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Memory Foam/Temperpedic to Stabilize Camera?


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#1 Tom Lowe

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 02:25 PM

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One shot that is always tough, for me anyway, is shooting from inside a vehicle out toward the street or exterior. You can set the camera on the window sill and shoot, but there is usually a lot vibration, depending on the conditions. I wonder if memory foam might work to dampen the vibration and keep the camera solid. Kind of like the old cine saddle. Regular foam is probably too "bouncy" to absorb much shock, but memory foam seems like it might work.

I'm thinking of something like this...

http://www.tempurped...y_tempur_pedic/

thoughts?

Edited by Tom Lowe, 02 March 2008 - 02:28 PM.

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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 04:33 PM

You could try it, but it seems to me it's pretty slow to "spring back" to normal position. If it compresses and doesn't spring back before the next shock, there's nothing to absorb the energy of the shock. Foam comes in lots of different densities, so you could experiment with different densities and thicknesses for the application you need.
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#3 Billy Summers

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 12:36 AM

You could try it, but it seems to me it's pretty slow to "spring back" to normal position. If it compresses and doesn't spring back before the next shock, there's nothing to absorb the energy of the shock. Foam comes in lots of different densities, so you could experiment with different densities and thicknesses for the application you need.



Perhaps a combination of memory foam and "standard foam" is the answer...
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#4 Mitch Gross

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 09:46 AM

Don't think it would work well in this instance, but I have found that it is great for shoulder pads and body braces. I know one fellow who repadded his Steadicam vest with it.
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#5 Michael Nash

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 02:33 PM

Perhaps a combination of memory foam and "standard foam" is the answer...


That's the basic approach behind any upholstery; layers of different densities and thicknesses. Tear apart any mattress or furniture cushion and that's how they're constructed.
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#6 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 12:52 AM

Don't think it would work well in this instance, but I have found that it is great for shoulder pads and body braces. I know one fellow who repadded his Steadicam vest with it.


Worked with a cam op recently who cut off a piece thick enough to pad his shoulder for an Arri SR. It was geniusly named the "Sissypad"
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#7 Tom Lowe

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 06:52 PM

I think if you could get a thick, kind of foamy, not-too-dense piece of memory foam, it would work like a charm. I might order some pillows to try it out. Worse case scenario, I can use them on my bed. :)
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#8 Toby Orzano

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 10:16 PM

I shot a short film that was comprised entirely of shots out the side of a car. I found that as long as the camera is secured tightly to the frame of the car, the car's shocks do most of the work. I got some very smooth shots at up to 45mph with a fairly wide lens, even on a dirt road (though not quite 45 on the dirt road). I had a piece of plywood with a tripod head mounted on it sitting on the window sill that was strapped down on the outside of the door and secured on the inside by two 20" grip arms going to two vacuum cups on the rear window and windshield. As long as the tripod is locked down and the strap outside the car is tight, the whole rig will be pulled tight against the car and the camera won't wiggle at all. This picture is close, but not the exact setup. Imagine everything's flipped to the inside of the car looking straight out the side.

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#9 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 07:52 PM

The memory foam is so dense it may not matter if it springs back before the next take. What might pose a problem is if any part of the camera digs too deeply into the temperpedic and causes the material covering it to rip.
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#10 Tom Lowe

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 09:39 PM

I shot a short film that was comprised entirely of shots out the side of a car. I found that as long as the camera is secured tightly to the frame of the car, the car's shocks do most of the work. I got some very smooth shots at up to 45mph with a fairly wide lens, even on a dirt road (though not quite 45 on the dirt road). I had a piece of plywood with a tripod head mounted on it sitting on the window sill that was strapped down on the outside of the door and secured on the inside by two 20" grip arms going to two vacuum cups on the rear window and windshield. As long as the tripod is locked down and the strap outside the car is tight, the whole rig will be pulled tight against the car and the camera won't wiggle at all. This picture is close, but not the exact setup. Imagine everything's flipped to the inside of the car looking straight out the side.

Posted Image


Well one of the troubles, of course, is that the vehicle itself shakes. So if your camera is 100% solidly fixed to the car, it will fall victim to all the vibrations the car feels. In many caes, what you need to do is put some play between the camera and the car.
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#11 Toby Orzano

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 11:02 PM

Well one of the troubles, of course, is that the vehicle itself shakes. So if your camera is 100% solidly fixed to the car, it will fall victim to all the vibrations the car feels. In many caes, what you need to do is put some play between the camera and the car.


I haven't found vehicle shake to be a problem. Obviously if you hit a big bump it's going to show in the shot, but no amount of foam will prevent that. Even so, with the camera fixed to the car with a wide shot, the car's shocks do a pretty good job and you only see the bump as opposed to a reaction to the bump that may be prolonged.

Here is a clip that I shot with an HVX200 on that car rig. It was shot on a stone-and-oil park access road (packed down over time).

Alas, foam is probably cheaper than vacuum cups and grip arms so it can't do harm for someone to try it out. That would be much more useful than speculation.

Edited by Toby Orzano, 11 March 2008 - 11:06 PM.

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