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Dealing with bouncy floor?


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#1 Jason Hinkle (RIP)

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 05:49 PM

I'm shooting in an old house that has cool hard wood floors, but they also have a lot of play to them and the camera can tend to bounce a bit if the actors walk near it. I've weighted down the tripod as much as possible but it doesn't always fix the problem.

I was wondering how much should be expected of the actors to adjust their walking vs. the crew's responsibility to get the camera stable and allow the actors to walk normally? If it is on the crew, are their any simple, creative solutions? I would think putting the camera on a heavy fisher dolly would work nicely but of course this is a low budget and we don't have one.

thanks.
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#2 John Sprung

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 06:06 PM

Is this on the ground floor, or upstairs? Usually an old house like this will have a perimeter footing and a pier and post foundation in the field of the floor. On the ground floor, the first thing to do is have a grip crawl around down in the crawl space with a bottle jack and wedges, and level and solidify any posts that have come loose. Also look for termites and dry rot. You can put in some more posts if you need.

Upstairs I've found tends to be more solid than the ground floor. You generally have big old full 2x10 joists, and they get tougher with age. Of course if there's been some incompetent remodeling or termite damage, all bets are off. You can stabilize the second floor with a temporary bearing wall downstairs, plus whatever piers and posts you need to add under it in the crawl.





-- J.S.
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#3 Paul Bruening

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 06:29 PM

I'm shooting in an old house that has cool hard wood floors, but they also have a lot of play to them and the camera can tend to bounce a bit if the actors walk near it. I've weighted down the tripod as much as possible but it doesn't always fix the problem.

I was wondering how much should be expected of the actors to adjust their walking vs. the crew's responsibility to get the camera stable and allow the actors to walk normally? If it is on the crew, are their any simple, creative solutions? I would think putting the camera on a heavy fisher dolly would work nicely but of course this is a low budget and we don't have one.

thanks.


Spanners. 2"x12" boards. Set them up on the 12" dimension. Block them at their ends. Basically, you're building a bridge from any two walls to bridge over the wobbly middle parts in front of the camera. I've done it. It works. You'll need a way to keep them from parting or flopping over. I did that at the ends and used a tripod star to keep the legs from pushing them apart. The director will have to cooperate and plan the staging to avoid the actors walking over to the bridge ends. As well, you'll want to avoid a lot of set ups.
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#4 Jason Hinkle (RIP)

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 12:59 PM

thank you so much. since it's on the 2nd floor and we don't have access to the first floor i'll try the spanner approach. that makes total sense to neutralize the movement of the floor planks by having a beam across them.
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#5 Onno Perdijk

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 04:02 PM

Hello Jason,

Building a "bridge" is a good option.

An other solution could be is setting up a (long) jibarm with the base away from the moving parts of the floor. (So the base is at a non-bouncing part of the floor.)

Good Luck,

Onno
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