Pedestal Shots at

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Old September 27th, 2003, 01:17 PM   #1
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Pedestal Shots

I am wondering if anyone has tips to share for creating a decent pedestal shot with a mini dv camera.

I am using a VX2000 and so far I have been unimpressed with my pedestal shots.

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Old September 27th, 2003, 11:33 PM   #2
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What do you mean by Pedestal? The studio type camera support that trucks, dollies, and rises or something else?
Mike Rehmus
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Old September 28th, 2003, 07:20 AM   #3
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Hello Mike,

I have the Advanced Broadcast Video Techniques CDs and they show a pedestal shot taking the camera from a low position to a shoulder height position. Evidently this is done by hand with a mini DV camcorder as opposed to a piece of equipment, but my shots like this really look unacceptable to me.
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Old September 28th, 2003, 08:14 AM   #4
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Darrell, FIRST, Before you consider ANY of the following advice, it's important that you have a GOOD tripod... it doesn't have to be the best, but it has to be decent. I've used this technique with a Bogen 3021 and 3130 head in the past (cheap, but acceptable pod) and I do it with a Gitzo 1380 setup now... at about 5 times the cost. Both worked nearly the same on this trick.

Your cam MUST be secure on the head... I keep reading little comments about people dumping their cam off the head when they leave it on the pod and move the cam... I guess I've just been lucky, but when I used my small cam on a small pod, no problem... now with a dvx on a big pod, still no problem. So determine your trust in your pod for this "technique", but I do it ALL of the time. Ok, enough "covering my ass", now here's what I do:

I keep one of the three legs all the way "short" and all the way up and pushed in to the center... like when you store it. I then set the other two legs at an equal length which depends on how much "pedestal" I want. After you determine that your cam is SECURE on the head you will want to have something to "chock" the pod from sliding back towards you... in a pinch I've used one of my feet, but something solid on the ground works best. If your pod head doesn't allow TWO ARMS to be mounted you may need to do this using ONLY ONE tripod leg so it doesn't want to twist from the uneven force of you pulling back on it. Again, I must stress that your cam should be SOLID on the head and your head should have a well secured PAN ARM so it doesn't PULL OUT. Otherwise you can try this just by holding the cam.

Anyway, with the cam down low, tripod legs chocked from sliding towards you, you can open the lcd and straddle the pod legs a bit and simply pull back towards you while standing up. Practice the move a few times before it really matters, but hopefully you have a vision of what I'm describing. I do it pretty often and it works really well for me. But just like a multi-thousand dollar Glidecam takes practice before it looks good, so will this... probably about 10 minutes is all though, and you'll be a pro.

I should add that once you get this down you'll notice that the framing changes slightly since the cam is moving through an arc rather then straight up and down, but most people equate it with a more sophisticated and intersting shot because as you get up to the important thing you're leading to, the cam backs up a foot or so to get more in frame.

Anybody who reads this and uses a cheap or worn-out pod is trying it at his or her own risk. I do this move all the time and it works great, but I make sure everything is trustworthy before subjecting my cam to a "risk".
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