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Old March 12th, 2011, 05:10 PM   #1
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Doing a Police 'Ride Along'

I am getting ready to do a ride along with the head of the gang taskforce and then the head of another taskforce. I have an EX1, EX3, Zacuto Newsman rig, SolaENG 3 (30w on-camera light), Dedo LEDzilla (8w on-camera light), Swit v-mount batteries. For audio, I have 2 Seinn G3, 2 Sony wireless, Tram TR50 for Seinn, 2 Rode NTG 2's and a NTG 3 and Softie and Rycote Blimp for the NTG 3. I also have a Sony XR500V and wide angle adapter.

So...what is your recommended setup for good video and audio while in the car with me in the passenger seat?

If needed, I can get my assistant to sit in the back with a camera. If there is additional gear that would help such as camera mount for the XR500V or LED lights for in the car, let me know. I want to begin doing ride alongs once a month with the gang/narcotics officer because they occasionally have stings with state and county police.

I want it to look like a mix between "Storm Chasers", the Steven Seagal show and "Cops".

Here is my Zacuto rig http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-xdc...ml#post1621896

Thanks.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 06:18 PM   #2
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Re: Doing a Police 'Ride Along'

I honestly think that the Zacuto rig is going to be too big and awkward inside a car. You need to be able to move quickly and not get stuck inside. You should probably get a sound mixer (which is how Cops does it.) Lav the driver and any other important personnel, and have the sound mixer use a boom for the rest.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 06:45 PM   #3
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Re: Doing a Police 'Ride Along'

Stripped down EX1, small, lightweight, easy to get in and out of the car, easy to use in the car and easy to hide when in the car in case you need to. Lav on the person you're with, shotgun...Uh, I mean mic of course on the other channel, if you can use a sound guy great if not don't sweat it just use the shotgun mic and lav and I would put a small lightweight on board light on the camera for night stuff but only use it if they say OK and you're out of the car. Think First 48. That's what I would do. Oh, maybe ask about wearing a vest and don't stick your nose in the wrong place ;-)
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Old March 12th, 2011, 11:09 PM   #4
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Re: Doing a Police 'Ride Along'

Everything went well tonight. Got 3 gang members arrested on camera. I ended up using the Zacuto rig but with the last 2 pairs of 7" rods removed in addition to the hand grips. The v-mount battery was placed where the shoulder pad normally sits and the baseplate was moved to front; so, the rig only added roughly 2 inches to the total length. I used the EX3 and Dedo along with the NTG 3 (w/softie) and Seinn G3. I tilted the Dedo up to bounce light onto the driver so I had just enough light, and I had the EX3 set to 720/30p for additional sensitivity (vs 1080/30p), 9db and f1.9.

For the immediate future, I will not have a sound guy. At most, I might have my assistant in the back seat next to the other officer with an EX1.

PS I wasn't really worried about being attacked or shot at. I was really worried about running after people because I have been a bit lazy this winter so I'm not in great shape :(
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Old March 21st, 2011, 05:50 AM   #5
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Re: Doing a Police 'Ride Along'

If possible, you might think about mounting a GoPro on the dashboard, if you want to get in-car stuff. Lights might be necessary for the cops and robbers, but it depends on your arrangement and situation. I briefly worked on the editing side of a cop show and have some basic thoughts, if you are interested.
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Old March 21st, 2011, 07:20 AM   #6
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Re: Doing a Police 'Ride Along'

A show I work on uses EX1s with a set of wireless receivers on them. They are bare except for the wide angle lens and a cage on the bottom to hold the wireless.

The on air guys are wearing wireless lavs. The audio goes to a sound guy that does the mix and carries a boom. His audio mixed audio is retransmitted to the cameras.

In the car on the windshield we use the Sony MC1 cameras to cover the front seat along with the EX1 in the passenger seat.

We also have a couple of the ContourHD POV cameras mounted to the outside of the truck.

The camera guys are also wearing vests for protection.
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Old March 21st, 2011, 02:22 PM   #7
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Re: Doing a Police 'Ride Along'

Hey Mike,

Yes, I certainly would appreciate your thoughts. I am the director, editor, 1st cameraman and motion graphics artist so I have almost complete control over what I shoot and the final piece. Currently, I have 3 shows planned involving the city's police:
1) "Inside Cicero" which highlights various departments including the SOS, 'Save Our Streets' program manned by hand-picked officers. This program is based on Rudy Giuliani's book which is about preventing criminals from causing damage to homes and buildings in addition to fixing any damage within 48 hours in order to keep neighborhoods in good condition. The 'broken window' theory essentially sums up this program. If a window is broken and not fixed within 48 hours, other people notice that and it begins to deteriorate the neighborhood. This is a very very condensed explanation. The lead officer wrote a 5 page essay on this theory including the mission statement and goals for starting this SOS program; thus, it is very important to the city's mayor to show progress since starting this program 6 months ago.

For this show, I have already shot an interview with the lead officer and will be shooting another interview in an hour with a 2nd officer in this program, who also happens to be the officer I rode with the other night. Immediately after this interview today, I am shooting an interview with the mayor about this program.

2) A 'Cops' type show - produced once a month, maybe more during the warm months as there is more criminal activity when its warm.

3) An 'America's Most Wanted' type show - this will be shot mainly with the Superintendent of Gangs & Narcotics probably once a month.

Does anyone know whether I need to blur someone's face who is being arrested? I was told by my producer that we can show their faces if they have been charged and convicted. Thus, I would need to blur their faces ONLY if their court cases have not been finalized.
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Old March 21st, 2011, 03:15 PM   #8
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Re: Doing a Police 'Ride Along'

Steve,
The First 48 generally only blurs faces of people that are not necessarily involved, IE witnesses, CIs, of course undercover cops if they are providing information to the investagating cops so I don't know that it's 100% necessary but I would certainly make sure you have some releases with you and get a verbal OK while recording. I can't think of any other way to do it.
Good luck with the shows.
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Old March 22nd, 2011, 08:33 AM   #9
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Re: Doing a Police 'Ride Along'

I think you'll see with shows like 48 hours, those who are ultimaely charged and/or convicted for a crime prior to the episodes release are unblurred. the one that are blurred have been charged, but not convicted, or have agreed to have their faces shown.
That's a very touchy issue, especially in the US. personally, I think I would be inclined to blur everyone unless otherwise specifically told it was OK not to.
Since you're working very closely with the Police, I would think you'd at least have access to the district attorneys office who could also be a source of advice on that.
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Old March 28th, 2011, 03:23 AM   #10
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Re: Doing a Police 'Ride Along'

Steve,

I think the law is similar to that in the UK: you are filming in a public place and if someone has committed a crime, you can show them. If they have a pending court case, you might have to blur them - or might not be able to use them at the present time, if it is seen to affect the case in any way.

From 'innocent bystanders' to victims, you need to get releases. I would belt-and-braces by getting a verbal agreement on camera and a written one as well. This should be done after all the action. Usually there is waiting around after a crime and even if you think nothing is happening 'during', keep on your toes.

As with most things, the unexpected and human behaviour is likely to be the most interesting thing, in a show like this.

I guess you know this, but when in the police car (and all the time, really) be as unobtrusive to their work as possible and get on their good side. When you can steal a moment after they get a call ask them to talk about where they are going etc. Try and maintain conversations and keep the camera rolling - hearing their opinions and seeing their character develop is often as interesting as seeing guys getting forcibly arrested.

I'm not an expert, but if you want to ask anything specific, feel free.

BTW, I am UK-based and here the police officer's tool is conversation (as opposed to America, where it is his gun). This is para-phrased from a cop on a show here that went across to the USA for an exchange, to see how the job differed over the ocean..
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Old March 28th, 2011, 02:37 PM   #11
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Re: Doing a Police 'Ride Along'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Chalmers View Post
BTW, I am UK-based and here the police officer's tool is conversation (as opposed to America, where it is his gun). This is para-phrased from a cop on a show here that went across to the USA for an exchange, to see how the job differed over the ocean..
I wonder if that cop show is the same one that came to this city that I am working for. They told me about several officers coming over from England (London maybe) to record a tv show a few years back.
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Old March 29th, 2011, 03:41 AM   #12
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Re: Doing a Police 'Ride Along'

Could well be, I can't find the clips (or a good link) just now, but it was a few years ago and they were English police.

Depending on how you want the show to look, you might want to consider b-roll. This means asking the police to drive off after an incident (so you can film them driving off) and then coming back to collect you. Getting shots of police cars driving about with sirens on, getting clean shots of things happening with nobody speaking in the shot.. Just things to think about prior to the edit.
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Old November 16th, 2011, 04:10 PM   #13
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Re: Doing a Police 'Ride Along'

This reply is a little bit late but I help produce a run/gun local television series that includes ride alongs with a law enforcement agency in South Florida. I may be able to answer some of your questions. Please feel free to ask.

Gary G.

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