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Old December 10th, 2007, 09:07 PM   #16
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Hot off the presses........

Just now managed to track down the individual concerned @ WOW and have a good chat.

The BAD news is he believes that they either have already or will be in the next day or so, signing an exclusive video contract with another production company (name and location not known).

The GOOD news is that he has no idea what they are planning to shoot with, had no idea what HD actually was, and doesn't know if the exclusive deal is SD/ HD or both.

Quite why this guy didn't know these details was not explained.

There is, apparently "a meeting" taking place on Thursday of this week where the issue of SD/ HD will be raised - which gives me some measure of hope we might be able to "piggy back" in with this other company.

I do stress "some".

More news as and when.


PS. No mail Philip - must have got lost.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 09:35 PM   #17
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Sorry - not sure where it went. I have an NTSC/PAL XH-A1. I probably won't be able to afford to fly there from Chicago, though, so I may not be able to take part in this - I didn't realize at first that we'd be paying that out of pocket.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know I might be available if you get desperate and need to import an extra hand... (-:

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Old December 10th, 2007, 11:55 PM   #18
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Thanks Philip.........

Good to know.

We'll see how things pan out, I can't do anything more till I find out just what this "exclusive" deal is all about.

I can tell you I'm going to be a pretty sick parrot if I discover they're a SD mob doing the "same 'ol, same 'ol" when they could have gone HD.

Haven't given up yet.

More "as and when".

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Old December 11th, 2007, 10:15 AM   #19
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If your serious about getting us there I'd definitely be interested. I`m another one whose about 25 hours flight away (I know since my gf lives in Taiwan). My gear

Canon XH-A1
Firestore FS-C
Sennheiser ME-66 with pole
Sennheiser G2 Lav
Glidecam 2000
Bogen 503 HDV headed tripod

The sand is one major concern would have to think about that a lot. I do fall in the category however of 'have not shot pro but want to be shown how since I'm a quick learner'. I just got my editing Mac and awaiting software so I really don;t have much edited yet thats current to show you. But I am interested if you are serious about getting us there.

*oops Just re-read and we have to pay airfare. No can do. I can't even afford to go see my girlfriend who would take priority if i did have the money, unless we met in NZ hah. Or if you happen to get a budget where you can fly people in, let me know.
Cinematography Site
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Old December 11th, 2007, 04:51 PM   #20
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Am not a traveller or intending particpant, but am an aero enthusiast. Just a suggestion, besides the on ground stuff and getting humans in the shot from time-to-time, practice your ground-to-air skills beforehand. It is something you lose unless you use it.

Try to get at least one old fashioned Miller Fluid head, the biggest and ugliest wooden legged one you can find. When using this, back off all the friction controls and exercise the head in full excursions a few days beforehand and again on the day. Store it with friction controls backed off.

In absence of heavy aircraft traffic, find a place with lots of seabirds and people. The seabird get moved around by the people. The birds can be as unpredictable as aircraft performing aerobatics and are good to practice on.

On the day, try to set some of your cameras up for the aerobatics well, back from the performance area so that you don not have to elevate more than about 45 degrees. Set your sticks high so that for a groundlevel view, you are just on your tiptoes to the viewfinder.

Learn to use your left eye to "boresight" the camera to "aquire" your aircraft and to "re-aquire" it when it changes direction and flies out of your shot. It is near impossible to aquire via the LCD screen but easier to follow on the LCD once you have aquired the aircraft.

It is sometimes helpful to harmonise the camera viewfinder with a simple ring sight for aquiriing or to harmonise it with another wide-view camera on the same tripod head.

For the JVC GY-HD101, if you can get a Les Bosher adaptor for SLR lenses, NIkon or Canon, doesn't matter you can use this to mount some long SLR lenses. I use a Sigma 50mm-500mm for my ground-to-airs on a Sony Z1 via an adaptor but that is another story.

You need a zoom. Aquiring and holding with telephoto primes whilst not impossible is extremely difficult.

A bit of my stuff is on YouTube at "DARANGULAFILM". Look for "35 versus 300" and "Tiger Balm" or "The Tiger is 75".

Old towels are helpful to keep a bit of the dust off your cameras and for a quick sunshade.

For the aeros, one camera on medium wide, track the plane only as much as you need to for keeping it on the shot and let the plane do the moving as much as possible, especially if it is laying smoke. Keep some ground reference in the shot. From the same viewpoint also have a long view close up on the aeros. The compositional rule of "Nose-room" applies in aeros. It is also helpful in dealing with sudden directional changes as you have room left in the frame for catch-up.


Last edited by Bob Hart; December 11th, 2007 at 04:58 PM. Reason: added text
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Old December 11th, 2007, 05:10 PM   #21
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Shooting aircraft

Great advice! Thanks Bob. Wish I'd seen some words of wisdom like this post before I took my cam to Duxford Flying Legends airshow here in the UK this last summer!

I sure learnt the hard way that shooting low and fast flying aircraft well during displays is no mean feat. My errors were only partially recoverable in post - some of the most challenging stuff I've ever done (and some of the most rewarding in the very few shots where I got it absolutely right!)
Andy K Wilkinson - http://www.shootingimage.co.uk
Cambridge (UK) Corporate Video Production
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Old December 12th, 2007, 04:21 AM   #22
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Thanks, Nathan & Bob............

had writen quite a legthy response to both of you, but Google/ the Internet ate it.

Nathan - rest assured, if budget appears, so will the post on DVinfo.

Bob - thanks for the input. All well taken and digested, and, believe you me, I am not, in any way, underestimating the sheer scale of attempting this project.

I will, however, make a point of printing off your post and making sure all participating parties have it well in advance, should it come to that.

Thanks again.

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Old December 12th, 2007, 08:27 AM   #23
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I neglected to mention that for the long camera my adaptor is an AGUS35, sort of poor man's MINI35. This enables 1/3" cams to see through 35mm stills lenses as if the cam is a 35mm movie camera. The field-of-view for the 50mm - 500mm lens is closer to 35mm motion picture sized frame.

I have used it with groundglass in and groundglass removed. There isn't a great deal of difference. With groundglass in you lose a bit of light but no vignette. With groundglass removed (aerial image) you have to zoom all the way in to avoid the native vignette of the SLR lens on front.

With the Z1Ps, working it this way results in identical overlapping field-of-view from about 45-54mm zoom-in on the wide cam (which is not modified in any way) and 50mm to about 65mm on the Sigma on front of the adaptor.

For the same aperture, the unmodded cam needs ND2, when the modded cam needs ND1.

For "Tiger Balm" the groundglass was removed. For "35 versus 300", the groundglass remained in place.

When using an adaptor like this, there is a lot of added glass and contrast is not as good, especially when shooting against the bright sky.

Most of the wide stuff of aircraft in flight I end up not using when the cameras are twinned onto the fluid head tripod. It just provides a backup if I lose the aircraft out of the long shot. I use both cameras together when operating alone.

In my local area, I find lighting conditions for clear skies vary quite a lot. Murray Field over here is near a large lake and the ocean and there are a lot of sandy paddocks dotted with small winter lakes and swamps.

The lighting off the sky is quite harsh on the eyes, planes difficult to spot and to see in the viewfinders, eyepiece and LCD. Only about 10km away is Serpentine. It is a little furthur inland and there is a mix of light to medium scrubland and sandy paddocks.

The light return from the sky is nowhere near as harsh. If you get a chance to scope out Wanaka before the event, try to do so. Sun behind camera is ideal but ground reflection in the sky return can sometimes be kinder when shooting across the sun.

UV can be expected to be high so don't forget the sunscreen and hat. A UV filter on the camera may be helpful also. I wear a baseball cap with a full hat jammed over it and pull the hat off when messing with the camera.

Don't forget to get people in the shot. In wide shots, aircraft are just like blowflies and about half as interesting to an undedicated audience unless you include the people who are flying them or watching them from time to time.

Take the trouble to get good sound. You'll need good wind muffs. I have never known an airfield yet which did not have a wind problem for sound recording. A full shaggy over a zeppelin style mike shield will be desirable.

Use the radio receiver or scanner. Patched into the audio it adds immediacy to the image but take it to one channel only, don't mix it across the other ambience channel.

The local control frequency will give you better information than the commentory for setting up and anticipating the arrival of aircraft into the performance box from holding areas.
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Old December 13th, 2007, 03:00 AM   #24
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Thanks Bob.....

You're truly scary!

You've covered quite a few of the things I had been worrying to death over the last few days.

I'm pretty familiar with Wanaka (we own a "Bach" there) so the weather conditions aren't exactly a mystery (well, any more than NZ's weather isn't a mystery to anyone).

My best hope (this, of course, assuming we get a toe in the door and get there) is that we have a clear day, with lots and lots of "white and fluffies". Keeps the contrast down to what HD can better handle and gives a good backdrop to everything.

Heaps of ideas about audio (which, in my e - mail to the organisers, I've probably handed to the "other mob" on a plate!), and yes, I have Rycote everythings for every mic I own (and I do indeed mean the full monty!).

I don't use any other lenses on my A1 and I don't think anyone else whose hand has gone up does either, so guess we'll be shooting "au natural" for what it's worth.

I was, having read your post earlier today, reminded of that classic story about Cecil B. De Mille, on the making of one of his epics (name long forgotten). It's possibly gone into legend as true even if not, but a salutory lesson nevertheless.

Seems he was shooting a scene involving thousands of extras, horses, destruction, mayhem and just about everything you can imagine. Camera's everywhere so he didn't miss a thing (damn, wish I coud remember where I read this story).

He calls :"Roll 'em" (or similar) and watches the carnage unfold.

The scene goes on for like 10 minutes (long enough, anyway).

He calls "Cut" and his assistants ring round the camera's to see how they went.

"Sorry, CB, film broke"

"Sorry, CB, lost focus"

"Ready when you are, CB"

"Sorry CB, tower fell over"

You get the idea. Details made up (as I can't remember the details) but, apparently, not one good take amongst the lot!

I keep re- running this sceanrio whenever I consider what we might be doing at WOW.

Let's get there first.

Thanks a heap for your input Bob. Sure you don't want to come over and enjoy the fun (if it actually happens)?

Hey, you can have the ADP spot if you like (heck, maybe even DP if the winds blowing in the right direction).

I'm not proud. Just determined.

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Old December 13th, 2007, 07:25 AM   #25
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Scary? Scary? I give you scary - just kidding.

There's two scenarios when exclusivity is given to another shooter or company of them.

You either get to gloat over the shots they missed that you got and the inadequate and superficial coverage overall.

Or you get to be comprehensively humbled by their good work and the terribly high bar they have set for your future efforts.

If there are formation or streamed pair take-offs of several aircraft at once, a fourty-five degree oblique view of the runway, is initially attractive when the aircraft turn on from the taxiway and assemble.

As they begin their take-off run it becomes fairly useless. They spread out to a safe (a relative term in this setting) separation at the same time as they are getting closer to you and larger in your finder.

The nicely framed group of aircraft stretches out and you become forced to pick a favourite, track that until the group shrinks in distance and becomes framable again. Your slow pan of an obliquely approaching subject suddenly evolves into a fast pan as the aircraft fly past at increasing speed.

The usual temptation is to widen the panned shot and frame two planes to get some sense of the formation. But the composition of the shot always looks crap. I have never got it to work for me yet.

One saving grace of continuing to follow close on two passing aircraft is that often as the aircraft reach the two-thirty position in their tangential path relative to your panning camera position, there is a crossover or a close grouping of two aircraft in the shot. You may also pick up a crossover of other distant higher aircraft in the circuit turning into the downwind leg.

Formations look best from overhead or beneath. Your best shots of them will be in steep turns when your view is of the upper surfaces. Side-on, they are too skinny and spread too wide to be visually attractive on low res TV.

My personal preferance is to frame any side-on views of takeoffs wide with a separate camera, get humans in the frame and let the aircraft do the work and fly out of the frame. If you only have the one camera for the oblique to side-on view, be close for the initial roll then snap back to the wide view, pan ahead then hold for the lift-off. Cut to another view of them disappearing into the sunset.

Clouds? Yes. Three-eighths cloud is the gold standard for me. Enough blue for the nature look, a range of aircraft colours stand out nicely, the light is purest.

Clear sky is absolutely the most boring when tracking an aircraft in flight. There is this fixed object floating about in your frame getting smaller or larger and turning about like a moth on a pin. You'll need more of your wide shots which include ground reference to cut to frequently in this instance.

With cloud in background, the sense of perspective and motion reference is there even if the camera moves are a bit shaky. With a long lens, previously boring side-on views become compelling because the illusion of speed is massively increased. Five-eighths is okay sort-of but more becomes ugly. Bright light complete overcast is an absolute curse.

A nice effect but often overdone is to use a fast shutter to strobe the props. 1/250th sec does it nicely. If you have a formation overflight, a higher shutter speed will make the constantly changing power settings evident as pilots work the throttles to maintain position on the lead aircraft.

A cliche establishing shot is to pick up a smoke trail and follow it to the aircraft which is making it, still a nice touch. You won't necessarily have to go about this deliberately. Chances are you will do it in desperation efforts playing catch-up.

With smaller engines with fewer cylinders, the higher shutter speed also yields an interesting strobe effect on the smoke output, but again, don't overdo it. 1/150th of a second is better. A little propeller blur remains.

If you can get hold of a JVC HD100 and an alternative longer zoom lens for it, go for it. 250mm will be about as long as you can go with any hope of controlling it without practice.

Unless you can get at least one camera in close and personal either by position or long lens, your flight footage will end up being fairly boring and repetitive.

Try to set up one camera at a taxyway where an aircraft has to turn. You get some nice crossovers with a locked off cam and long lens when one aircraft turns across the view of another or more following. Sit off a bit so you have to use zoom to shorten the persepctive and accentuate the lateral motion of the crossover.

Strobe your props for some of these shots. Also try for the close-ups of the pilots interacting with onlookers as sometimes they will do with a wave or a smoke-up as they taxi by.

If you are lucky enough to get a display by Jurgis Kairys, you will be thoroughly amazed.

In conclusion, don't forget the humans. My tagline for my little series which may or may not get made is "the lifestyles of airplanes and the people who inhabit them".

As for getting to Wanaka. I wish - but that is about as far as it goes for the time being. I have some ancestry to track in NZ. So another day perhaps.

Last edited by Bob Hart; December 13th, 2007 at 08:08 AM. Reason: added text
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Old December 13th, 2007, 10:21 PM   #26
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More good info...

Thanks Bob.

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Old December 14th, 2007, 11:21 AM   #27
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Hey Chris,

I just picked up on this thread and if you get your budget, I'd be up for this. I have an HD100A, plus all the other junk that you would expect to go with it. Stock lens, so maybe you could work to get a lens for it for that weekend. I'm more than qualified to cover any area that you want.

Let us know how the meeting goes with the company. I have a ton of frequent flyer miles just waiting for a trip like this.

Ben Lynn
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Old December 14th, 2007, 01:29 PM   #28
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Thanks Ben............

Good to know. I expect to find out Monday/ Tuesday next week just what, exactly, is going on with this.

I am only moderately hopefull, as I think I threw the HD monkey wrench into the works a bit too late to stop them in their tracks, but, then again................there is, as far as I can tell, only one other real "crew" shooting HD video in NZ at the current time (as opposed to SD video or film) and I do not know if they have the neccesary to take on a project this big on their own (as I don't).

The problem for anybody is the "3 days and it's over". There's no action replays, second takes, nothing - if it ain't in the can first time it ain't getting there. Throwing a dozen SD systems at it is relatively straightforward, if expensive, throwing the same number of HD units in a small market like NZ is a bit of an ask.

We shall see.

More as and when.

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Old December 14th, 2007, 11:43 PM   #29
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Hmm, does Canon XH A1 lens have the legs for this?

Taking particular note of some of the comments Bob has posted on this subject, I've just had a case of the jitters that the A1 may not be the right tool for this particular job.

As you might have gathered, this is all a bit out of my comfort zone (experience wise - all previous flying objects having been birds) and a few very quick and not particularly scientific tests this arvo having confirmed my suspicions that even something as relatively large as a single seater aircraft @ 600 - 700 metres isn't going to be more than a speck in the sky to an A1 at full zoom.

Just thought I'd throw this out there for comments and suggestions. Canon doesn't even do a tele adapter for the A1 either. Bugger.

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Old December 14th, 2007, 11:51 PM   #30
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Ooh, the news just keeps getting better...............

Just had an e - mail from the General Manager of the WOW event to confirm they have, indeed, signed with a Queenstown based production company to do the lot - and, [kick in teeth] they're apparently shooting in HD. Bugger.

I haven't given up.

I can't believe any Queenstown based company is going to be able to stump up the necessary to pull off the works for a 3 day event without outside help.

I will be on to them in a flash as soon as I find out just who they are (I've asked, not yet received a reply).

More as and when.


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