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#1 steven siegel

steven siegel

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 08:45 PM

I apologize if this is the wrong discussion group, but I didn't see one for "Techniques", so here goes.
I shoot flying birds with an Canon XL-1s and a long lens on a sturdy tripod and a smooth, well balanced, Bogen 315 head, adequate for the weight of the camera.
I have a special set-up to have a wide-angle view, even though the image is being captured in close-up. It is extremely hard to keep the subject centered. As it slows or speeds, or my body gets off balance, the image shifts right, left, up, down, all over. Of course the XL-1s with my lens requires manual focusing...making things even worse. Using slo-mo, or heavy editing in post helps, but it's not satisfactory. I asked a cinematographer once for advice, and he told me to get a film crew, or to practice. I've been doing this 20 years...I don't need extra practice. I figured it was just me, until watching the Shuttle landing the other day, and seeing the photographer there having the same problem. On the other hand, golf videographers seem to keep the ball centered, and lots of wildlife guys manage to get a few seconds of perfect footage. Am I missing something? Thanks for the advice.
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#2 laurie

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 11:00 PM

I shoot flying birds with an Canon XL-1s and a long lens on a sturdy tripod and a smooth, well balanced, Bogen 315 head, adequate for the weight of the camera.
I have a special set-up to have a wide-angle view, even though the image is being captured in close-up. It is extremely hard to keep the subject centered. As it slows or speeds, or my body gets off balance, the image shifts right, left, up, down, all over. Of course the XL-1s with my lens requires manual focusing...making things even worse.


If it was easy everyone could do it!
And you have it easier than a professsional because the small size chip of the XL-1s means you have more depth of field then on a larger format, professional motion picture camera.
The bigger the camera, the bigger the mass, the more stable it is on the right tripod - small and lightweight is not necessarily better in the real world.
If I was shooting as you are, professionally, I would attach a Kenlab gyro to the camera and solve all your instability problems.
The further back you are from the subject, the easier it is to follow - but you will need a longer lens - and if you are at right angles to the birds flight it wil also be easier, for longer, on a long lens. (you should try following supersonic aerobatic planes as I have professionally ) .
I would be using the viewfinder or a large monitor to follow them then you can see exactly what you are getting and avoid the "all over the place factor".

Laurie G
Helicopter aerial cinematographer
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