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Old December 15th, 2004, 04:05 AM   #16
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You could either sandwich the dolly inbetween two tracks or better
construct a track where the wheels are on both sides of the
track (so it doesn't fall off). You will need to come up with a
way to rotate the complete track. You could use some wires
with a hoisting like device to lower the dolly etc. Ofcourse, this
will take quite a bit of construction work, but should be doable
with some time, resources and money.

If you want I can draw the idea out...
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Old December 15th, 2004, 11:48 AM   #17
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Wescam rig or vertical lift

This sounds like a job for a Wescam rig or a techno crane with a retractable boom. Another way would be to rent one of those hydraulic or electric vertical lifts, not a scissor lift, used for painters and utility crews. They go really high and are small enough to fit into that spiral diameter. You can find them at heavy equipment rental locations.
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Old December 15th, 2004, 12:14 PM   #18
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Thanks for the offer Rob, but looking at my options, I think simplicity is going to win out and I'll stick with dangling the camera from a monopod.
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Old December 15th, 2004, 03:02 PM   #19
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If you had a rope that tied to the camera one from the top and the other from the bottom then someone could walk ahead of the characters turning the camera as needed.

To keep the rope taunt you could have a pulley, (or anything to run the rope through even the railing) at the bottom with the rope then going up to the camera, then op to the top where it is again tied down. Having it taunt will prevent swaying (i rock climb I was thinking something like carabiners would be perfect) If it was me i would use a tripod attaching the rope to the bottom of the tripod and the top handle of the gl-1. Now the rope should be taunt but not tight, just enough pressure to keep the slack out. And have one person on each end of the rope keeping it taunt. Or is you are short on hands use bungee rope, fairly thin but good for taking up slack.

p.s. If the camera person needs to be farther away you could just attach an extension to the tripod or whatever you are using.
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Old December 15th, 2004, 03:17 PM   #20
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vertical jib

Hey Gang,
I just got an email regarding this topic from James Emory was telling me your were looking for something that would work for this shot. Check out
www.roadrunnerproductions.tv/camriser.html

You'll see a vertical jib that I know for fact would work perfect for this. We're
in the process of modifying our web site and the links to sample video shot with the device aren't showing up. So, here are two direct links to some sample footage.
www.roadrunnerproductions.tv/theshow.mpg
www.roadrunnerproductions.tv/lumenarea.mpg
Hope this helps.
Danny
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Old December 15th, 2004, 03:22 PM   #21
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That thing is cool. Can I rent it in my area?

Fred -- I'm having trouble visualizing what you are suggesting.
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Old December 15th, 2004, 04:21 PM   #22
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Hey Marco,

Ok i drew a little diagram sorry i threw it together so it looks like a kindergarten project.

http://hazardousproductions.com/images/help.gif

It's a setup that is often used in rock climbing. Basically you will have a two sections of rope. A bottom piece and a top piece. The bottom piece could connect to the bottom of the camera then would run down through a pulley or any non-friction causing device ( i drew something that has two strings tied to a metal ring . The two strings are tied to something to act as an anchor railing or other structural piece) The top rope would do the same thing but in the opposite direction. The buy on top would control the rate of descent that you want, the bottom man is only there to maintain tension so that the camera does not swing or spin in an unwanted manner. Then I was thinking you could have someone walking down the stairs ahead of your actors, monitoring the monitor and turning the camera as needed.

Does that help?

p.s. I write like English is my third language, but sadly it is my first.
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Old December 15th, 2004, 08:27 PM   #23
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revert to simplicity...

In the preceding thread, someone mentioned a whack of jump cuts. Although the resourceful people here are to be applauded for their engineering prowess and necessity equalling the mother of invention, none of the elaborate rigs specified will be needed. But I don't want them to think I am not in awe of their craftiness. I bow to their ingeniousness.
If it were me, I would do this in several takes. Blocking and rehearsal is the key. Be where you need to be: The talent and the camera. Make the "where you need to be" repeatable. This is the essence of continuity. Since you are moving about in a 360 degree space, the shadows will be unmanageable for one take. (your words). The final edit will be about 24 jump cuts from about 6-12 perfect shoots. All done handheld or on the monopod specified. Be sure your editor is present during the shoot. And make a detailed log as you shoot of positions used.
That will win this one. Lighting for this scene will be challenge number one. Talent and camera in a repeatable space will be number 2. After that, the only problem will be a poor log for the editor.
I can't wait to see your .mov or .wmv posted here!!!
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Old December 15th, 2004, 08:43 PM   #24
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Yeah he's got a point... though all the contraptions would be a lot more fun haha
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Old December 15th, 2004, 09:46 PM   #25
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Don't lose sight of your vision. The lighting shouldn't be too much of an issue if you drop the shadows down rather than horizontally. I would use two key lights, both pointed at the same angel downward. But, one would be used to light the upper portion of the stair case and the second to light the lower portion. This way your shadows would consitently fall down rather than accross. And I would flag off the intersection of the two light paths to create a shadow or to at least give the appearance that the two lights were a single light source. I'd might also use a slight fill from camera pov, depending on your lighting mood.

I would just hate to see such a dramatic shot like this take a back seat to jump cuts. I you can't make a complete take, do a second angle from just in front of the acter leading them down the stairs. This would make a logical b-shot to cut to and from. Or as another option you could lower the camera to the actors foot level and once again lead them down the stairs for another quick cutaway.

You'll have to forgive me. Being a perfectionist (not always a good thing), I never like to let obstacles direct the shot.
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Old December 16th, 2004, 12:25 PM   #26
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Jimmy,
You have a definite point. It is possible to make something more complicated than it needs to be. I'm reminded of the first season of "Project Greenight" when they had a guy holding a 40 foot boom on scaffolding mounted on a pontoon of some kind in the middle of Lake Michigan, and ended up not even using the shot. The shot they ended up using was a lot more powerful and simple, and didn't even require a boat. Still, sometimes that extra effort can make a dramatic difference. I'm certainly glad Hitchcock insisted on building that massive crane thing to zoom in on the key in "Notorious." Now that was a cool shot. I'm definitely grateful for the amount of thought people have put into these suggestions.

Fred -- I can't find that diagram at your site. I did notice you are looking for readers for your script though. I'd be glad to proof it. I'm an editor at a local paper here. Send it on.
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Old December 16th, 2004, 02:26 PM   #27
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I think that a Steadicam or even hand held camera would be a better way to convey the frenetic energy and maybe even motivate POV shots either up, or down the stairs. Using cuts would help too.

A smooth camera shot down the stairs feels like it would kill the immediacy and feeling of the shot. Not sure if anyone is willing to run down three stories of stairs for multiple takes, that's a pretty hairy Steadicam shot. Safety first!

If you were shooting on film, I would suggest slightly undercranking the frame rate and then run the action at half or three-quarter speed.

It's a complicated shot, so rehersals are key, what ever you do.

Lighting it would be a pain. Bury them Kinos!
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Old December 16th, 2004, 09:56 PM   #28
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<<-- I did notice you are looking for readers for your script though. I'd be glad to proof it. I'm an editor at a local paper here. Send it on. -->>>

Thanks Marco that'd be great!! I'm sending it on over. The ending is still being worked out. Please feel free to play with it or do anything you feel will improve it, or edit it.


Thanks again!!

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Old December 17th, 2004, 01:31 AM   #29
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What about adding 1 long piece of PVC to the top of the stairs and fixed to some point at the top and bottom, (the bottom could just be weighted) and a larger diameter "T" that would slide up and down that pipe? You would make the center of the "T" facing out toward the railing and add a length of pipe there to reach it. You could add some sort of dual wheeled assembly to that end that rides the railing, lie a traditionally dolly or even an old roller skate.

You would probably have to add a handle someplace for a grip to run (backward mind you) in front of the character, down the stairs, to roll the assembly down the railing to keep up with the character(s).

something like this:

____
| [____]{ Camera
| ||
| ||
[| ]========()-() Arm from the "T" with wheels
|
|
| Pipe in the center of the stairs


It's been a long time since I've done ASCII art. And it's not showing up right here either. Cut and paste the picture into Notepad, etc, add 15 spaces to the top line, 6 spaces to the front of each line, except the 5th line, add 5. You should have the idea by then.

The "T" would have to be somewhat snug to keep from tilting but free enough to turn. You could probably let the wheel assembly float as the distance to the pole will likely vary as the radius of the stairs probably wont be a perfect circle.

It's really beautiful ASCII art, really.

What do you folks think?

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Old December 17th, 2004, 09:38 AM   #30
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I hope I didn't do this right because I don' t see much difference when adding the changes the way I interpreted them. By adding spaces, you mean blanks right? What is adding 15 spaces to the top line suppose to do if this is the case? Adding spaces to the front of the other lines just moves the whole thing over and nothing seems to change. Please clear this up. Thanks.
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