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locked off overhead shot of tide coming in


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#1 Bennett Cerf

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 04:56 PM

Hey everybody,

I'm doing pickups for a short that I shot, so I have some time to get this shot right. In the film, a woman throws her mom's ashes over a cliff. The director wants to cut in a slow mo locked off shot from directly above the impact as it hits some rocks just before the tide washes over it. The camera will be light–HVX200 and the camera won't need to be more than 8 feet above the water.

My original idea was to get a couple mambos and rig pipe to connect the stands, then rig the camera to the pipe in the middle. That way, the camera is more stable.

I've started to rethink this considering I could put the camera on a long menace arm so that it doesn't disturb the flow of water and could be stable on the beach.

Any thoughts on the idea?
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#2 Bob Hayes

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 07:03 PM

I think you are thinking along the right paths. My initial reaction would be to go with a menace arm. They make an adapter that allows you to run a cable from the front of the arm to a vertical pin and then to the rear of the menace arm. This will make the arm stronger. I bet you could use a 20’ section of speed rail with 12’ out and 8’ as a counter balance. Use sand bags to balance it exactly. Make sure you level your high roller because if it gets off balance it will fall. Scout your location and check on tide tables to make sure everything performs the way it should. Run a cable to an external monitor to check framing and you’ll need some way to turn the camera on and off. If you end up on soft sand use a 4’x 4’ sheet of plywood as a platform for your stand.

Beaware of sun angle so you don't cast a shadow. Also consider that if the tide is coming in you device may end up all wet.
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#3 robert duke

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 07:04 PM

Hey everybody,

I'm doing pickups for a short that I shot, so I have some time to get this shot right. In the film, a woman throws her mom's ashes over a cliff. The director wants to cut in a slow mo locked off shot from directly above the impact as it hits some rocks just before the tide washes over it. The camera will be light–HVX200 and the camera won't need to be more than 8 feet above the water.

My original idea was to get a couple mambos and rig pipe to connect the stands, then rig the camera to the pipe in the middle. That way, the camera is more stable.

I've started to rethink this considering I could put the camera on a long menace arm so that it doesn't disturb the flow of water and could be stable on the beach.

Any thoughts on the idea?

your first idea was better, I think. you could go with doubled 20' pipe and be totally out of the frame. The Menace arm is more likely to wobble in the wind and vibration of the waves. I know slo mo, but the field goal approach is a little more stable.
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#4 Bennett Cerf

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 06:21 PM

Thanks guys. I'll try to figure it out with a day at the beach beforehand to figure out the spot to be in. Yeah, it's a real toss up with the wind wobbling the menace arm and the goal post getting sloshed by the waves.
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#5 Bob Hayes

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 06:38 PM

If you are worried about movement of the menace arm add a second stand to the rear after you have balanced the arm out. You might be able to find a structure like a pier that extends over the ocean which you could use as an area to stage from.

If you decide to go with the goal post idea, which I think is also a good one; you’ll need to be especially aware of shadows from the stands. Also as the tide comes in you will have to deal with the stands sinking and shifting. You may want to put something under the legs to lessen this problem. Cement stepping stones might do the trick.

I still like the menace arm as the stand is further from the wave action and you can arm the camera back if you have troubles.
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#6 Jake Kerber

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 09:05 PM

Give yourself another point on the menace arm, near where the camera is going to mount, that you can run two static lines from in opposite directions out from the
menace arm. Stake those lines securely. In addition to Bob's suggestion of Stabilizing the back-end of the arm with an additional stand, this should help with
side-to-side wobble due to wind and won't interfere with the waves.

Definitely schedule this so shadows won't be an issue.
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#7 Onno Perdijk

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 03:55 PM

Hello Bennet,

Since you did not mention the surface of your beach (stones or sand) I want to share you my experience with a shooting on a sand-beach with an upcoming tide.

Some months ago I have had some rough and impressive experiences with tide coming up and a construction: We have build my TrussDollySystem on some rostrums to see the horizon and move to a bottle landing on the beach.
The tide was this strong that one of the rostrums started floating, no matter the amount of weights on it, even the water was still 6 meters away. The upcoming tide will "undertake" or "dig out" the at first seem-to-be-solid underground... (good english???). Be aware...

Some pics can be found here
A making of can be found here.

Good Luck,

Onno

Edited by Onno Perdijk, 04 April 2009 - 03:57 PM.

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#8 Bennett Cerf

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 11:54 AM

I was leaning towards the menace arm idea and now it's feeling pretty settled. Watching those rostrums getting pounded by the surf really has me thinking that I should stay away from getting hit directly. I think the tie line idea would certainly help to stabilize the end of the camera, too. That's a good suggestion. Smart thinkin'. I'm looking at the location today so I'll get a good idea of what to do.

Thanks so much guys. You're experience is going to make mine much better. I'll report back when I've shot it.
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#9 Valerie Taylor

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 05:03 PM

Provided you have a way to rig your camera to the end of the stand (which it sounds like you do) and you use something like the MAX menace arm that Matthews makes you'll get solid counterbalance with a small footprint.

Take a look:

http://www.msegrip.c...oducts_ID=26560

You need a 3:1 counterbalance ratio if you're going below grade but it works really well and is probably the most economical space-wise. If you can't buy I'm pretty sure you can rent it from someplace like Cinelease or Hollywood Rentals or something like that.
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#10 Vedran Rapo

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 06:06 PM

Not sure this will help, and it is not that cheep example.

In the last short i did, i had more than a few top shots.

Ill attach some photos how it was done.

Posted Image

you will not see much from this photo, ... but here is one more.
Posted Image

my key grip could explain it better, but i believe it was, small hand on the panther classic, with a low head on the end ... camera was tilted down.
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#11 Vedran Rapo

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 06:21 PM

sorry just to add to post up.

on the photo from left to right ...
blond girl is director Dorotea Vucic, guy behind the 4bank is me (DP), my first assistant camera - Ranko Mitic, than Josip Siladi key grip


Btw. just to add, guys from GRIP FILM, are great, definitely my recommendation --> here is the link to their site --> GRIP FILM
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