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Old April 6th, 2005, 01:13 PM   #1
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Tools for predicting the path of the sun

I have a palm pilot program that gives me the degree and azimuth readings for the suns' location at any time during the day. Is there a tool that anyone has used that combine a compass and sextant? IF not can anyone recommend acompact sextant that could be used for this purpose. Does anyone have experience working with anything similar to this?
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Old April 6th, 2005, 01:52 PM   #2
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in video , i always believed that it was enough to know that the sun start at east and finish at west and that it is better to have it in the back when filming.
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Old April 6th, 2005, 02:32 PM   #3
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Filmtools.com sells both the program and the tools for sightings.
Sunpath for windows is a program, and a 'clinometer' is a compass and inclinometer in one. Also check out http://www.wide-screen.com/sunPATH/index.shtml for more software and the 'tools' button for clinometers


TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE BEST LIGHT

A sunPATH report can easily answer these questions.

When will the sun come between the buildings or other objects? Where should the set be built to receive "side light" 2 months from now?

When will the sun go behind the trees?

When will the direct sun no longer be on the road?

How early can the crew start working without artificial light?

When will "magic hour" start and end?



These are the sorts of questions that can be answered by using such software and hardware. And yes, I've used it while shooting 'video'.
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Old April 6th, 2005, 03:46 PM   #4
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You could always use Stonehenge, however, it isn't very portable ;)
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Old April 6th, 2005, 03:59 PM   #5
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I used a free online (java?) calculator once to predict my camera position for capturing a sunrise (I had to set up in the dark on the day of the shoot with a compass). I can't find the site again, but it asked for longitude, latitude, elevation, and date.

The resulting 90-min shot looks incredible in timelapse.
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Old April 6th, 2005, 04:13 PM   #6
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Right, if you know your location's lattitude and longitude, then you can find out the sun's location. Then go to the spot with a compass, and 'clinometer' and you will be able to spot where it will be in the sky at a particualr moment in time.

Will it be behind the building? Will it clear the tree line in time for the shot? Which way should the camera face to pick up the side light? These are the sorts of things that can be usefull ahead of time.
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Old April 6th, 2005, 11:46 PM   #7
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GPS

A cheap GPS will give you sunrise and sunset times for the longitude and latitude you are at (or any other coordinates) It does not know about hills, valleys or buildings but you should be able to estimate the timing ok. Also means you can be at the location long enough before the golden hour to set up. There is probably other software that can use the coordinates to give more information also. Don't know haven't looked yet. Might now as I have a GPS.
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Old April 7th, 2005, 07:52 AM   #8
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The purpose of the clinometer, is to determine exactly where in the sky, the sun will be. Most of us can stand on a location and point vaguely to the east, and look at a newspaper and say. "Sunrise is at 6:25 am... over there." And usually, that's enough.

But I've been in situations where I needed to know, when the sunrise cleared a tree line, when the sun was going to be between two buildings in downtown Houston, If the face of a clock was going to be in shadow or light at (9:00 am).... things like that, you need to be on the location, with the clinometer, looking in the right direction so you can say... "No, the sun won't clear the trees untill 8:15, so we need to reschedule the shot" or "Instead of putting the camera here, if we move it there, we'll get a nice side light".

The suntracking software actually prints out a little track in the sky with the sun's coordinates at specific points. It's handy.
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