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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old March 27th, 2005, 09:06 PM   #1
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Quick & Dirty Shoulder Support for XL2?

Hello All,

Woo hoo! I made my first two sales of footage shot using my XL2! I'll be happy to recoup some of the fortune I spent on it.

But, I noticed that the camera gets REALLY heavy and likes to lean to the right after handheld shooting for more than a few minutes, and the footage starts to get shaky.

The work I do doesn't allow for tripod use and is all live, nonrepeatable, on-the-move stuff where the camera (and me) shoots as long as there is still tape, because you never know what's going to happen next.

Does anyone know of a quick-and-dirty shoulder stabilizing technique for handheld field work that will work for 30-60 minutes at a time?

Thanks!

Christian
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Old March 27th, 2005, 09:49 PM   #2
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Hi Christian ... aside from looking like a video geek with the various bits of kit available to assist your right arm's grip on the cam, the besy way is to work out and develop a stronger upper body .. Run and gun demands these kind of demands on your body and as you have noticed, the strain can affect your shots. A steadi -cam device will help but as you indicated, your style prevents the use of such devices.

You mentioned that you have shot some commercial scenes with the XL2 ... just curious to what end? Part of a paid shoot for a doc? Stock footage?

Let us know your success story without divulging your sources of course...
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Old March 27th, 2005, 11:00 PM   #3
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I managed to stumble across two major apartment building fires in the span of a week, both just as the fire engines were arriving. Lucky to have equipment in the trunk of my car, and noting no initial media presence, I shot the events and sold them to local network news stations.

Learned a few tricks about this business in the process:

* I was in a lighting class yesterday which had a number of network news tech people in it. They told me news stations buy all sorts of stuff from freelancers all the time in an attempt to fill their time.

* You need the money shot. Shooting a fire with lots of smoke doesn't interest them. They want to buy flames. On one fire which every news station appeared, I was the first there and caught some explosions everyone else missed. That tape went fast.

* Look for the last news station to arrive. The bird who misses the worm will be your best prospect for selling your tape to. Otherwise, call all your previous buyers first, then all other newsrooms and sell to the first caller.

* Always carry business cards, even if they are just personal ones, and always get the cards of everyone you talk to when selling a tape.

* The news techs also said all stations are at times shorthanded for cameramen, so you can put yourself on a call list if you have a good camera and know how to use it.

I've seen my footage played on television over and over, and you could not tell the difference between the XL2 and the BetaCams.

With a police scanner, some time on my hands, and living in a major city, I could see this paying the bills if I took it up. Fires, car crashes, crime scenes, protests, etc.

Christian
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Old March 28th, 2005, 02:29 AM   #4
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I'm curious, what kind of payment can you expect to get from the news stations for a good video?

I really have no idea what kind of figures they operate in, but if I ever got lucky and caught something I doubt I would have time to check on DV-info first to make sure im asking a fair and competitive price.
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Old March 28th, 2005, 07:04 AM   #5
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That is cool stuff. You are also likely a whole bunch more nimble than the van load 'o gear that the station has to transport.

In my market, about one tenth the size of yours, the local station isn't too interested in freelance contributions. The biggest disasters here usually happen as a result of vehicle operators not paying heed to the weather conditions. You have to be really fast to get that shot!

Chasing energency vehicles with scanners here is also a no no.

Anyway back to the topic. If you watch media scrums, often you will see a pistol grip below the lens. This left hand device might assist you and won't take any time to set up. Perhaps one of the sponsors here has this bit of kit available...
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Old March 28th, 2005, 10:02 AM   #6
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Christan,
How much would a local news room pay for a fire story like yours, generally? Is it 50 dollars or 100 dollars??? I have no Idea. Just curious, assuming this is a moderate size city of greater then 400,000 people....
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Old March 28th, 2005, 11:15 AM   #7
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Sounds interesting, I always see crazy stuff happening. Heck I live in S-Cali everything goes here :) How do they pay you? Up front, cash or how do you know for sure your getting paid. Its pretty interesting. Should I just call the station or give us details please...
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Old March 28th, 2005, 01:54 PM   #8
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Wow...lots of ambulance chasers here... :-)
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Old March 28th, 2005, 02:21 PM   #9
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Each station pays differently, but the average is $200, and could be more or less depending on the content. Exploding buildings can fetch much more than mundane fires. Events where people are injured pay more than no one is injured. You know the saying, "if it bleeds it leads?" It also pays more.

All stations ask that you invoice them and include your SSN, as they do report your income to the IRS. From invoice to check is usually two weeks.

Christian
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