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Filming a base jump


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#1 Simon Douglas

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 09:59 AM

I'm going to be filming a base jump from across a fjord on a dsr-450, tripod and with a long zoom lens (not sure which yet) and I was wondering if anyone had any tips for shooting distant objects on long lenses? Any advice will help as I'll only get one shot at it...Thanks.
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#2 John Young

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 12:30 PM

My advice would be to use as stable a platform as possible. Since you do only get one shot, and using a long zoom, it would be beneficial to acquire the best tripod head you could get your hands on. Kodak $17 from the Wal-Mart ain't gonna do. I would not settle for less than a good solid fluid head.

The reason the tripod is so important here is the image angle of movement on the frame while in telephoto mode. Even with stabilization computer gadgetry, if you bump the camera the image will move far grater then you intended it too.. not that you would.

You also want to be able to move the camera freely. The Manfrotto 516 is a good lightweight head, since I assume you will be lugging this equipment out into the field, however its not cheep.

Manfrotto 516

Next in line is the 503

Its about half the price of the 516.

Lastly is the 701HDV
Again, half the price of the previous. Mind you, fluid heads get very expensive very quick.

The real question is do you need to move the camera? IF you are going to set up a stationary camera, then any tripod with a solid head that locks down will work.

The other tip that I could think of would be to always attempt to keep the jumper in the frame. They will quickly fly out of the frame and if you want to film the shot all the way down, you will need to anticipate there movement (which should be in some arc like fashion depending on how high the are jumping). A long zoom is going to exaggerate that effect so you must keep a keen eye on the situation.

As for the technical side of things: I believe the longer zoom you have, the more light that is cut from the camera. You can always open the iris, mindful of your DOF. Since you are shooting digital you could increase your gain. However digital gain was created by Satan. In fact, I have it, on good authority, that Satan parades around with his digital gain turned up high he out shines the sun...

Anyhow, the Sony has lots of buttons and whatsits on it, so it must have either an iris control or a gain (read: db-control).

That's about all I can think of. I don't know what your budget is so I can't recommend any more than that.
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#3 Mitch Gross

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 05:29 PM

I don't know how big that fjord is, but a regular long lens and a Bogen tripod sure ain't gonna cut it. I would consider a very large telephoto zoom with a built in image stabilizer, such as a Canon 40x or a Fujinon 42x. These lenses also have doublers to really get you in close. For a tripod head I would consider something like an O'Connor 2575 or a Sachtler Video-80 to give you a very large stable base that can handle the weight, counterbalancing and tensioning you'll need. Lastly, you may want to use a small LCD monitor such as a Panasonic LH900 8.4" that can mount to the camera and power directly off the battery mount. It can be quite difficult to find the object in your frame if you cannot see beyond the viewfinder in order to judge its position. If not the monitor then you can rig a "sports finder" which is a wireframe box (bend a clothes hanger) attached to the mattebox that helps you target the subject like a gunsight. That last one is old school but it works.

BTW, Abel rents all this stuff (except the wire frame).
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#4 Simon Douglas

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 05:22 AM

Thanks for your replies chaps. Very helpful. We're still a little sketchy on the details so I'm not sure how big the fjord is either but so far it's looking like Stachler Video-80, Canon 40x (if we can eek out the budget...which considering the type of shot, I think it should be considered). And I like the sound of the old school 'sports finder'...could come in handy.

Thanks again,

Simon Douglas.
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