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Panasonic DVX / DVC Assistant
The 4K DVX200 plus previous Panasonic Pro Line cams: DVX100A, DVC60, DVC30.


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Old February 19th, 2006, 09:35 PM   #1
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AGDVX100B Protection from dust

I am looking for some type of cover that would protect my camera from fine ash and sand. Any ideas?

I am also new at this and would like some opinions on shooting action shots. The video is going to be fairly fast motion of both the subject (airplane) and panning with a good quality fluid head tripod. These will be fairly tight shots and the airplane will be traveling at speeds of around 40-45 mph with the camera close in (10-30 yards away). My question is this, I want the sharpest picture and also want to leave the camera on auto for the most part. I have tried 60I and 30P in letter box and do not see a big difference any help on setting up the camera for this type of shot? I have a UV filter on now for some protection of the lense.

Greg
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Old February 20th, 2006, 04:17 AM   #2
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My personal inclination would be to bag the camera as much as I can or tape over the cassette enclosure plus any open sockets, unused slider switches or holes anywhere. Renting a professional enclosure mught be the best bet.

If the sun gets on the masking tape, it is going to leave a sticky mess, so take an old towel to toss over the camera and to tuck in under and maybe some large stationers rubber bands or even large bands cut from automotive inner tubes to strap the towel if conditions are windy as most airfields are inclined to be. This will shade the cam and help arrest a bit of dust.

Take a heavy case or holdall to put stuff in that may blow away from your shooting location or ay least a brick to put on them. Anything which blows into an aircraft propellor is going to end up very dissected.

Nearly always, something goes into the air inlets, not a good situation for the take-off or more critically, the climb-out in locations of high air traffic density.

My guess is you will be off to one side of the runway, hoping to get as head-on to the approaching aircraft as you can. Depending upon the light, this may give you some options to avoid dust.

The touchdown or lift-off point is best viewed if it occurs before you have to accellerate your panning movement otherwise you may lose it. It looks better from a more head-on direction too. A portion of a wing missing from the shot doesn't look as odd as part of the fuselage.

If the aircraft gets too big in the frame and you have to crop your shot, lose the tail, leave some nose-room space between front of aircraft and the leading frame edge of the panning movement.

Keep the pilot in the trailing half to one third of the frame and let the front of the growing size of the aircraft crop out of the frame as you pan, whilst keeping the pilot on the trailing half to one third of the frame.

Good pans of passing aircraft can add an exciting dyamic, especially if you can hold close on the pilot but another personal preference is to lock off the shot and let the aircraft do the moving into and out of the frame.

If I am shooting wide. The speed of the aircraft is accentuated. I also like to do the same with long telephoto lenses which accentuates the lift-off and any handling difficulties experienced by the pilot.

That involves adding hardware to the camera which is another story. This requires you know exactly where the aircraft is going to be so, preferably some opportunity of rehearsal so it is not always an option.


Chances are there will be some crosswind component in play which may enable you to remain upwind of much of the dust plume the aircraft kicks up.

Taking up a position on the upwind side of the crosswind direction also may give the pilot options in the event of things getting pear-shaped in the final approach.

A tail wheeled (taildragger) aircraft is more likely to swing at you on the upwind side once it has firmly settled on the runway and the pilot then loses control.

Any dust cover is of little use if you don't clean the dust off ot before you open it up.

If you have any camera assistants with you, get one man each on the tripod feet to hold them down but also to stay out of the way of your own feet.

Smooth panning on aircraft is a big vexation for me. I find myself pulling a big Miller off its feet trying to follow close passing aircraft. If you don't set the friction on, you find yourself hunting back and forth across the passing aircraft. If you do, you then find yourself forcing the friction = damned either way.

You need to set the tripod legs fairly narrow otherwise you find yourself tripping on the legs when panning. That unfortunately makes the thing easier to pull over, hence my advice on securing the tripod legs.

You may find yourself better off using the LCD screen rather than the eyepiece for this task. You may need to make a shade for the LCD screen.

Even if I use the LCD screen, I prefer to move the tilt-pan arm by whole of body movement as if viewing through the eyepiece rather than by arm flex alone as whole of body movement including flex of knees and upper leg muscles involves more mass and is more easily controllable.

Ie., right hand and wrist/elbow on the tilt-pan arm, left hand on lens ring. I also have a brace piece to support a long lens. The rear of this extends back to my shoulder. I often press my shoulder against this as if into the back of a rifle butt.

Then my left hand rests on the brace piece under the lens rings to help in the tilt-pan movement with fingertips for the lens control rings. Having a rest point near the lens controls makes them easier to find even if the whole manouvre looks dreadfully awkward.

My brace piece is just a crude piece of 2.5" x .75" dressed pine timber, a piece of alloy flatbar screwed on underneath with a choice of tripod threads tapped into it and a selection of mount holes in the timber for the camera mount. The brace piece needs a cross bar which butts against the face of the tripod head to stop the assembly twisting loose on the tripod when I get energetic.

I also find it helpful to adjust the tilt-pan arm out to the side if the option is there, or partially upwards if overheads are involved.

I don't use a Panasonic so can't give valid advice on settings.

M personal preferences are for manual settings for the image gain, 0db gain if lighting conditions permit, or a gain level which will give me best image at aperture f5.6 and shutter speed of 1/215 of a second. This will slow the motion of the propeller but not so that it is entirely frozen.

In adverse lighting, I choose to open the aperture and slow the shutter speed before I ramp up the gain to try to limit gain noise in the image.

My preferred shutter speed also has the effect of sharpening the image when the subject dances around in the frame. It can be a bit overdone and strobey vision is just as irritating as blurry stuff.

Don't forget to select optical steadyshot "off" if your camera has this option otherwise your pans are going to be choppy.

One audio channel on auto, the other on a slightly higher manual setting to bracket the audio levels. If you can get a sound man and a shotgun mike with a good shaggy windsock, do so. All airfields are windy most times and sound is always a problem I find.

Don't forget to take your sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat and a water bottle. The water is handy for cleaning grubby hands. If it is sunny and the wind is blowing you can get burned and windcut very quickly.

If you prefer to handhold your camera, a Kenlabs Gyro, undersized, not the appropriate size for your camera, can help dampen the overshoots on your panning wthout locking you down like heavy tripod friction can.

If you do a 180degree pan handheld, place your feet evenly facing the runway side, twist your body to enable the aircraft to be aquired, follow the aircraft by twisting your body and avoid taking steps if you ca help it.

For partially overhead handheld follows, it is helpful to have an assistant ready to grab a double handful of rear trouser belt to stop you from going over and losing the shot.

Steep overhead pans involve a conical movement of the field of view and are most dfficult to execute with a tripod and most always fail.

Interlace may give you better motion but if you intend to take frame grabs from the footage, you may find progressive better overall as interlace artifacts combined with high shutter speeds and subject movement make for an ugly still-shot.

All of this you probably already have considered. These comments are not the definitive but my personal preferences only. There are others who might differ from my preferences and also more experenced than I in aviation videography so take notice of them.

Enjoy. Don't forget the humans who fly them. People who are not aviation enthusasts get bored very quickly without the human interest connection.

("Plane Junkie" - about the lifestyles of aircraft and the people who inhabit them").

Last edited by Bob Hart; February 20th, 2006 at 04:51 AM.
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Old February 20th, 2006, 06:27 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Miller
I am looking for some type of cover that would protect my camera from fine ash and sand. Any ideas?

I am also new at this and would like some opinions on shooting action shots. The video is going to be fairly fast motion of both the subject (airplane) and panning with a good quality fluid head tripod. These will be fairly tight shots and the airplane will be traveling at speeds of around 40-45 mph with the camera close in (10-30 yards away). My question is this, I want the sharpest picture and also want to leave the camera on auto for the most part. I have tried 60I and 30P in letter box and do not see a big difference any help on setting up the camera for this type of shot? I have a UV filter on now for some protection of the lense.

Greg
short n sweet reply... usually i ramble but i CBF...

Kata make a good raincover/dustcover, however its pretty pricey.. Ive been using Kata dustcovers for XMoto stuff in high density dust (obviously dirt bikes make a mess... )
another option is glad wrap and u ONLY leave teh lens exposed, using a UV filter to protect it.

as for detail, depending on the "look" you want.. if you high detail at high speeds, id run it in progressive 24p, or 60i (ur in NTSC land yes? ) and run a shutter of no less than 1/250th. Increase your chroma level a bit, and lower your mater pedestal, increase your detail coring and decrease your detail level...

this should give you nice smooth supersharp pictures..
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Old February 20th, 2006, 11:11 AM   #4
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Thanks for the information, I am actually the pilot of the airplane and this is all off airport flying. If you want to see a teaser of our 1st DVD shot with cheap JVC cameras at www.bigrockslongprops.com. We have been selling them for about 4 months now and I decided to buy some goood camera equipment for the next DVD. We take turns filming each other and so I shoot him and he shoots me. I will look into the real cover as that is what I was looking for. Thanks for the great feedback.

I tried to find the Kata cover, is there a web site for this?

Greg
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Old February 20th, 2006, 09:34 PM   #5
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Glenn.

Given that you are an airman, most of my "know-it-all???" commentary above is obviously redundent.

I can't download vision due to limitations of my computer. What aircraft are you flying for the video?
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Old February 21st, 2006, 12:21 AM   #6
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I fly an Experimental Maule, highly modified. My buddy is flying a Piper Supercub. I thank you for your comments.

I found a rain cover for the DVX at B&H for 49.95 so I will see if it may do the job.

Greg
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 12:32 AM   #7
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Glenn.

I managed to get the clip to download and open. All I can say after viewing the DVD teaser and reading some of the associated websites is - all that I said above is most definitely redundent.

Do the tyres actually aquaplane across deeper water or create a pressure zone in shallow water against the riverbed?

Is there a PAL version of your DVD.?

The only thing I can add is if your current project includes more on-water touchdowns from an overhead viewpoint, give a thought to using a polarising filter on one of the shots.

The filter will eliminate much of the reflection so the underwater riverbed detail can be seen just before the tyres touch and drag white marks across the water. With luck you might even see a salmon or two.

If your airplane kicks up lots of dust and the dust cloud can come between your camera and the aircraft, don't forget to try for a shot against the rising or setting sun with the aircraft as a silhouette blocking the sun.

You should get some cool radiating patterns in the dust around the aircraft. Set manual options for this and keep the image gain down so the brightness level doesn't "pump" if stray direct sunlight comes into the image through the windows etc.. Also play with the shutter speeds on this one. Strobe effects off the prop in the dust cloud may also look good.

I'm probably restating the obvious however opening my mouth anyway.

Enjoy.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 04:20 PM   #8
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Sorry no PAL
The tires hydroplane down to around 27-28mph after that you sink, if it is deep your in trouble, if it is less then a foot or so and you have some power in you can plow through it.

thanks for the ideas for overhead and sunset, I also think it looks cool when the propeller is strobing.

Greg
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 06:08 AM   #9
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Glenn.

I forgot to mention, with the polariser, I think this will require a rehearsal overflight or two to find the best setting for the polariser.

A nice shot if you can get it is a long telephoto of a two-aircraft crossover. With really long lenses the aircraft can be safely separated and still look close. Most crossovers I have shot have been of congested queues of aircraft taxing or waiting for their take-off clearance.

Another nice shot is co-pilot's POV from one aircraft to another, both taxying one behind the other, then turning 90 degrees to become side-on in the run-up bay and halting together.

Stay on the leading aircraft as your own aircraft swings and as your aircraft pulls up as you pan to keep the other aircraft in frame. Your shot pans onto your own pilot. You may need to hire a KS6 gyro in your case if you are working over rough ground but those tyres look to be quite a smooth ride.

This shot may not be an option in your case if your aircraft are two-seat in line and not across like a Cessna 152, but for taxying only, door off and an outrigger mount in its place might work as well.

You may need some added light on your pilot but most cockpits are lighted up front and if the pilot sits forward should be bright enough.

Again, you probably already do this stuff, but there it is anyway.
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