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Old November 9th, 2005, 01:21 AM   #1
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Vehicle mounted Steadicam clips

I shot some bike riding sequences with a Steadicam Flyer that I thought someone might find interesting. The arm was mounted to a vertical column welded to a trailer hitch. I'm not that experienced with the rig yet and so I didn't get any "perfect" footage, but I got some really nice useable footage for what I needed, and it was actually pretty easy with some practice. It was also probably the only way I could get footage like this. We sometimes got up to 25-35 mph. Here's some short little samples (~ 3-6MB).

http://www.jewsfortruth.org/test-video/biking-1.mov
http://www.jewsfortruth.org/test-video/biking-2.mov
http://www.jewsfortruth.org/test-video/biking-3.mov
http://www.jewsfortruth.org/test-video/biking-4.mov
http://www.jewsfortruth.org/test-video/biking-5.mov
http://www.jewsfortruth.org/test-video/steadibike1.jpg
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Old November 10th, 2005, 11:14 AM   #2
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That looks pretty cool. I'd be curious to see how shaky it is without the steadicam.

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Old November 10th, 2005, 11:45 AM   #3
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Matthew:

Good job on your setup, very safe and secure.

I would caution you based on the picture to make sure to resist the temptation to rest your elbows (particularly the left/operating hand) on the top of the tailgate as that may introduce a little bit of bounce to your work.

If you have the ability to trim down the vertical post, it's good to keep it as low as possible; in case of sudden lurches you don't want to end up eating it, could be rough on the teeth. If not possible to trim, a nice chunk of foam rubber taped around the post would do.

Did you have any problems with the rig bumping the tailgate during sudden stops (which are obviously to be avoided)? It looks like you have enough room to play with between the two.

The great thing about working out of the back of a van is that it creates a very effective wind block, which is one of the major issues with operating stabilizers off open vehicles like an ATV etc.

The way I've usually approached vans and flatbed trucks is to drop the tailgate, secure a 4x8 sheet of plywood down to the bed via c-clamps and sandbags and mount either a hi-hat or speedrail fittings to the plywood followed by the Steadicam vehicle mount. If need be I sit on the back end of the tailgate with my feet hanging off (a speedrail or 2x4 footbrace is excellent for this) and the mount in between my legs. This allows for maximum flexibility in shooting rear and to the sides--I'm sure you noticed the complication in your setup of shooting to the operator right side (driver's side) of the van as you have to push the rig out around the corner to clear the mount, arm and edge of the van.

The footage looked great! As I'm sure you've discovered, shooting telephoto material is where this setup really shines compared to shooting off sticks or handheld--it's almost freakishly steady, right?
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Old November 10th, 2005, 01:02 PM   #4
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Hi Matt,

What camera did you use? The picture looks nice =)
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Old November 10th, 2005, 01:48 PM   #5
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Matt,
cool shots and pic, thanks for sharing!
I really like the first one with the slow tilt up. :-)

..Looks like an XL2 there I belive.. without teh sunshade though.. (?)

I can see a bit of gear on the roof.. did you have the door tied open somehow? (so as not to get slammed in case of a bump) - with a telescoping poll you can also extend it all the way to hold the door open if there isn't a window there..

Where you strapped/harnessed in for the shots?

- Mikko
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Old November 10th, 2005, 02:05 PM   #6
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That footage was great! Very steady. Did you have the camera's image stabilizer on as well? I'm assuming you were using the long lens to get the tighter shots or was the cycler closer to camera while using the wide lens with limited but useful reach? I have got to get a Flyer!
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Old November 10th, 2005, 11:47 PM   #7
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Thanks Guys,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quoc Peyrot
That looks pretty cool. I'd be curious to see how shaky it is without the steadicam.
I'm a little curious too, but I didn;t try it. I have shot from a vehicle on occassion before and it's nowhere that smooth.

Charles,
Good advice abouthte elbows, I think I was resting part of my right arm, though closer to the shoulder. The rig stayed far enough from the tailgate that we didn't have problems. Yeah the van blocked the wind beuatifully. I can't imagine trying without some type of shielding. What I thought was cool about the setup we had was that it was really cheap and secure and offered considerable freedom, though you are right about gettigntot eh dirver's side. But I think the Steadicam vehicle mount runs upwards of 1K, so I was happy with spending the $30 or so plus the hitch to rig this up. Telephoto is defintely a challenge, but with some practice can give some great shots, very smooth.

We shot with an XL2. I took the lens shade off to reduce wind effects.
Yes Mikko, we did tie the rear hatch securely to keep it from possibly falling; however, I was not tied in at all. I felt pretty secure, since the doors are fairly high off the floor of the van, but I'm sure I could have received a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt!

James, I did leave the OIS on the lens on as well. The CU of the kid was by zooming in. We tried to keep him about 15 feet behind the van for safety.

Frankly, now I wish I had more shots like where I could do this in our film. It was a lot of fun and with practice, can produce some neat stuff. I shot some cars as we were traveling at about 40 a couple of times, reminded me of the shots you see in car commercials.

I've got access to a golf cart, that will be my next attempt.

Mikko,
I think I saw you using the flyer on an ATV. How did that work out?
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Old November 11th, 2005, 08:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Wilson
I took the lens shade off to reduce wind effects.
Taking the lens shade off to reduce drag.. EXCELENT idea! I will definatly have to keep that in mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Wilson
Mikko,
I think I saw you using the flyer on an ATV. How did that work out?
Nope I haven't use the Flyer on an ATV.. you are probably refering to the shot I did from a bike trailer on a dirt path in the forest.
Pic: http://mikko.n3.net/photos/flying/pa..._BAD_idea.html
As the title of the picture sugests, it didn't work out so great:
The shot was fine, infact it's in my reel, however as we went around a corner we cought a small stump on the inside wheel. With me sitting so high in the trailer it caused it to flip and dump me (luckly going relativly slowly). I landed on my back which was very nicely padde by the vest, and bumped my helmet on the dirt. I caught the rig [Flyer's are light.. :-) ] got up, rebalanced and continued with the shoot.
Moral of the story: Be carefull, and ALWAYS wear a helmet!

- Mikko
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Old November 14th, 2005, 02:15 AM   #9
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Yeah, you're right Mikko, that's the picture I saw. Looks like it could have been a rough ride. Funny, the pic doesn't show you wearing a helmet. Hmm, you must have wised up quickly.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 07:35 AM   #10
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Heh, yeah. That picture was taken as someone was running back to the car to pick up the spare helmet I asked for..

Just moments later: http://mikko.n3.net/photos/flying/pa..._a_helmet.html (note the caption)

- Mikko
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Old November 17th, 2005, 01:12 AM   #11
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Matthew,

Very nice shots!

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