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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old December 7th, 2005, 11:40 PM   #1
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shooting from fixed wing....

have had considerable experience in the past using sp rigs in helicopters, either with universal mounts or off the shoulder. usually we shot wide to reduce vibration, and with few exceptions, results were pretty good.

however, what to do with 170 in fixed wing with no mounts or anything - and probably through glass?

suggestions most welcome ASAP - shoot is on monday.

no, there isn't any budget for anything other than stock and a packet of anti-airsickness tablets.

thanks,

leslie
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Old December 7th, 2005, 11:52 PM   #2
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A polarizer will help with the reflections off the plastic windows.

Hold the camera across your body with the lens pointed to the left. Hold both ends of the camera in the 'U' formed by your thumbs and the rest of your hand and with your arms vertical and out a bit from your body. That will allow you to handle relatively large vertical movements. Flip the LCD panel back against the camera body so you can watch it for framing.

I do this shooting out of the sides and back of police vehicles over fairly rough roads and it works quite well.

The only thing to watch out for is the tendency to tip the camera a bit. Practice will have your images quite steady.
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Old December 8th, 2005, 12:32 AM   #3
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thanks mike.

will probably keep wa on, so polorizer is out (and even if it wasn't, couldn't get one in time for monday).

interesting way of holding the camera, will give it a whirl later today. just to clarify - i should be sitting facing forward, holding camera pointing to left and viewing / framing on lcd locked back into camera body?

and upside down of course cause i'm in australia....

thanks,

leslie
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Old December 8th, 2005, 12:45 AM   #4
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Yes, you have it right. You can also shoot to the right but then you will have to flip the image in post or you can simply sit backwards which works OK too.

I also shoot out the back of vans and SUVs with this technique, sitting crosswise on the vehicle floor.

For a fun effect, do this from a moving car but slow the shutter speed way down. If you keep another vehicle (in the next lane) centered while you do this, the vehicle will be more or less in focus but the background will have a wonderful flowing image effect. I use it to isolate motorcycle officers from otherwise ugly backgrounds. You will have to close the aperature down if you are using manual exposure.

It will probably be better if you hold the camera upright with relationship to your body and simply balance on your head to counter the down-underness of your shooting position.
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Old December 8th, 2005, 09:03 AM   #5
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I have filmed a lot in airplanes and don't worry, PDs/VXs are rather stable in them when filming by hand. Some good tips were already given above so I can only second them. By the way, the aircraft windows often have frames around them. You should try placing the camera's hood on the frame and you might get wonderful results.
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Old December 8th, 2005, 10:47 PM   #6
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thanks gents....

mike, with reference to:

"It will probably be better if you hold the camera upright with relationship to your body and simply balance on your head to counter the down-underness of your shooting position."

do you know if b&h, sacthler, panaflex, etc., make any sort of harness that might releive some of the above discomfort?

alternatively, maybe i could get the pilot to do some tight manouvers that might give me zero g while shooting....

again, many thanks,

leslie
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Old December 8th, 2005, 11:15 PM   #7
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I generally use a mac ydaets and then shoot from an inverted aircraft. Alternately, a truss designed for hernia patients will sometimes relieve discomfort or so I've heard.

I am assuming you have no choice to rent an aircraft with a camera port or two.
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Old December 8th, 2005, 11:25 PM   #8
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we're lucky enough to have a plane with motor and not a large wind-up elastic band - though that was the ep's first choice!!!

again, thanks, will let you know how it goes.

leslie
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Old December 15th, 2005, 12:35 AM   #9
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great technique mike!

it worked very well.

i have to say that this was both my first time shooting from a fixed wing in the outback, and doing so with a 170.

a. on the whole i don't think i'll ever bother with fixed wing outside of metropolitan areas, or flat grasslands - we hit a huge amount of turbulence over the mountains, and at that point i don't think anything at all would have steady camera movement!

b. the pics were as i expected from the 170, good, but not great - acceptable for the budget. can't say i particularly enjoyed working with it either. much too light in the circumstances, using mikes technique, i found the camera almost floating out of my hands whenever we hit turbulence (so that what's weighlessness feels like?), and would have preferered a heavier rig.

anyway, client happy, i'm content that we got what the budget could stretch to - but overall, if we're going to do aerials in the future, it has to be a chopper, and a serious camera (say a 500 upwards).

thanks again one and all,

leslie
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Old December 15th, 2005, 02:01 AM   #10
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Love that turbulence. That's why a lot of aerial work is done in early morning. Sounds like you talked the pilot into those zero G maneuvers.

Bigger camera is just going to cause problems. Mount some weight on the 170 to increase it's mass. It isn't weight that's the issue, it is mass. Mass, even in a weightless state, dampens motion.

Another trick would be a bungee cord looped around a leg and attached to the camera (down low). Then you could keep the cord under tension and the camera will tend to stay down.

Remember, a 170 hitting you in the face will hurt. A 500 will do damage and is oh so hard to hold up for long.
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Old December 15th, 2005, 02:29 AM   #11
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we started out at 9, i wanted 7 and catch the early light, give some nice shadowing, etc., but....

i used to do ok with my 400 out of fixed wing (mostly metro areas), but then again, that's over 5 years ago, and i think you might be right - my shoulder would probably give out before the first tape.

bungy cord sounds good too. however, i'll stick out next time for a chopper and a 500 (one money shot has got to be better than three discount ones?)

how do you think the new sony fx whatever would have done shooting in sd?

leslie
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