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Grabbing night footage solo.


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#1 George Ebersole

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 12:24 AM

So, what I'd like to do is grab a bunch of night shots of San Francisco, notably around the downtown area, and maybe around North Beach or Koit tower.

 

I bought a relatively cheapo DSLR for the task, but am a little concerned about going out at night by myself to gather footage, even in the relatively safe areas of the city.

 

Has anyone ever done this?  When I was a teen I used to do this king of thing, but now that I'm middle aged I'm a bit more concerned about myself and my gear.

 

Any safety tips are welcome.


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#2 aapo lettinen

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 04:09 AM

generally for that type of work you need a bag where the camera can be transported fully assembled (not a camera bag! just a basic normal bag which does not draw attention at all and does not look it could contain anything expensive) and ready to shoot. if your camera is small enough it can even fit in your pocket like I sometimes do with the GH4 and cctv lens... 

then you can scout the area like a normal person without walking around with the camera visible (showing off your equipment is always a bad idea) and can instantly hide the camera when you've got the shot. 

 

I don't know your locations at all (never even visited the US) but generally the "hide camera whenever it is not used for actual shooting" and "always operate so that you can start running for safety in couple of seconds if something goes wrong" work quite well in all urban areas around the world :)


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#3 George Ebersole

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 08:13 AM

Thanks aapo.  San Francisco is one of the safer cities in the US, but there've been a few spikes in crime around the tourist areas, and there's always the annoying drunks here and there.  The continued tech boom has changed the demographics for the better, in my not so humble opinion, but there's still some crime and rowdy individuals who want what you got.  

 

It's funny, 20 years ago I would have just grabbed my gear and start shooting stuff, collecting really cool shots wherever.  I guess when you get older you get a little more cautious about everything.


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#4 George Ebersole

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 07:08 PM

p.s. part of the reason I ask is that I keep hearing on the radio that crime rates go up during warm weather, and we've had some pretty hot days here in the bay area.  I'm a decent sized guy, and not easily intimidated, but at the same time I don't want to have to "defend my gear" as it were.


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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 08:36 PM

If you can, take a friend with you.


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#6 Justin Hayward

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 07:32 PM

And if you see the same guy walk past you twice... leave.


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#7 aapo lettinen

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 11:26 PM

p.s. part of the reason I ask is that I keep hearing on the radio that crime rates go up during warm weather, and we've had some pretty hot days here in the bay area.  I'm a decent sized guy, and not easily intimidated, but at the same time I don't want to have to "defend my gear" as it were.

defending your gear may not be the best idea, the junkies and other shady people may carry knives and you will get cut if trying to fight them, even if you have some decent mma skills. It is always much safer to run away ( and to be reasonably aware of your surroundings when walking around so that you can see potential problems beforehand and discreetly change to the other side of the street if there seems to be problems ahead )
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#8 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 11:57 PM

This is the primary reason I prefer Arri equipment, because when it comes to a scrap, I know that I cave a grown man's skull in wielding nothing more than a studio follow focus.


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#9 Robert Hart

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 06:39 AM

If I go all nervous and trembly and drop my SI2K on his foot, it will nail him to the spot and he will go nowhere.


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#10 aapo lettinen

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 08:17 AM

If I go all nervous and trembly and drop my SI2K on his foot, it will nail him to the spot and he will go nowhere.

 

:lol:

 

another way would be to use the bulkiest ancient super heavy tripod +sandbags with the camera so that it is impossible to run with it (most junkies have no idea how to detach a camera from the tripod so they would have no other option than to try to grab the whole 150+ lbs package and "run"  :D you would get the camera back when they would run out of steam couple of seconds later  B)   )


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