a jib or dolly, but which is much more compact? I'm trying to push the camera forwards about 8 feet along the ground, but it needs to travel through several pairs of legs (a technocrane style move, but needs to be done on the cheap). The move is slow enough that as the camera passes through each pair of legs, the person will be able to step out of the way of the dolly or jib arm on which the camera is attached. I've attached a storyboard of the shot. Any advice would be more then welcome. Thanks.

Bobby Shore
DP
LA/Montreal

What size camera are you using? Do you have to be on the deck or will calf height work? If you don't need to skim the ground, you can undersling the 4' ubangi and go on top of it and get around calf height. I've done a similar shot on the Lambda if you need to be on the deck and it worked fine. I've also underslung the O'Conner and used the low mode steadicam plate for the top of the camera and underslung it that way. There are actually a lot of options depending on the size/type camera you are using. If it's more or less a lock off as far as operating goes, your Key Grip could probably rig a swiss cheese plate off a ubangi and get you pretty close to the ground.
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#3 robert duke

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 04:54 PM

What about a snorkel lens system and a mini dolly/ladder dolly? The lens would allow fitting through chair legs allowing that the chairs would be slowly moved out as the camera passed. It is a difficult shot all round. maybe a stinger arm on a plate dolly.
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#4 Darryl Richard Humber

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 05:04 PM

What about a snorkel lens system and a mini dolly/ladder dolly? The lens would allow fitting through chair legs allowing that the chairs would be slowly moved out as the camera passed. It is a difficult shot all round. maybe a stinger arm on a plate dolly.


yeah, it's a hard question to answer without knowing the type camera. The more I think about it, the Weaver Steadman is infinitely adjustable as opposed to the Lambda. It may be the easiest to shrink up. Or the Skatedolly, which might be ideal. So many possibilities....head getting cloudy.
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#5 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 08:18 PM

I'm thinking a skateboard dolly or steadicam low mode bracket with a ubangi might be the best choice. One more option...get the grips to hang the camera off of a ubangi and then operate by laying on top of the dolly. That might be the cheapest solution.
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#6 Bobby Shore

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 08:26 PM

Thanks for the replies...

Definitely some interesting ideas. I'm thinking about maybe a low angle prism off a ubangi in low mode on the dolly or rigged normally on a jib (to really get that skimming off the ground feel). We'll be using a F900 either with digiprimes or 35 mm adapter and Cooke S4's. With a 4 ft. ubangi, how stable will the camera movement be for, say, a dolly forward at a pretty slow pace? The reason I ask is the video is pretty effects heavy and the VFX superviser is concerned about slight jiggles in the camera move... it doesn't need to be motion-control smooth or anything, just stable. In my experience, if the gear is well secured and the moves are simple, even with the 4 ft. off-set, the move is smooth (especially with wider lenses) Any thoughts? Thanks.

Bobby Shore
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LA/Montreal
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#7 Darryl Richard Humber

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 09:08 PM

It all depends on your surface. A low mode low angle prism solves having to undersling and gives you the narrowest profile. You can always stabilize the ubangi back to the dolly and anything wider than a 50mm you should be fine(if your floor is good). The main problem you'll have to worry about is surge on a wooden or concrete floor, but usually you won't notice unless you're really creeping (which I doubt). You probably won't have jiggle, but you may have slight surges. The jib is a good idea because you can lay track for it, again assuming it's not being operated (unless you have remote in your budget).
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#8 Darryl Richard Humber

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 12:33 AM

I forgot to mention that you might want to go with pneumatics or medium soft tires on a Chapman. On a Fisher, you might let some air out of the tires.
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#9 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 12:02 PM

"The Big Lebowski" shot, huh? You haven't mentioned whether you need to operate during the shot. If there's no panning or tilting, why not just make some sort of "butt-dolly" out of two layers of plywood and some casters of your choosing, drill a 3/8" hole through it, and screw the camera or base plate directly down on the wood? That would put the lens about 4 or 5 inches off the ground.
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