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Achieve this camera move...


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#1 Jase Ryan

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 10:14 AM

Okay, I'm shooting a project soon on a micro budget. I have a scene in a forest where I want to have a specific shot, but am not sure how I can do this without top gear. I will describe the shot and if you know anyway to make this happen, please let me know your thoughts.

It's simple really. It's with a 40lbs camera that starts about six feet in the air, looking straight down. Then, I want the camera to rise as high as possible, preferably 20-30 feet. Then, in another take, I want to start high like that, come straight down and at the last 5 feet, tilt the camera up to look down the forest path.

Any suggestions would be great! Thank you!
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#2 Steward

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 10:31 AM

The "micro" budget is gonna hurt here*....

My first thought would be a look through platform on a tall construction crane...

Do you know anybody with a 40ft construction crane...??? The bigger... the steadier.



*see what I mean...???


Second thought... I guess there are production cranes big enough to work... but still...

Edited by Steward, 20 October 2008 - 10:35 AM.

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#3 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 01:17 PM

That shot is easily done with a crane and a remote head. You could try to use a cherry picker or something like it, but the stops and starts with those types of cranes is often very rough so I doubt that would work for your needs.
The only other way I can think of would be some kind of wire rig with a remote head.
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#4 Jase Ryan

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 02:21 PM

The only other way I can think of would be some kind of wire rig with a remote head.


Yes a wire rig... that sounds small enough to lug into the forest. Where do you get those? And what kind of support is needed for that?
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#5 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 06:00 PM

Micro budget? Straight down?

If you find the right tree, you could just rig the camera to some pullies, drop it and then reverse the footage in post. You would need to make a little rig on the camera so you can get two or three balanced picks so that the camera doesn't spin wildly. Don't use hemp or cheap rope, as they're both too twisty.
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#6 Phil Savoie

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 02:28 AM

Thats it. Jons got it. A good pullie around 6 in dia, a short sling or webbing a couple of carbiners some climbing rope some sand bags for counter balance and a guideline to control camera yaw/pan and to some extent tilt and your in biz. Cheap and cheerful.
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 03:04 AM

Please if you do the pulley thing do your research and your physics calculations correctly. I can easily see you dropping that 40lb camera on an actor if you screw it up.
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#8 Allen Achterberg

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 03:16 AM

I really stress Chris Keths comments here. This is serious stuff.
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#9 Phil Savoie

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 04:01 AM

Ah yes the safety bit. My thought was it goes without saying, but point taken gentlemen. The slings I had in mind were soft slings we use designed for tree work rated for significantly more weight than you would ever use (linked below) - climbing webbing rated for 1000lbs, standard 10mm clmbing rope and carbiners, that can hang 800 lbs easily, these ropes are usually rated for 8000 lbs. My 35mm Arri with 400 ft mag film lens and matte box is aprox 25lbs. This weight is no problem what so ever and we attach it at two points. Using this set-up I have hung my good self in a bosoms chair with camera and even a full counter weight on occasion. And thats well over 460 lbs I dare say ;-) As someone who has been rigging trees for a number of years the key element here isn't the gear - it's the tree and limbs itself - hardwood is the obvious choice for this work. If someone is inexperienced or unsure I would strongly suggest enlisting the help of a local tree surgeon to find a safe tree for shooting.

I'm not sure what camera/lens combination your planning to use Jase but 40lbs sounds a bit heavy.

None the less the chaps are absolutely correct safety is your first concern.

tree slings
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#10 Jase Ryan

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 10:08 AM

My 35mm Arri with 400 ft mag film lens and matte box is aprox 25lbs. This weight is no problem what so ever and we attach it at two points. Using this set-up I have hung my good self in a bosoms chair with camera and even a full counter weight on occasion...
tree slings



This info sounds great. Thanks for posting it. Phil, do you by chance have any stills from this? Just so I can get a better idea of how you rigged it???

Thanks.
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#11 Phil Savoie

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 02:39 PM

This info sounds great. Thanks for posting it. Phil, do you by chance have any stills from this? Just so I can get a better idea of how you rigged it???

Thanks.


Thanks for the note. Sorry I don't have any pictures mate. When we do this type of work we are usually so wiped out nobody thinks of pulling out a still camera. The closest I have is a picture of my assistant Ted Giffords rigging a tree in Costa Rica - it's on my website linked below under Crew Snaps. Ted has gone on to be a sought after shooter himself these days. He is responsible for the bulk of the rigging and fantastic tree shooting on the BBC 'Planet Earth' series.

If you want to see examples of tree/cable work I've done visit my Film Clips page and screen the Hotel Heliconia Opening and Autumn Color clips - hope you like them.

Good luck with your project.
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