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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old May 8th, 2007, 12:27 PM   #1
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shooting planes

Anyone have advice shooting fast airplanes?

Will be shooting with XL2 & 24p (maybe 30p?); but don't know yet if it's best to shoot with the 20x or 3x. With the 20x I could zoom in close(er) to the action; with the 3x I could get the whole action scene; I guess I could also just change lenses in between races.

Which settings should I use---24p at faster than 1/48th (1/75?) speed?

The Red Bull Air Race is in Monument Valley, Utah this week; they'll will be doing several trial runs before the actual race (weather permiting); so I should be able to use different settings, and set-ups and see which ones work best.

--JA
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Old May 8th, 2007, 12:32 PM   #2
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I don't have a ton of experience, but from everything I know you should definitely shoot in 30P. I'm guessing with fast moving planes, you will be doing a lot of quick pans, which can be very jittery in 24p.
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Old May 9th, 2007, 11:52 AM   #3
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Thanks Paul. I thought 30p was the way to go as well, to reduce the "judders" of shooting fast motion.

--JA
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Old May 9th, 2007, 09:46 PM   #4
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keep a steady hand... just kidding...

I shoot billfish greyhounding and jumping across the water with an XL2... I have experience taking stills at airshows as well... I shoot with my camera on my shoulder from the boat... and I would say the best thing you can do, besides practicing your swing through with the aircraft, is to tuck your elbows in to your body and sort of become a tight single unit with your camera. This has worked well for me, and it's as steady as can be. You will find a position with your hands and elbows that will feel secure and easy to swing. Do you have any shooting experience with shotguns or rifles? It's the same kind of feeling shooting moving subjects with a camera.

Hope that helps a little...???
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Old May 11th, 2007, 10:26 AM   #5
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Thanks Matthew; good advice about the shotgun/rifle, as the XL2 can feel somewhat like a loaded "canon" sometimes (pun intended :)

Shot some planes taking off the runway yesterday, but we were right behind the fence that we felt like an outsider; but it did give it sort of a doc feel. (Actually, me and my wife felt like paparazzi, as she was shooting stills, and me shooting video through the fence!) Word of common sense advice--don't stand behind a small plane when it's ready to take off! And if you do, hold on tight to your gear!!!

We'll be shooting more planes today, as they go through their time trials; this time, hopefully, no fence will be blocking our shots!

--JA
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Old May 12th, 2007, 10:55 AM   #6
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For the best results, follow Matthew's suggestions and imagine you are shooting with a gun, rather than a cam. For anything with speed, you must lead your target. With guns, it's because the bullet takes time to get to the target, but with film or video, it's because your moving target needs "face space," to show an image of where the target is going, rather than where it's been.
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Old May 12th, 2007, 01:27 PM   #7
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If it is a one-off, then why not add an extra camera. I occaisionaly attach a small JVC handicam to the top handle of my bigger cameras, and leave it on wide, recording. That way even if the fast moving plane gets a bit out of frame, you still have something. I don't normally do planes, but fast racing speedboats.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 12:00 AM   #8
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Thanks Jack and Paul R for the replies and advice!

Alas, the Red Bull Air Race in Monument Valley has come and gone. Don't know if it was a success for Red Bull (don't think they sold all the tickets they needed to sell), but it was certainly fun watching and capturing those planes flying over 250mph! Whew!

Anyway, I shot in 24p but in faster shutter modes. It seemed to work fine and the images looked good. As far as following the planes, it was tough work. With the 20x, I really couldn't zoom in as close as I wanted as it got too shaky. Pulling back the zoom, I captured the action a bit better. I think I captured enough variety of the action, close and far. Hopefully, I can post some samples.

But for now check out their website: www.redbullairrace.com

--JA
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Old May 14th, 2007, 04:35 AM   #9
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Be aware that if you post any clips on Youtube and claim copyright on your own origination, a complaint may be made against you, your clip will be shut down and the placard will remain on the website even if you remove your membership, not good if you identify your own production entity.

I set up two cams on one tripod, one with a long zoom, the other with standard zoom. I use the long zoom to get what close-up shots I can and boresight to follow for the wider camera which means smoother follows.

For the wides you have to make up your mind whether the frame stays static and you let the planes do the moving because follwouing a small object gets very boring very quickly.

I also use an old heavy Miller fluid head tripod.

Try to find a position where combined vertical and horizontal movements are (EDIT-->>) NOT needed of the tripod head for your follows. These are harder to co-ordinate.

Last edited by Bob Hart; May 14th, 2007 at 10:21 AM. Reason: error
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Old May 14th, 2007, 04:44 AM   #10
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Bob - I don't understand the thing about youtube and copyright? What would make them remove the clip on material you shoot yourself? (or have I got the wrong end of the stick)

One thing I have found very useful for the small amount of aircraft stuff I do is a post head! The normal style heads offer limited performance when tilted up at extreme angles. I'm a great fan of old Vinten broadcast kit, and I've got one of the cygnet heads and these can go up to vertical (and even over the top if you want them to). There's a small picture of it here

http://www.earsmedia.co.uk/_wp_gener...e52ddcf_0f.jpg

They are also good for drop shots from a jib.

Last edited by Paul R Johnson; May 14th, 2007 at 04:50 AM. Reason: additional material
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Old May 14th, 2007, 10:36 AM   #11
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I made an error in my post above regarding combined movments and it is corrected. Agreed the traditional tripod is very limiting in following overflying aircraft and birds.

I have thought about making one of those side heads but have not got around to it yet. One of those radar controlled gymbal things the US Navy uses in their Phalanx missile defence system would be just the ticket.

As for copyright, this address is where my clip used to be. In Perth WA there was no pay to see, it was in the public view.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnfnlMt_7FE

I thought the clip was fairly harmless.

My mistake it seems was claiming copyright on my own origination. As IMG apparently has broadcast rights and posting on Youtube is pitched as "broadcasting yourself" the dots are not so hard to connect.

IMG put a lot of resources into getting video coverage of it themselves so their jealous guarding of it is to be expected. I wouldn't object to 5 minutes in that big blue camera helicopter and that can not be cheap to run.

However the placard remains on Youtube to declare to those who know me and have the link in their computer still, that I am an alleged copyright infringer.

I was fairly irate at the time but have simmered down since.

Last edited by Bob Hart; May 14th, 2007 at 10:41 AM. Reason: error
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Old May 14th, 2007, 11:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Anselmo View Post
Thanks Paul. I thought 30p was the way to go as well, to reduce the "judders" of shooting fast motion.

--JA
I do NOT recommend 30P. I do not see a purpose of 30P.

I think you should shoot 24P or 60i.

You are better shoting 60i.... cause you can always convert 60i to 30P or 24P.

You may have issues converting 30P to 24P.

Another question you may ask are you ever going to convert to film.....

if yes ... once again shoot 24P or 60i.

There is a great book written by Pete Shaner called 24P I recommend you read it.... explains the intricacies of shooting 24P vs 30P vs 60i....
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Old May 14th, 2007, 11:54 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Max Todorov View Post
I do NOT recommend 30P. I do not see a purpose of 30P.
If you know of a reason for not using certain settings, then you should "NOT recommend" it. But not seeing a "purpose," expresses only your limited understanding, and is not enough for recommending against it.

30p has much of the film-like qualities of 24p, but it is smoother. And it looks great when watched from a DVD on your TV.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 04:13 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jack Barker View Post
If you know of a reason for not using certain settings, then you should "NOT recommend" it. But not seeing a "purpose," expresses only your limited understanding, and is not enough for recommending against it.

30p has much of the film-like qualities of 24p, but it is smoother. And it looks great when watched from a DVD on your TV.
I guess my key point is this:

you can always get 30P from 60i, but you can not go backward.

if you take 30P to be converted to film they will not take your footage.

So if you are looking for a movie like quality 24P is the way to go. If you are looking for versatility the 60i is the way to go. 30P would lock you in since not all basic software con covert 30P to 24P.

Hence..... if your PURPOSE is compatibility then 60i (cause 60i can be 60i or 30P and even 24P with proper software) beats 30P (can only be 30P), if your purpose is the film look, then 24P is the way to go..... When I say there is no purpose to shoot 30P , i mean that thats the least useful standard and therefore I do not recommend it.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 11:29 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Max Todorov View Post
I guess my key point is this:
you can always get 30P from 60i, but you can not go backward.
Are you then suggesting that you can go backward from 24p to 60i? If not, why bring up the versatility/compatibliity issue? (Below)

Quote:
if you take 30P to be converted to film they will not take your footage. So if you are looking for a movie like quality 24P is the way to go.
Yeah, you brought this up earlier. The OP didn't mention a film-out, so I don't see it's relevance here.

Quote:
If you are looking for versatility the 60i is the way to go. 30P would lock you in since not all basic software con covert 30P to 24P.
This is just silly. Why would you assume that he might want to convert from 60i or 30p to 24p, when he could just shoot 24p in the first place?

Quote:
Hence..... if your PURPOSE is compatibility then 60i (cause 60i can be 60i or 30P and even 24P with proper software) beats 30P (can only be 30P), if your purpose is the film look, then 24P is the way to go..... When I say there is no purpose to shoot 30P , i mean that thats the least useful standard and therefore I do not recommend it.
Well not quite. 30p is progressive as is 24p so it has an advantage over 60i in vertical resolution. And as I said before, it has many of the filmic qualities as 24p and yet it is smoother than 24p.
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