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Planes, Trains and Rolling Shutter


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#1 Chad Mahadevan

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 01:18 PM

I have a shoot coming up that requires a specific shot on a train (the LA Metro 25 to 30 mph)(see pic attachment below).  The only dilemma I face is deciding which format to go with.  I can choose to use an A7S 2 w/ shogun w/ zeiss primes (8 bit prores 422) or a Sony Fs7 w/ fujinon 19-90 (10 bit 422).  The issue is that the camera HAS to be handheld (no easy rig/no gimbal) and the shot has to be somewhat smooth.  Clearly the fs7 is the better option (due to the compression/quality) but I'm worried about seeing the movement/swaying/micro-jitters of the train.  The reason for the A7S option would be for the internal image stabilization and the small form factor, BUT i'm wondering if the rolling shutter will be an issue for the background movement.  I plan on being at around a 50mm about 5 ft away from the subject.  Does anyone here have experience shooting on trains and what issues entail?

 

train shot.jpg


Edited by Chad Mahadevan, 02 December 2016 - 01:29 PM.

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#2 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 01:47 PM

I mean, I'm a railfan, so I've been shooting on trains for my entire life. Honestly, the A7S has one of the worst rolling shutters of any modern camera, it's atrocious. The FS7 is WAY better in every way, but it also sticks out in a crowd.

I use the blackmagic pocket cameras for most of my personal shooting, mainly because they're small, 10 bit 4:2:2 or 12 bit RAW recording internally without any gadgets attached. This way, when I'm shooting in places I shouldn't be, I look like a still photographer, rather then a videographer. This is a problem when shooting on trains and I've been kicked off trains with ENG style cameras many times. So the smaller the camera, the more "still" camera it looks, the better.

Here are two of the dozens of videos I've made on trains with my pocket. If you scroll ahead in both videos, you can see the onboard stuff. These were done hand-held, the steam train with a monopod.




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#3 Chad Mahadevan

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 02:49 PM

I mean, I'm a railfan, so I've been shooting on trains for my entire life. Honestly, the A7S has one of the worst rolling shutters of any modern camera, it's atrocious. The FS7 is WAY better in every way, but it also sticks out in a crowd.

I use the blackmagic pocket cameras for most of my personal shooting, mainly because they're small, 10 bit 4:2:2 or 12 bit RAW recording internally without any gadgets attached. This way, when I'm shooting in places I shouldn't be, I look like a still photographer, rather then a videographer. This is a problem when shooting on trains and I've been kicked off trains with ENG style cameras many times. So the smaller the camera, the more "still" camera it looks, the better.

Here are two of the dozens of videos I've made on trains with my pocket. If you scroll ahead in both videos, you can see the onboard stuff. These were done hand-held, the steam train with a monopod.



 

 

Hey Tyler,

 

Thanks for the response!  I wish that I had the ability to shoot RAW on this one but unfortunately I'm stuck with the Sonys.  Looks like you have a pretty similar shot to the one i'd like to accomplish in you're first video (2:27), but I don't know if the client will accept that amount of micro-jitters (the A7S would eliminate most of that).  Usually, i'd dump a warp stabilizer effect on it in post and call it a day, but I don't think that would work for this one.  Thanks again for your input!


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#4 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 03:11 PM

Just need a shoulder rig to stabilize the microjitters. It just adds to the complexity of a small camera.

The FS7 won't have those problems because you can simply shoulder mount it if you want, which removes all those problems.
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 03:38 PM

If you are forced to shoot A7S, I seem to recall (but check for yourself) that the rolling shutter is less severe in APS crop mode than it is in full frame mode. It usually works like that; it does on the Ursa Mini.

 

But in general I'd second Tyler that it's one of the wobbliest out there, and very much not your friend in the circumstance you describe.

 

P


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#6 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 03:47 PM

I would take the FS7. Even with the APS-C crop the rolling shutter is bad. Not to mention the FS7 is a heavy-enough camera to be relatively stable through motion. 


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#7 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 08:12 PM

Do you have permission to shoot on the train.. I would think thats the biggest deal for choice of camera.. if not and you cant afford to be kicked off it has to be the smaller one I guess..   although the bare bones Fs7 with small batteries and a 50mm stills lens is also pretty small.. but A7S it would be hard for anyone to argue you are not just an amateur taking a few video,s of a mate..

 

If you dont have any dialogue .. you could over crank a bit .. to smooth things out ..  ?

 

I did a whole episode of a UK program.. "Extreme Railway Journeys with Chris Tarrant" Japan...(not sure if its on in the US) ..but its on Youtube.. ..that was probably thousands of shots of people on about 15 trains.. ! all hand held with an F5.. .. alot depends how "wobbly" your train is.. but as the others have said.. actually having a heavy camera on your shoulder helps to stabilize it..  you are also wobbling in sync with your subject.. and well, trains do move.. its natural.. I wouldn't worry too much that it has to be totally static..  but the heavier camera on your shoulder will be your friend ..


Edited by Robin R Probyn, 02 December 2016 - 08:25 PM.

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#8 Chad Mahadevan

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 08:22 PM

All very good points.  I think I'm going to scout the metro this weekend w/ an A7S to test the rolling shutter...


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#9 aapo lettinen

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 01:35 AM

do you have any sync sound and which type of moves you are intending to do with the camera... would it be possible to use a gyro stabilizer to help with the vibrations? (I'm meaning a Kenyon type spinning wheel gyro stabilizer, NOT a gimbal)


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