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Rigging for a motorcycle


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#1 Justin Everett Gum

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 01:57 AM

Hi guys, my first post here!

 

Anyway, I'm DPing a short and we're needing to rig a camera on a motorcycle. Ideally, we're trying to keep the look very snorricam-like, where there is a relatively wide angle of view. I've never done any set ups that required rigging a camera in front of a bike. Does anyone have any solid set ups that's also affordable? Our budget is relatively tight. But I'd love to do more than just a go pro on a sticky mount.

 

Let me know your thoughts!
 

best,

Justin


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#2 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 01:07 PM

What kind of camera?


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#3 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 01:36 PM

I shoot quite a bit of on-motorcycle footage for a youtube series I produce, both off-road and on-road. I have tried many times to get my Blackmagic Pocket camera to produce an image anywhere near that of my GoPro's, but I haven't been able to. The amount of kit required to mount, even that little pocket camera with a lightweight lens, is actually pretty crazy.

The GoPro has a unique advantage of being light, cheap and has already made mounts available. The moment you try to stick a bigger/heavier camera on there, you'll be forced to use a totally different mounting system. Also, because cameras like the GoPro have super wide angle lenses, things like engine vibration are not as noticed in the image.

I have a kit which I acquired from a friend of mine who shot motorcycle and car stuff for decades. There are screw in brackets that squeeze the frame and/or simply screw into a pre-existing fitting. Motorcycles these days, don't have many places to put a system like this. The plates then have attachments for speed rail, which will allow you to attach anything you want to the bike. Suction cup mounts can also work great, but they only work on flat/fixed surfaces.

After you've got all of that nailed and your rig is installed, the last thing you've gotta deal with is vibration from the engine. Depending on the bike, most motorcycle engines do vibrate at frequencies that can distort the cameras imaging. This is because you've directly attached a mount to the frame of the bike and real motorcycles, don't have any engine isolation to the frame. This is where you need some sort of isolation system to help with that, which can be home made using rubber bushings, or rented. The rental ones look like tripod heads, but there is an isolation mount in between the components that basically removes quite a bit of these vibrations. Cheap solution to solve this problem with a lightweight camera is to build your own mount out rubber bits that you can use to go between the camera and the tripod head on your mount. This is less of a problem with suction cup mounts because they automatically provide some vibration reduction.

So yea, it's a bit more difficult then meets the eye. If you can acquire the right components from a grip house, you will still need to disassemble the bike enough to find places to put them, which in of itself can be challenging.

Here is a sample of some "down low" shots I've done with the GoPro. Yes its a dirt bike, yes it's a 2 stroke, so it vibrates a lot, but you can get an idea of what the worst of the worst looks like.

https://youtu.be/7mkhsRTQWiM?t=10s
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#4 Justin Everett Gum

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 03:50 PM

I shoot quite a bit of on-motorcycle footage for a youtube series I produce, both off-road and on-road. I have tried many times to get my Blackmagic Pocket camera to produce an image anywhere near that of my GoPro's, but I haven't been able to. The amount of kit required to mount, even that little pocket camera with a lightweight lens, is actually pretty crazy.

The GoPro has a unique advantage of being light, cheap and has already made mounts available. The moment you try to stick a bigger/heavier camera on there, you'll be forced to use a totally different mounting system. Also, because cameras like the GoPro have super wide angle lenses, things like engine vibration are not as noticed in the image.

I have a kit which I acquired from a friend of mine who shot motorcycle and car stuff for decades. There are screw in brackets that squeeze the frame and/or simply screw into a pre-existing fitting. Motorcycles these days, don't have many places to put a system like this. The plates then have attachments for speed rail, which will allow you to attach anything you want to the bike. Suction cup mounts can also work great, but they only work on flat/fixed surfaces.

After you've got all of that nailed and your rig is installed, the last thing you've gotta deal with is vibration from the engine. Depending on the bike, most motorcycle engines do vibrate at frequencies that can distort the cameras imaging. This is because you've directly attached a mount to the frame of the bike and real motorcycles, don't have any engine isolation to the frame. This is where you need some sort of isolation system to help with that, which can be home made using rubber bushings, or rented. The rental ones look like tripod heads, but there is an isolation mount in between the components that basically removes quite a bit of these vibrations. Cheap solution to solve this problem with a lightweight camera is to build your own mount out rubber bits that you can use to go between the camera and the tripod head on your mount. This is less of a problem with suction cup mounts because they automatically provide some vibration reduction.

So yea, it's a bit more difficult then meets the eye. If you can acquire the right components from a grip house, you will still need to disassemble the bike enough to find places to put them, which in of itself can be challenging.

Here is a sample of some "down low" shots I've done with the GoPro. Yes its a dirt bike, yes it's a 2 stroke, so it vibrates a lot, but you can get an idea of what the worst of the worst looks like.

https://youtu.be/7mkhsRTQWiM?t=10s

 

 

Thank you for this comprehensive explanation! I will want to look into the rig you have set up.

 

It seems GoPro may be the way to go. I was hoping I could use like a lightweight DSLR like a Sony A7S, but if you can't even get a BMPCC to provide the same results, then I'm not convinced the A7S would work either. However, I was wondering... have you have tried using a gimbal to resist against vibration? I was thinking something like an OSMO or some of the handheld gimbals like the Ikan Beholder.

 

Thoughts?


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#5 Edward Lawrence Conley III

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 04:40 PM

Might be able to get away with magic arms

 

http://www.websterwi...01_archive.html

 

Scroll down past the girl smoking a cigar


Edited by Edward Lawrence Conley III, 02 December 2016 - 04:41 PM.

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#6 Justin Everett Gum

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 06:05 PM

Might be able to get away with magic arms

 

http://www.websterwi...01_archive.html

 

Scroll down past the girl smoking a cigar

 

I love this idea. He's even able to use the larger DSLRs on this rig, which is really encouraging. I'll look into this. Thanks!


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#7 Edward Lawrence Conley III

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 06:31 PM

Where are you located?


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#8 Justin Everett Gum

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 06:40 PM

Where are you located?

 

Located in LA, but our shoot where our motorcycle footage will be shot is in Bedfordshire, UK.


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#9 JD Hartman

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 08:19 AM

Why don't you just hire a UK Grip with vehicle mount experience? 

Would eliminate the whole: How do I do it (mounting points)?; What grip gear do I need?; Where do I rent it?


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#10 Justin Everett Gum

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 02:05 PM

Why don't you just hire a UK Grip with vehicle mount experience? 

Would eliminate the whole: How do I do it (mounting points)?; What grip gear do I need?; Where do I rent it?

 

 

Our budget cannot afford a UK grip and at the same time, I'm here to learn. It helps if you have input on the topic...


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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 02:09 PM

I think many of us are loathe to give out advice when there's a safety issue involved and we're not experts in that particular job, same goes for electrical advice.


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#12 Justin Everett Gum

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 02:11 PM

I think many of us are loathe to give out advice when there's a safety issue involved and we're not experts in that particular job, same goes for electrical advice.

 

 

Fair enough. But even when you're a DP working with your key grip, i'm sure a rig set up or two sticks, especially considering your points, no? I'm not opposed to sticking a go-pro on a sticky mount. I'm just seeing if there are other ways with higher end cameras.


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#13 JD Hartman

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 02:40 PM

Did you post an image of the motorbike you're mounting the camera on or the year. make and model?  No! 

Who's to know what skills or experience you have.  Kind of difficult to give advice in such a case, isn't it? 

 

Guess I could make some generalities, try for three hard points on the frame, all roughly in the same plane.....  Safety the camera separately from the mount.  Be certain to have liability insurance and shoot on a closed road or private property.


Edited by JD Hartman, 03 December 2016 - 02:50 PM.

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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 03:02 PM

As JD says, the general rule is to mount arms from three hard points, but it's hard to find three points on the front of a motorcycle that are locked together in motion.
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#15 Justin Everett Gum

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 03:11 PM

Did you post an image of the motorbike you're mounting the camera on or the year. make and model?  No! 

Who's to know what skills or experience you have.  Kind of difficult to give advice in such a case, isn't it? 

 

Guess I could make some generalities, try for three hard points on the frame, all roughly in the same plane.....  Safety the camera separately from the mount.  Be certain to have liability insurance and shoot on a closed road or private property.

 

 

I'm just looking for ideas, bud. So generalities help a ton. This set up would be a very new thing to me, so seeing what the earlier posts have provided helped me on how I want to rig it. But I literally just got the pics for the motorcycle.

 

https://www.instagra...m/p/w7gqNmsnAF/

 

https://www.instagra...m/p/pFEEuIsnKm/

 

I can't really make out the model/year outside of it being a honda. It looks relatively small and lightweight. My hope is to rig something like a 1DX like the pics Edward showed with the Magic Arm.

 

Bear in mind, the motorcycle is in the UK while I'm planning this here in LA. 


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#16 JD Hartman

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 03:31 PM

"This set up would be a very new thing to me,.....", so you shouldn't be doing it unless you are working with someone experienced with rigging vehicles, at the very least a very clever Grip.    I've seen rigs fall off of golf carts that were built by guys who claimed they knew what they were doing, lots more possibility for injury with a motorcycle.


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#17 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 03:34 PM

Our budget cannot afford a UK grip and at the same time, I'm here to learn. It helps if you have input on the topic...


JD is 100% accurate with his statement. If you plan on rigging a real camera to a motorcycle, it requires expertise. This is why I simply suggested the Go Pro because it's a consumer product with extremely limited consequence if something were to go wrong. My GoPro's have fallen off my motorcycles countless times, even to the point of one's tether being severed in a crash. They just bounce and generally survive the incident in tact. A real camera won't and with improper rigging, the motorcyclists life is at stake. This is why the Go Pro mounts are made of plastic. If something happens, they simply snap off, which is a great safety feature. When a speed rail rig collapses, it generally digs into the ground, causing the motorcycle to crash.
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#18 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 03:37 PM

Ohh and the bike is an early 90's CB400.

If you removed the seat, you can use the subframe as a way to attach rigging.
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#19 Justin Everett Gum

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 04:03 PM

"This set up would be a very new thing to me,.....", so you shouldn't be doing it unless you are working with someone experienced with rigging vehicles, at the very least a very clever Grip.    I've seen rigs fall off of golf carts that were built by guys who claimed they knew what they were doing, lots more possibility for injury with a motorcycle.

 

 

Well, I should've mentioned, I do have a grip team. Just not a UK one. And they are good. But the reason why I made this thread in the first place is just to gather ideas from other people who may have rigged motorcycles before so I can possibly transfer some ideas to them. I'm not the one rigging it personally. I've overseeing the rigging. I made this thread hoping to see if other people had experience with this.


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#20 Justin Everett Gum

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 04:07 PM

JD is 100% accurate with his statement. If you plan on rigging a real camera to a motorcycle, it requires expertise. This is why I simply suggested the Go Pro because it's a consumer product with extremely limited consequence if something were to go wrong. My GoPro's have fallen off my motorcycles countless times, even to the point of one's tether being severed in a crash. They just bounce and generally survive the incident in tact. A real camera won't and with improper rigging, the motorcyclists life is at stake. This is why the Go Pro mounts are made of plastic. If something happens, they simply snap off, which is a great safety feature. When a speed rail rig collapses, it generally digs into the ground, causing the motorcycle to crash.

 

 

Safety is absolutely key. I'm not hoping to put a high end DC camera on there. Like I said to JD, I do have a grip team that will be rigging. I mean, if you feel the Go Pro way is the best way to go about, I will send that to my director. I was hoping to use something with better compression and DR but I'm not going to risk anyone's safety because of it. As I stated, I was hoping to see if anyone who has rigged a lot had any ideas so I can share that with my team. Most of the videos I've seen mainly included the action cam rigs that you've mentioned or a completely custom-designed chassis that allowed high end cameras on a gimbal, which is obviously not what I'm planning on.


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