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Old September 28th, 2009, 12:12 PM   #1
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Vertcal tracking shot

I'm a film student and I'd like to make a vertcal tracking shot in a sound stage - camera is moving from up towards down at the floor. I know it's a crazy thought!!! but dose someone had an experience on this kind of tracking shot or maybe some thoughts how to do it?

Thank you!
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Old September 29th, 2009, 01:19 AM   #2
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Not a crazy idea at all. You can make shots like that with a crane (also called JIB). A good one is the Kessler Crane. Not cheap though. But you will find yourself using it a lot more than you would think of. A crane gives you a lot of other special manouvres as well.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 12:39 PM   #3
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I should have been some exact. I have a crane to use but you can't make tracking which will stay on the same vertical line. At some positions in tracking, the camera is tilting forwards or backwards from the imaginary vertical line. Of course I can adjust the movement by tilting camera head but overall this tracking would not be very stable.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 05:34 PM   #4
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I looked at the Kessler website and they have a parallelogram structure that can maintain the camera tilt angle throughout the rise/fall range so it would seem that the tracking would work OK

What kind of crane do you have? If it doesn't have this feature, might it be possible to modify it?

Or is your problem not that the tilt is changing but that the distance from camera to subject changes as the crane pivots about it's base? In other words, the camera stays parallel to the ground but moves forward and back from the vertical line.

This is mechanically much harder to solve of course, but something might be possible in post.

Just a thought
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Old September 29th, 2009, 07:49 PM   #5
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The issue on the table is the arc of the arm as it booms up and down. Easy to understand--picture it in a completely vertical position, where the camera is above the fulcrum (balance point), vs horizontal, where the camera is the full length of the arm away from the fulcrum. Obviously you won't be dealing with a completely vertical start mark but still, the arc will be there--and the shorter the arm, the more pronounced the arc. If the camera is pointed straight down, the effect will be a lateral tracking move as the boom progresses.

One way to manage this is dolly the jib/crane to counter the movement; as the arm booms down, the base of the arm is dollied back on track and the camera moves in an effective vertical line. It takes some coordination to prevent the camera from "waffling" on the way down but it can be done. A longer jib will be preferable for this sort of thing as it will be harder to keep the base out of the shot when the arm is at the top point, and again to reduce arc (which minimizes the amount of dollying required). When rehearsing this shot, it may be helpful to hang a line or laser pointer from the camera so that the grips pushing the base can see where they need to be when the bucket (back of the arm) is at a given position. This does require multiple people to operate safely, I wouldn't recommend one person operate the arm and dolly at the same time unless they are skilled at this (I've seen a few Jimmy Jib "one man band" guys go down in flames over this sort of thing).
Charles Papert
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Old October 1st, 2009, 12:38 PM   #6
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If they have a floating grid, just mount it to a batton and float it down. Otherwise, they most likey have a hefty herman or some kind of hoist. You can ride that. If that still isn't an otion you can construct a quick high hat elevator, if you will by roping a mount over the grid and manually pulling it. It's just a matter of creating a devise that allows you to properly frame the shot and limits swing/sway.
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