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Jibs on Highways


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#1 Seamus Donahoe

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 02:46 PM

Hello, I'm a student starting my last year in film school, and I've interviewed to DP one of the larger productions that happen biannually on campus. During talks with the director we had to consider a few scenes that take place on roads, moving with a motorcycle gang. I feel that these scenes would not be effective without the graceful dynamics of jib or crane movement.

We are going to shoot on Super 16mm, probably with either the SR2.5 or SR3, and we'll be working on a fairly tight budget. My initial thought would be to mount the camera onto a jib which in turn would be stabilized on the back of a pick-up truck. The Jib Operator and possibly and AC would be in the bed of the truck along with the rig. But, there are some obvious considerations arising.
1.) Is this conceivably safe? How can we make it as safe as possible?
2.) What would be the maximum recommended speed for such a rig? We want the subjects to look like they are really zooming. Can we cheat this by using a longer lens?
3.) Will camera shake/wobble be as big a problem as I'm thinking it will be?
4.) Are there other, more effective options to get a similar type of shot that would still be cost-effective?
I am very excited about the possibility of shooting this film, and pulling off this rig, pending the offer for the position. I'm very grateful for any suggestions and input. I'm so glad that there is such a resource for us budding filmmakers. Thank you.
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#2 Edrick Smith

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 10:30 PM

Are you shutting down the High Way where you're shooting, if not I'm willing to bet you're out of luck for any type of filming unless it's inside your car with a small camera. I'm pretty sure here in the US it is illegal to ride in the back of trucks as it's a safety issue wether or not that's enforced in small local towns or not is another thing. On a highway however especially with other traffic is a big no-no.
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 06:15 AM

I've seen Technocrane on the back of a truck, and they didn't shut the road down - but they did have an enormous police escort, mainly because they weren't going to be doing more than about 30mph on what was a very major road. I suspect that the insurance and safety aspects of this would overwhelm all but the most well-funded productions, even if you can afford the technocrane!

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#4 Hal Smith

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 06:36 AM

I'd be thinking of using a camera truck. Something like a Ryder box truck with a camera platform on the roof. A windscreen behind the camera operator would be a great help, if you didn't need the height of a platform on the roof you conceivably could rig a jib inside the truck. The list of safety concerns with a shot like this is very, very long. It would be best to budget for a professional grip or stunt supervisor with extensive experience with this type of shot to supervise your crew in setting up an improvised camera truck.
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