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#1 E Mantle

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 10:34 AM

I'm working on a music promo, the second part of which requires a single and rather ambitious shot of the talent sat on a chair facing the camera and moving backwards through one room, into a narrow winding corridor, down a step, into another room and then down a second step into a garden. All the while the performer will be sat on the chair facing and singing to the camera. The camera needs to be, if possible a fixed length from the artist.
I'm fine with how the shot is going to be lit and have done some test runs and it looks fine. But does anyone have any idea on the grip front about how I can manipulate the camera and the chair/singer with the greatest control?
The surface the chair moves on in the first room and the corridor is soft carpet, then the second room is wooden flooring and then obviously lawn in the garden...
It needs to be as smooth as possible as the director wants to divide it into three parts where a pan away to a completely static subject will be cut, then the rest of the set will be altered(almost like a save-point), then we'll roll again and continue with the next section. This means a steadicam or equivalent is out of the question
Unfortunately I'm doing this pro bono as I owe a few favours to the director who's working on a limited budget as a favour to the artist! This means I'm obviously not going to be able to afford much in the way of heavy duty grip gear. However I live with an engineer so making something shouldn't be too long a shot if it's relatively simple.
I'm thinking of using two mini platform dollys running on rails with ramps at the steps but my main concern with this option is how to propel the singer who is sat largely motionless on the chair apart from moving to sing and play the instrument. Perhaps a pulley system from behind? The shot is quite a low angle so there are no problems about hiding anything like that so long as it is low to the ground...
Another thing to consider and perhaps a plus point to using rails is the fact that the carpet is quite soft and the singer is... well... quite heavy... so a lack of railing might mean a more jerky motion which wouldn't be good.
But what about getting rails, on a tight budget remember, to go around corners...
Seriously any help you guys can offer would be greatly appreciated and I'll let you know how the project goes.
Thanks in advance,
Edward Mantle
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#2 David Auner aac

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 12:52 PM

Hi Ed,

can you get away with not actually seeing the floor? Then your plan would work pretty well. Why not connect the platform the chair is on and the dolly with the camera by some kind of rail? Then your dolly grip would be able to push both...

Cheers, Dave
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#3 E Mantle

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 01:03 PM

Hi Dave,
Thanks for getting back to me.
That's not too much of an issue - i.e. it's ok to not have the floor in frame. One issue thought is that ultimately, it's going down hill, the building is at an angle and it's going down steps so it might look a little strange but I'll have an experiment with it and see how it looks this week when I get over there.
Secondly, yeah I had actually thought about attaching the chair platform and the camera together as you suggest but was thinking actually to use this only as a way of measuring and maintaining the distance between the two devices. Your way would actually make a lot more sense although as it has to go around corners I'm not sure if this rail or some sort of attaching device might need to be on pivots to allow taking bends.
Also if my grip is pushing both the platform for the performer and the the camera/cam operator then that's an awful lot of weight!
Perhaps I might think about pushing AND pulling. So - out of sight rope/pulley system to the rear and two strong backs behind the camera at the front...
Thanks again,
Ed
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#4 robert duke

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 06:44 PM

As a grip, Green screen.

two platforms attached aren't too big a deal. a rail dolly attached to a fisher 10 is easy to do, down hill transitions however are.
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#5 Steve McBride

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 08:25 PM

The only thing I can think of is have a really long dolly with air filled tires and mount the camera on one end and the singer on the other. It should work on the surfaces you'll be dealing with and it would be easy to get around corners. When you get to the step, put a small ramp for the dolly to go down and have someone pull it out of the way before you can see it in frame.

Another way to do the step out be to setup somewhat of an elevator trap where once the dolly is completely on it drops. I think that that would be kinda pricy since you'd probably have to deal with pneumatics, but thats an idea.

I'm not much of a grip and have certainly never done anything like this before, but its the first thing that came to me, hope it helped.
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#6 E Mantle

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Posted 23 August 2008 - 12:58 PM

Hey Robert, Hey Steve,
Thanks for the input.
To Robert first - Greening it may well be an option though out of personal preference I'd avoid it if I can. Unfortunately any of the Fishers I can get access to are simply too wide for the corridor. I went back today and there's no way one can fit.
To Steve - Unfortunately a long dolly isn't going to work either - even if I could get one narrow enough to fit in the dimensions of the space it would still wouldn't have a chance of navigating the corners which are almost zig zags! I.e. There's an immediate left turn followed by a right followed about two feet later by another left... Which brings me back to having two seperate small dollys maybe custom made or altered by my engineer friend on the cheap and linking them together some how OR not even bothering to link them but just making sure the crew is particularly careful when it comes to maintaining distances - perhaps tie a piece of cord between the two and make sure to keep it tight!
Anyway, I'm taking a grip friend of mine to the set tomorrow so I'll hopefully have something a bit more solid by the end of the day...
Thanks for the input so far guys,
Ed
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#7 Reil Munro

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 06:57 AM

Would you have the coin for a Doggicam system ? We've used them here on two occasions and their not hard to set up and also hide with wardrobe

http://www.doggicam.com/master.html

As I was looking it over, there wouldn't be all much needed to make a DIY system with the proper tools of course...but I'm not sure if that's the look your going for as far as the subject being in the frame.

Good Luck...if you do a home-made job I would love to see it.

Stay Classy
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