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Sony NXCAM NEX-FS700 CineAlta
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Old September 29th, 2013, 02:35 PM   #1
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Any advice for taking a difficult shot?

Hey everyone,

I am looking for any useful advice regarding a difficult shot we are going to take for a client. We are going for a 'Jaws effect' shot, where we are focussing on an object and do a dolly shot towards the object while zoom out. This way you get the effect of the object that stays at the same spot, but the surrounding are changing in a dramatic way. Next to that it should be a timelapse shot, where people come in and out the room and touch the object. We want to take the shot for a minimum of 1 hour. We'll have to take this shot within 2 weeks, so time pressure.

A few problems with this shot:
- We want to shoot this shot with our floatcam dollycrane. This way we can control the movement forward by the motion control remote. By moving forward you can use quite a small part of the dolly, without seeing the front site of the rail in the shot. We probably solved this problem. We builded a piece that can be attached to the head of the dolly and goes up for a meter high. This way we can go further back without seeing the front of the rails in the shot.
- What is the best way to achieve the light beam effect in the timelapse with people come in and out of the room with the Sony FS700? S&Q 1fps and 1/30 shutter? Will this achieve enough motion blur? It will be a good lit room, so probably we'll have to use a couple of ND filters.
- We have to focus on the object, but we are doing a long time-lapse. A manual focus pull would be very difficult. We've found a focus assist that has a laser that points on the object and keeps the focus. I don't have the name here, but will have it tomorrow. Problem is, that it will be available in the end of the year and we'll have to take this shot within 2 weeks. Does anybody have some advice on the best way to do this?
- For a test shoot we used a Canon 16-35 mm lens. I thought the effect of the changing surroundings was to little. We have to make this more dramatic. Probably this lens is to wide for this. We haven't had to time to test it, but maybe the Canon 24-70 mm will get a more dramatic effect. Any tips for this problem will help a lot.

I would be very happy with any input for this shoot. Hope to hear from you guys. Thanks in advance.

Niels
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Old September 29th, 2013, 04:39 PM   #2
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Re: Any advice for taking a difficult shot?

Several thoughts ---
(I think of this as the 'Vertigo' shot.)
I've done this type of shot a few times at real speed, but never as time lapse. However...
I've never done this with a zoom ratio of less than 5:1 -- and often would put on a 10:1 or 15:1 zoom -- Unless you've tested the shot fully and you think the effect is sufficient, I'd try to go with a much higher ratio lens than the 16-35 or 24-70.
When I've done the shot, a lot of its success (or lack thereof) has been based on how good my 'eye-hand-coordination' has been between the featured person and keeping them the same size in frame. It may be easier with an object than with a person, but unless you have an incredibly slow zoom motor you're going to have a tough time keeping the zoom consistent for that long. Any zoom irregularity will show up big-time.
I'm less concerned about the focus issue -- just measure the distances ahead of time, make marks and have a good focus puller.
You may want to go with a much slower shutter speed. For simple time lapse on my EX or PMW200 I normally do 1 fps with shutter at 16 frames SLS (frame accumulation mode) to get people motion smoothed out.
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Old October 1st, 2013, 03:27 PM   #3
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Re: Any advice for taking a difficult shot?

Good advice Dave! Thanks a lot!
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Old October 6th, 2013, 08:35 AM   #4
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Re: Any advice for taking a difficult shot?

Hey guys,

A quick follow up.

Later this year there will be motion controlled machines that will be perfect for a shot like this, but we need it now, so that's not an option. We haven't had the time to test a lot, but have monday and tuesday next week to do so. Thursday is the shoot.

So this is probably the way we go for this shot. We build a meter high piece on our floatcam dollycrane head, that we attached the fluid head of the tripod on. This way we don't see the track by moving forward. So that problem is solved.

Next to that we control the movement by the motion control of the floatcam dollycrane and set it to take a shot of 20 minutes (not really sure yet about the length of the shot, it depends on how slow we can set the automatic zoom of the lens, so it's open for discussion). In the end we do a ramp (option on the motion control of the floatcam), so the movement will slow down with a ease out.

We are probably going to buy the Sony NEX PZ 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS for the Sony FS700 (Sony NEX PZ 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS | Foto Konijnenberg). We are going to check the lens on monday, and I hope we can get the automatic zoom out as slow as possible. We will have to set the automatic zoom out as long as we are doing the shot and measure it to match the movement forward. This is still a problem, because I can't seem to find a spec of the lens about how slow you can set the automatic zoom out. Anyone who know this?

Next to that we will use a aperture as high as we can get, to get as much sharpness as possible. We need a lot of light for that. This way we can control the focus on the point of interest as good as it gets. The object probably will be placed in the room in post, so that should make it easier. We will try to fake the depth of field in post as good as possible.

Conclusion. Still the most difficult part, but the most important part too, is to fit the movement forward to the zoom out. The ease out makes this even more difficult. So as I write this down, I figure that if we do the ease out, we have to do the zoom out manually. If we motion control the floatcam dollycrane in one smooth speed, we can set the zoom out automatic. Then the speed of the motion control of the floatcam dollycrane has to match to slowest speed of the zoom out of the Sony NEX PZ 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS lens. This speed still has to be good enough to get the timelapse of people walking in and out of the room.

Any remarks, tips of tricks on above are welcome.
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