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Old September 3rd, 2003, 04:51 AM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: new jersey
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shooting air shows

Still here on Osan Air Base, South Korea (back to states soon!)
and the annual Air Power air show is coming up this weekend. I would like to make a short movie covering the different planes cause this is my only chance to get a camera/camcorder on the flightline. Any other time I would have several cops wrestling me to the ground asking me what I was doing. So anyway I plan to get different angles including long lense with a tripod and some handheld close-up fisheye shots. Then I would like to get as many of these planes flying and put the different shots together kind of showcasing each aircraft. Any hints would be helpful.
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Old September 3rd, 2003, 06:08 AM   #2
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I shot the aerial portion of the Toronto Air Show as an exercise, in 2001. Do some long takes for the sake of the audio. When you start chopping up your video it's great to have an appropriate uninterrupted audio track under the various clips. This has its limits but when you for example shoot a grounded plane from different angles and distances, using the audio from each segment is choppy and may cut off dialogue in mid sentence, or pick up a howling engine in one clip that's absent in the next. And, unless you're amazing at hand held shooting, use a tripod for following flight, use the viewfinder and not the LCD, and beware of eye fatigue. Covering your "other" eye so it can stay open without messing up your focus can help a lot. If you're always keeping it closed you'll soon lose muscle control and have to rest. Try to get the camera up so you don't catch the backs of spectator's heads. Unless you lock your focus this will cause it to wander from planes to heads and really p#ss you off. Same with towers, wires and other obstructions that pass in front of the lens as you're tracking flight.

David Hurdon
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Old September 3rd, 2003, 07:35 AM   #3
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Hey Luke,

Good advice from David...especially about being wary of eye fatigue. But I respectfully suggest considering using handheld as well.

I shot the Seoul Air Show handheld a couple of years ago and the one thing I remember is having a very sore neck the next day. It's tough craning your head back all day long. I imagine it would be the same even with a tripod.

I'm glad I did it handheld (using the Varizoom shoulder support)... otherwise I would've missed quite a few shots. If I were to do it again now, I'd probably switch between a tripod and shoulder mount during the day, saving the tripod for the slower acts such as the chopper demonstrations and the smaller aircraft. For the fighter jets, I'm glad I used the shoulder support because they were coming in all directions and sometimes I didn't know they were coming up behind me until they're right on top of me.

Another bit of advice...stay back a safe distance. One small plane was doing stunts and dropped it's motor right on the runway in front of us. Luckily, it was a prop plane and was able to glide to a safe landing.

(One thing about shooting all day handheld and tracking high-speed jets...that was the best practice I've ever had in following fast-moving objects. By the end of the day, I was keeping it pretty steady.)
John Locke
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Old September 3rd, 2003, 08:16 AM   #4
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I agree with you, John. If I'd owned a shoulder mount so that I could use the viewfinder with that added stability I would have tried more off the tripod. I did start hand held but couldn't follow without having the subject jump around within the frame. Two years later and with a VX2000 now versus a D-8, it might be different :-)

David Hurdon
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