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Old January 13th, 2011, 01:04 PM   #1
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Filming from a boat deck; stabilizer on or off?

I have a project where I have to film from the deck of a motor launch in sheltered coastal waters. I will be shooting large ships in close proximity and little zoom will be required as we are going for wide views. EX1 will be on a tripod and normally I would have the optical stabilizer turned off, but I wonder if that is the best option for this situation. There will be some small waves, boat movement and I imagine some vibration from the boats motor . . . . any thoughts?
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Old January 13th, 2011, 02:47 PM   #2
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I shot some footage from a speedboat - we slowed the motor down so there was a steady forward motion. Using a tripod is a "no go" the camera will go up and down with the motion, this will make the viewer sea sick.. The best results I achieved was hand holding the camera with image stabiliser ON. Having said that, I had to throw out about 30% of the material due to vibration and other movement. However, by hand holding I could adjust for any slight deviation in boat movement.
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Old January 13th, 2011, 03:25 PM   #3
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If the motorboat youre on is planning, you cannot hold it still - just below planning is the best speed.
I have great luck recording in 1280x720 50P and with 1/100 shutter and then using mercalli stabilizer when editing. Have not tried the image stabilizer - cant you try that first. My guess is that it would help.
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Old January 13th, 2011, 03:52 PM   #4
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I spent many years filming the world windsurfing tour from all kinds of boats from RIB's to luxury yachts. The most stable platforms were often the yachts, especially under sail. RIB's are appalling as they rock and roll in every direction. As Vincent said a moving boat will generally be more stable than a stationary one. A good skipper will be able to read the water and take the boat along the tops of any swell which help. We always shot handheld. Sometimes you end up fighting the image stabiliser as there is some lag in it's operation which can make you overcompensate, but generally we did use stabilisers when available.

It really helps if you wear a large belt and get a seated assistant to help keep you steady by holding on to your belt while you stand up to shoot. The center of the boat will tend to move less than the ends or sides. Consider a lanyard to attach the camera to the boat and wear a life vest. You never know when a wave will rock the boat, especially when looking at the viewfinder and composing a shot. It's easy to suddenly loose your balance and either you or the camera could end up over the side very quickly!

Salt spray is incredibly corrosive to aluminium bodied cameras, so get a good tight fitting rain cover. A chamois leather will make a good lens cloth as it will work when wet. After the shoot clean anything that has been on the boat by wiping it down with a cloth soaked with water with a few drops of white vinegar. The vinegar neutralises the salt and helps stops corrosion. Once the salt gets onto any bare aluminium it will start to eat into it and it's almost impossible to stop further corrosion. Watch for any white powdery residue around screws etc on the camera, a sure sign of salt corrosion.
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Old January 14th, 2011, 03:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Oliver View Post
The best results I achieved was hand holding the camera with image stabiliser ON.
Same situation, my experience also.
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Old January 14th, 2011, 07:53 AM   #6
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If you need super smooth footage gyros are the way to go:

Kenyon Labs stabilizers

I have shot a lot on speedboats and patrol boats and I usually use a Stedicam. The heavier the rig the smoother the footage. Having a 6'4" Texan called Kurt holding onto you really helps as well.

I would use the IS. I often do if I have a cam with it. Often larger cameras don't have it.

A few times in smoother water I have used the "Fig Rig" on smaller cams like EX3 and 1R.

I use plastic garbage bags on all my gear when out in salt water.



http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/attachme...teadycomp1.jpg
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Old January 14th, 2011, 09:17 AM   #7
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I agree with Olof on this you need gyros if shooting from one boat to another. The rig has to be handheld and you need to be use to the boats movement. Do not use a tripod!!!

And when you use gyros you need two one under the camera in line with the lens and one off the back perpendicular to the other gyro. Always use the IS.

Here is picture of my old EX1 rig with two gyros I use for shooting with that camera from boat to boat.

Stay wide, do a small squat with your legs so you move with the boat and keep the lens steady. It is a fun workout for hours with both gyros, battery, and bent legs. I have been doing this for over 25 years and love it, this is what starting me in shooting in the first place when my business was coaching sailing and pro racing. Have Fun it is much better then being in a studio.

See post #7 in this thread for the picture.
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-xdc...-vs-rr-vs.html
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Old January 14th, 2011, 06:41 PM   #8
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Nice little setup Paul. Are those KS-4 gyros? Your stabilizing stick looks like a Steadystick. Others should know these are not a well advertised item. It is essentially a collapsible rod that under the tension of the camera and a waist-belt keeps the camera in a buoyant state. I have never used a Steadystick but have used a similar contraption with the much more ostentatious "Media Rig".

I would think a full blown Steadicam would be quite dangerous in a boat as the inertial forces of a Steadicam are quite formidable when large forces come into play like a helicopter arcing and spinning as well as a boat in a large swell.
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Old January 15th, 2011, 03:16 AM   #9
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Hi Andrew,

Those are KS-8's I found KS-4's are too small.

The spring loaded pole is from DVTEC - Home . I have three different lengths and have had them for years. They help to balance out the load, you can't put too much weight on the springs or it will just bounce. But over a long day the springs are a great help.

I know Olof has used a Steadicam on a boat but I have not. It would be very limiting and you are right once it starts one way and the boat has to go another way quickly you have a tough fight.
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Old January 15th, 2011, 04:21 AM   #10
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Interesting thread.
I have never thought about using stabilisers.

Here are two examples.
The first is Fig Rig/Sony A1.
The second is Fig Rig/Canon 5D.


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Old January 15th, 2011, 05:42 AM   #11
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Richard the gyros make a big difference. As I said above not as much while on the boat as shooting from boat to boat. But they still help while on the boat.
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Old January 15th, 2011, 06:13 AM   #12
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I'll second what Paul says about Gyros, although I prefer to have the camera in my hands than on my shoulder. I attach a single KS8 to the base of the camera and that allows my arms to absorb more movement than if it was on my shoulder. One gyro can not stabilize all axises of movement though, so it isn't perfect but I like to keep my rig light when on the water. I'd like to try Paul's rig as it would stabilize all axises but is obviously more costly and heavier.

Definitely no to a tripod and you also need to be extremely careful if using Steadicam as it could pull you to the bottom of the sea! Personally I would stick with handheld. As Alistair said, wrap the gear as nothing kills cameras faster than salt water.

If the budget is there, a helicopter is normally a better option.
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Old January 15th, 2011, 05:48 PM   #13
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You took the words out of my keyboard Mike, Steadycams are not an ideal substitute for a life jacket.
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Old January 15th, 2011, 08:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Vincent Oliver View Post
You took the words out of my keyboard Mike, Steadycams are not an ideal substitute for a life jacket.
When I shoot with the Stedicam on a boat, I always wear 2 inflatable PFD's. The camera also comes of the west instantly if you pull the arm up. And then there is Kurt for emergencies, as well as a few others on the boat or the boat/boats we are shooting.

Depending on the boat, I am sometimes clipped in as well. Been doing this for 25+ years, haven't drowned yet.
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Old January 16th, 2011, 03:52 AM   #15
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"When I shoot with the Stedicam on a boat, I always wear 2 inflatable PFD's."

I thought you were just putting on weight :-)

I'm sure your method works well for you, we all have our own techniques for doing things, the original poster has been given plenty of options.
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