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Old July 25th, 2005, 03:41 AM   #16
Join Date: May 2005
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert
Gabriele, would you share with us a bit about the shot you are planning and what Steadicam type rig you are using?

The shot is for a documentary about an old discoteque that is going to be demolished.

I need to follow the former caretaker walking around this location, in the daylight.

I have the choice to use a steadycam (Glidecam 4000 Pro) or not, it's possible that for the kind of result I need the second option will suit better.
It should look like a "trip into a nightmare"... I know it sounds odd but that old club is something really scaring

I have a XL2 with a 7" Nebtek display, stock lenses + Canon wide angle, polarizer filter
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Old July 25th, 2005, 05:44 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Stephanie Wilson
This may or not get me thrown off, but are we here to coodle newbies, or actually teach them something. I would think they MIGHT actually be interested in acquiring the knowledge they are requesting.


Stephanie Wilson
Stephanie, speaking as a 'newbie', not everyone here wants to put in the time to be a Charles Papert level camera operator, but a few pointers are helpful. Others here do want to learn it all.

You and Dan are obviously of the "full immersion" school which works for some people if they are going to be shooting regularly and are trying to significantly improve their camera operation technique. Dan provided the input this type of 'newbie' would be looking for. Chris provided the info needed for a newbie just trying to get the shot right at his/her current skill level. Gabriele never indicated what her level of expertise was.

Chris, I appreciate your opinion concerning the prioritization of basic shot tasks. I'll be in column B for a long while and may never graduate to option A.

Dan, thanks for a good description of the technique you use and the confidence that any of us 'newbies' can achieve it if we practice long enough. I think you underestimate how proficient you've become as the thought of full manual on a sled shot just scares the fire out of me.

I'm certain between Dan and Chris, Gabriele has found something to learn from.
Fear No Weevil!

Last edited by Patrick King; July 25th, 2005 at 06:24 AM.
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Old July 25th, 2005, 08:47 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Gabriele Cerlini

I'm very new to film making and I need some basic suggestions about how to set up my XL2 to shoot a long take with a steadycam.

The light conditions can vary during the shot, but not extremely (it's all shot in open air).

I'm worried about focus and over/underexposures.

Should I use the "green" setting of the camera and concentrate on the picture or is there any simple tweaking that even a novice could handle in real time in the semi-automatic modes?

P.S. I've already tried a long shot following my grandson running in a park, I've used the green setting and all was Ok, there were no focus/light changes problems. Only, I don't know if this is the best picture I can get from the XL2.
Quick 2 cents:

I would block out the entire path of your shot.. choose the best overall exposure that won't over expose within your frame (if possible), yet uses your cameras settings to ensure the highest Fstop possible withing your limitations. Keep the shot wide enough so that the subject won't accidentally wander out of frame and focus for the general distance that you will be from the subject (taking into consideration the important background information). try and keep that distance consistent during the shot.

You may have to up the gain in order to ensure a high enough Fstop, but this will help ensure that you don't loose focus.

And above all, choose a day where the contrast of your scene is not too high... an overcast day might be preferable, especially considering the subject matter. Otherwise you may need to bounce light into the shadows or diffuse the sunlight to soften and reduce the strength, which would be difficult for most of us (from an equipment standpoint) on an expansive traveling shot. Of course if you have a few 2K HMIs you may be OK :-)

You can now get a shot that doesn't react to the scenes light level, and is in focus. Any tweaks to exposure can be handled easily in post as long as you keep all of the detail you need when you shoot the scene.
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Old July 25th, 2005, 09:20 AM   #19
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Well stated, Chris. Auto focus isn't all bad. There are some situations in which it can be very useful.
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Old July 25th, 2005, 11:38 AM   #20
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This sort of thing is actually quite tricky to capture with a stabilizer, even on a larger scale shoot. Not so much from a focus perspective--as we know, DV delivers virtually everything in focus when shooting at a wide angle (even at the wide setting of the standard XL2 lens). The exposure in an environment that Gabriele described is going to vary widely if windows are involved, and certainly an automatic setting would create a problem when a blown-out window comes into view. However, few nightclubs have windows, so perhaps this wouldn't be an issue.

The idea of adjusting the iris while shooting with a stabilizer goes beyond "newbie" and "seasoned vet" into "problematic". One should be keeping both hands on the rig at all times, and certainly not fiddling with controls during a shot as it will inevitably bump the camera. You'd have a slightly easier time with a ring-type iris control such as would be found on the old XL 14x manual lens than with the current XL2 iris control. In this situation you can use the camera's viewfinder to judge exposure, but in larger rigs that incorporate a monitor that is less likely to be as accurate as the camera's (and won't have zebras), it's another challenge to assess if you have selected the right exposure.

So, my long-winded point is--when using a stabilizer, using a set-and-forget setting for both focus and exposure within a shot is generally a necessity for beginners and advanced users alike. Until you are using a level of technology that allows someone else to ride the settings (i.e. shading from a truck via triax, or a wireless remote focus and iris control), this is the best way to go.

Gabriele, if you feel comfortable using the Glidecam, I think it sounds great for the application you describe--many people feel that Steadicam shots look "spooky" by nature, and even if you haven't had that much time using the rig and the shots are a bit floaty, that might even add to the look!
Charles Papert
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Old July 25th, 2005, 02:52 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
I always advise beginners to concentrate first on proper shot composition. To me, learning how to frame the shot is a much more immediate priority over manual camera control.
Amen brotha! I quote:
"Good camera work begins with composition." The 5 C's of Cinematography
by Joseph V. Mascelli [One of the top essential books for filmmakers]

As long as she uses iris lock (avoiding the amateur look), the camera will do an excellent job IMHO.
XL2: power to go, quality to impress
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Old July 27th, 2005, 12:53 PM   #22
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I have to say that your feedback helped me a lot, and was very informative too, sometimes almost "philosophical"!

At the end, I shot in Tv mode, and all went OK, no focus problems or overexposures. I've used a camera preset suggested by someone on this forum and the colors are vibrant, even without any CC.

I will give you the link to my first "masterpiece" soon!

Thanxx again
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Old August 1st, 2005, 01:36 PM   #23
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Although I never recommend auto mode, this is one instance where it is the only solution. Most the time the person operating the steadicam is focused SOLELY on keeping the correct plane and keeping the proper framing, you cant possibly manually control the camera and do this. Sounds like you figured it out...

ash =o)
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