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Complex P.O.V. Shot


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#1 Steve Absalom

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 09:44 AM

Hey there. I'm a film student, now taking my very first film production class where I get to use a camera. The instructor has required us to pair of in groups of threes, which we will keep the entire semester, and we have to do six short films. He has encouraged us to play around and test ourselves because at higher levels our work will be too serious to mess around with, and more so if we ever work on a real feature film. Basically now is the time to experiment and play around, get a feel for things and be creative.

Well I have this shot in my head with someone performing some action (I won't go into the specifics of the shot due to copyright reasons- i hope to do something similar on an actual film one day). Well I want it to be POV and I want to capture the actor's hands and feet in the shot (not all at once, more like he'd look down, see the feet, look slightly down and see the hands).

The problems are obvious. In a high-budget feature they'd just computerize the hands, put them in digitally by either creating the limbs on the computer, or shoot each limb separately and then put them together. I obviously can't do that.

What I was looking for are some ideas. Obviously its going to be a huge pain and the effort will be almost otherworldy, but hey, that's why we're here, right? To experiment and have fun with it. Even if its pain. So I don't want any replies like "oh you just can't do it" or "it's not worth the trouble," assuming I'd die if I couldn't get this shot, how would you do it?

Right now the only way I could see it being done is literally attaching the camera to the side of the actor/cameraman's head (read: my head) and then going over the motions over and over until moving the body and moving the camera in the right way, hitting the right marks, becomes second nature. Yeah my neck would probably start hurting and such, but if it worked... who knows. One problem is, how I see what the camera sees? I could put the little pop-out viewing window lcd screen like right in front of my eye, but that might damage my eye being so close.
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#2 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 02:17 PM

Well I have this shot in my head with someone performing some action (I won't go into the specifics of the shot due to copyright reasons- i hope to do something similar on an actual film one day). Well I want it to be POV and I want to capture the actor's hands and feet in the shot (not all at once, more like he'd look down, see the feet, look slightly down and see the hands).

This kind of shot has been done before, so I wouldn't worry about copyright issues.

In a high-budget feature they'd just computerize the hands, put them in digitally by either creating the limbs on the computer, or shoot each limb separately and then put them together. I obviously can't do that.

In most cases CG probably wouldn't be employed. It's most likely much cheaper and easier to do in camera.

Obviously its going to be a huge pain and the effort will be almost otherworldy, but hey, that's why we're here, right? To experiment and have fun with it. Even if its pain. So I don't want any replies like "oh you just can't do it" or "it's not worth the trouble," assuming I'd die if I couldn't get this shot, how would you do it?

I doubt it will be as tough as you imagine. You can probably use a helmet cam (a quick Google search will yield plenty of options). If you really need to see the image while you're shooting (not sure why you would if using video) then you could get yourself a pair of video goggles (again, Google). But I think video goggles are going to make the shot harder, not easier. Video goggles are notorious for causing motion sickness and can disorient you. In other words, you could very well trip and fall while using them because you're not paying attention to where you're going.
My advice would be to not get too hung up on a specialty shot like this. If it helps tell the story, that's great, but it's more important to have a good film than to have one good shot in a bad film.
Good luck.
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#3 Steve Absalom

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 06:19 PM

Thanks man. Yeah, the thing is for the story, it really is necess- well no it's not integral, but it works with that scene. It really fits the atmosphere, the aesthetic. It's not like it would be an awkward, "lets just do something cool" scene, you know? So thanks for your help, I think I'll look into the helmet cam thing. Maybe I can just do a shoulder cam though. I'll play around. THanks.
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 07:43 PM

Shoulder cam wouldn't give the right perceptive in relation to left and right. Helmet is easier overall I would think. You could try and offset... maybe something from doggi-cam with their body mount might work as well?
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#5 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 04:52 PM

I'm sure doggi-cam could come up with the perfect mount for this shot. I didn't suggest it because he's a student, and budget will surely be an issue.
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 05:32 PM

Quite true. I am actually really pushing a student shoot i'm on (paid, which is nice) to get the body-mount for 1 quick shot. . . here's hoping.
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