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a 3 AXIS MOVE in STOP MOTION w/o MOTION CONTROL


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#1 James Mann

James Mann
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Posted 01 April 2009 - 07:45 PM

Folks.

I am trying to achieve a THREE AXIS move (pull out, boom down and track right) in stop motion.

Unfortunately there is no money for a motion control rig.

What are some possible ways of achieving this effect and where would I be able to get the necessary equipment (I am in Los Angeles). Stop Motion gear is pretty esoteric or so it seems.

We are shooting using a Canon MarkII.

Thanks

James.
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 02:47 PM

Hey, James. How's it going?

I shot a good bit of stop-motion in school with some animator friends and I did a move much like you're describing with a studio camera stand a lot like this:
Posted Image

Ours had a particularly long horizontal arm so, in stop-motion scale, we had the makings of a 40 or 50 foot camera crane. The floor wheels of these things are usually just tiny casters so it's impossible to move them only a little bit and in a controlled line. We removed ours from its rolling base and bolted it onto a skateboard dolly. I made a pointer that comes off of the dolly so we could more precisely hit very exact marks.

On the stand went an older version of a geared head like this:
Posted Image

All of that allows you to figure out the duration of the move in frames and chart out the position of the camera for every frame. Marking tape goes on the vertical and horizontal arms as well as on the floor to mark the dolly's movement. To chart pan and tilt, I just jury rigged a pointer that came off of each moving part which could be charted on some cardboard that was attached to a non-moving part of the head. I hope that part makes sense, the idea was just to be able to spread out the scale so small moves could be charted without all of the marks running into each other too badly.

That was our approach on the cheap. It worked well and cost very little, since we were able to borrow the camera stand (and not tell them we were disassembling it) from the school for nothing. I do see similar stands being sold for quite cheaply, a couple hundred dollars for some. They were generally built to hold 4x5 monorails, if not 8x10 monorails, so even older worn ones will have no problem with a DSLR.

Hope it goes well. I'd love to see the finished product.
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Metropolis Post

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