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Old August 13th, 2009, 12:12 PM   #1
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Shooting an armoured vehicle.. with video..

A few weeks ago I attended the War & Peace show in the UK as part of a living history display. There we got the chance to drive around in a Czech armoured vehicle. We also did a display which involved disembarking, taking up positions and then moving back into the vehicle.
This is basicly the vehicle:
http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h2...orthearena.jpg

We shot some (quite crappy) videos with compact camera's which I put together.. but next year I would like to do it better..

I have put together a shotlist so that I would have a clear idea about what to do, the shots don't have to be all at the same time, since we are going to do the display about 5 times and about 6-7 times will be just driving around.

My idea is to get a reasonably priced "older" shouldercamera, such as a Betacam SP and a smaller compact camera which I can mount on a pole for distance shots, since I'm working on a very very low budget and it's just for fun and youtube use.


I had these shots in mind:

Small camera:
- shot from the side, looking onto the tracks. (pole mounted through one of the gun ports).
- shot from the side, looking onto the gun ports and the rear (pole mounted through one of the gun ports).
- shot from the rear, looking onto the guy's disembarking (not sure how yet)
- shot from the front, camera mounted on the bow looking onto the driver/turret (camera clamped probably)
- shot from the turret, camera attached to the barrel of the main gun, looking to the rear
- shot from the turret, camera attached to the barrel of the main gun, looking to the front

Shouldercamera:
-shot from the inside, looking to the rear with the guys sitting there and going out and going back in.
-shot from the inside, cameraman moving along with the guys
-shot from the outside, combined with the above of the guys doing their stuff
-shot from the embankment, of the guys moving about
-shot from inside the turret, gunner operating turret

Optional shots (various)
- shot through the scope of the gunner
- shot through the periscope of one of the guys in the back
- shot through the gunport of one of the guys in the back


Are there any suggestions about this or what kind of camera's to look out for? Vibrations are a critical factor offcourse.
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Old August 13th, 2009, 01:09 PM   #2
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Wouldn't a shoulder camera be a bit bulky to use inside of the vehicle?
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Old August 13th, 2009, 01:15 PM   #3
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That's true, I think it's doable for the turret shot and getting out.. I could take the compact camera for the close-ups perhaps.. (especially since a 1/2 inch or 2/3th inch wideangle lens would be quite expensive)

The reason I would like a shoulder camera as well is the ease in operation and especially focussing, as well as the stability..

Here's the vid (crappy I know :)) I tried to edit together from what various of our team shot together:
YouTube - OT-90 @ W&P 2009
It roughly shows the space available and why I would like to do it better :)
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Old August 13th, 2009, 03:40 PM   #4
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BetaSP is _not_ a budget camera. Ya, they have come down in price, but they still cost a fair penny. #1, the tapes are about $15 for a 30 min, batteries.. you'll need a charger, a few NP1's , a hefty tripod... and the lens on the camera might not be so fantastic.

I think BetaSP is a bad, bad way to go for 'fun' shots. The bulk, the cost of support gear (it's still a 'Pro' format, and as such, you will be paying a premium).

You can probably get an HDV or even FullHD camera that uses a Pro lens for the same cost, it might be smaller, and support parts cheaper.
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Old August 13th, 2009, 03:47 PM   #5
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I'm wondering if, since you say vibration will be an issue, some form of card-based cam might be best. Maybe a Sony EX3? Can use as both shoulder-mount and not. Compact, good glass, great picture...
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Old August 13th, 2009, 04:04 PM   #6
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I'd suggest the Sony XR500V or whatever the EU variant is, or maybe the CX500 when it becomes available. Put a good WA on it, it's light, small, and has a pretty decent active OIS that might put the damper on that vibration. You're pretty cramped for any interior shots, a fisheye might make for some interesting footage, though image quality will go downhill some. You could always add a small shoulder stock rig to the small camera when you have the room, but when there's no room, I'd think smaller would get you more shooting angle options.

Some POV footage (like the view that the "tank" commander or the driver might have while popped out of a hatch) might be good, as well as "action" footage from a low angle as "soldiers" are jumping out, maybe yelling a bit, kind of play it up a bit. Don't know how far into the "reinactment" you are going, but some sound effects (blanks?) would add a touch of drama... if you do any "maneuvers" with other vehicles, that would add to the footage too, maybe arrange for shots between vehicles?
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Old August 13th, 2009, 05:14 PM   #7
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Budget wise I'm looking at about 400-500euro's.. which is really low I must admit. I think I can borrow a set of 4 anton bauer accu's so I won't need to purchase that. I wouldn't need a tripod either, the only long external shot is from an embankment and I'm confident I can manage to hold that steady for about 5-7 seconds (not all the way zoomed in offcourse).

For that price (I have some broadcast items still here that I could trade/sell before that time to increase my budget) I've found some UVW-100P's, a BVW-300P and an Panny AJ-D200. These certainly aren't the best camera's currently available but I hope they will work for my purposes.
I'm also going to try and see if I can borrow/loan a DSR-370, which would make the whole thing a lot nicer but I'm not sure if I can get it.

I have to make the balance between either having a fully manual camera (which I know how to operate and like to work with) which is a lot older.. or an automatic "modern" camera with better image quality but with no manual functions. Atleast I do at this budget level.

Vibrations might not be the word I should have used, more shaking. It's basicly a large tuna tin moving around at 50kph across rough terrain without seatbelts. This means that whatever I do I will wrap up the camera (I have a Porta brace around here somewhere), put on some sort of padded helmet and sit in the corner as much as I can.

I like the suggestions so far, especially the POV shot ideas. We will probably have blank firers then so shots of those would be great as well. That was one of the reasons I put the outside shot in there of the guns through the firing ports. I also like the idea of seeing if I can ride around in another vehicle and make footage from there.

One slight problem is that I can't stand around on the field due to safety concerns, either I move along with the display (get out when they get out) or stand in the safety zone...

Thanks again for the ideas.. I know the budget is ridiculously low but I'm hoping on being able to call in some favours of friends, companies and schools..
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Old August 14th, 2009, 09:51 AM   #8
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300-400! Thats a very low budget, Just try and rent a Sony Z5 or Z7 for a day or something, you wont beable to buy a very good quality camera for 400 and theres no chance of getting a shoulder mounted camera. You might beable to rent a S270 but its pointless having that size for what your doing, I would go for renting a Sony Z7 and get some CF cards to record the video on to.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 06:13 AM   #9
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Kick up from the dead!

After a long time searching for the right deals I got the set complete.. Just a bit over budget.

It's an Panasonic AJ-D800 4:3 DVCpro25 camera, it has 2/3rd inch CCD's and has low hours. Operation hours 1880, Drum running hours 30 and threading 350 hours. This supports the story that the previous owner had it on his SNG, just to provide a live feed. It's equipped with a 26 pin VTR output and a video in, so I can also use it for multi camera shoots. I got the camera from ebay for 153e

When I got it I added a camera sling (~5e) and a homebuilt rod system (~10e). The rod system is not really meant for matte boxes but more for protection of the lens and stability.

From a local auction site I got a Dionic 90 and a T130 charger/power supply. Both work great and the Dionic holds a good amount of power. I do want to get a 2nd battery which can be a bit crappier, just to give me time to charge up the dionic again. This was 150e combined.

From Ebay USA came the final piece of the puzzle, the Canon J14ax8.5B4 IRS lens. I wanted a decent lens, preferably with extender and I came across this lens for a nice price. The lens is quite heavily used, and especially the grip feels used. The lens itself works beautifully though and is the ideal lens for me. I got the lens for 240e

So in the end I paid 153 + 5 + 10 + 150 + 240 = 558. Which is a bit over the budget I mentioned above but still quite reasonable for what I got out of the package. Ideally I would still need a deck, tripod etc. But at the moment I can capture at a local school, and a tripod costs too much for me.

Here are some pics:
http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a345/FW200/Cam1-1.jpg
http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a345/FW200/Cam2-1.jpg
http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a345/FW200/Cam3-1.jpg
http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a345/FW200/Cam4.jpg
http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a345/FW200/Cam5.jpg
http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a345/FW200/Cam6.jpg
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Old May 7th, 2010, 12:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sander Vreuls View Post
From Ebay USA came the final piece of the puzzle, the Canon J14ax8.5B4 IRS lens. I wanted a decent lens, preferably with extender and I came across this lens for a nice price.
Congrats on your purchase! I'm sure you've figured out already that the 8.5mm "wide" end of the lens is NOT wide at all so in reference to your ORIGINAL post, this solution would be a poor choice for INSIDE a tight location such as an armoured vehicle.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 12:47 PM   #11
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Yup, figured that out as well. Trialled various lenses at a friendly company near here the last couple of months, and I would have needed a big budget lens to be happy on that area. (Even looking at older models such as the J8x6 or similar).

So I decided to get a good general lens, and then try and find another solution for close up. Either a small camera or a wide angle converter.

So I found a wide angle converter.. which is an optex x0.7 converter. :) I can also put on the 2nd x0.7 for a total of x0.5. They're not zoom-through but for a static shot they are good. I can also easily remove them without too much trouble.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 12:56 PM   #12
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Perfect - just thought I'd share BEFORE you took the camera out to shoot and realized "um... this isn't wide..."

I miss having extenders for REALLY shallow DOF when I was shooting stand ups for news.

2/3" imagers + lots of ND + a REALLY long focal length + a BIT of faster shutter speed = REALLY nice bokeh IF you can get your subject far enough from the camera...
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Old September 16th, 2010, 01:54 PM   #13
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Right, I had a slight problem before setting off.. While trying at home the first tapes worked great, however suddenly they started jamming. So I ended up recording to mini-dv via composite video.

This explains why I had no audio, since there was a problem with receiving that (the connection was not good). So I had no time to fix it all up. Final edit is a bit messy as well, with some shots needing colour correcting and some really needed to be cut out.

The size of the full sized shoulder camera was no problem at all for me and I would do it again without hesitation. Next year I'm planning on using a EOS 550D with shoulder rig instead, mostly because this is the most cost effective way to get manually operated decent HD video.

The first vid is 4:3 straight from the mini-dv deck (so composite), shot standing and handheld with AJ-D800 from the top of an armoured vehicle (particularly happy with the zoomed in shot at 1:09):
YouTube - US halftracks at the War & Peace Show 2010

The second vid is 16:9 made from 4:3 source. Upscaled to 720p because I had a problem getting 16:9 flagged SD videos to upload with the correct aspect ratio onto youtube.
YouTube - Arena display at War & Peace show 2010

In all, it was not as good as it could have been, I needed a tripod and more time to actually make shots onsite. Next year I'm hoping I have more free time to do that, so I have more footage to cut with.
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Old September 20th, 2010, 11:08 PM   #14
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You did very well! Keep going at this pace and the next one will turn out a real documentary!

The only thing I like more than the Russian song are the tennis shoes on the guy's feet on top of this page... Way to go to war!
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Old September 21st, 2010, 11:34 AM   #15
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Thanks! :)

About the sneakers, it was a pretty common thing to do in that time:
http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a3...ed_vyhodom.jpg
Whatever works I suppose :)
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