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Old November 18th, 2005, 10:12 AM   #16
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Robert, have you tried a hand held stabilizer? If so, which one?

For most of my off-boat shots I'm at the rear of our IMX38 which has a beautifully laid out cockpit. I have "free" reign of a platform seat (on which I stand) running from starboard to port right at the stern. Normally a back stay (rigid) and the boom swinging across are my only physical obstacles in that space. Now for the action shots of crew working, I'm always either on tripod or lying/sitting somewhere on the deck rail etc ... after two years, I'm getting a better sense of what shots work. My absolute favourite is in this montage clip (around 2/3's of the way in). The shot in question was done by extending the tripod to six feet, walking forward with the cam pointed down over two crew, swinging across to the pit man, then back to the tactician. I inserted a 90 rotation and some twixtor slow-mo in post to match the cam rotation.
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Old November 18th, 2005, 11:00 AM   #17
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Old November 18th, 2005, 12:14 PM   #18
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Mako Head Nautical Stabilizerr

The MAKOHEAD is a custom stabilizer for use on boats.

MAKOHEAD
www.makohead.com

Relative Thread
www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=28455
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Old November 18th, 2005, 12:32 PM   #19
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Hey Dennis,

Very cool. I only have dial up where I am today so, it took a while to download but, it was well worth it. Nice job.

If you are making some of your video shots on a tripod already, here is what I would recommend you try.

Use your sticks shortlegged. Raise the camera (extend the yoke of the tripod) about three or four inches and lock everything down. To make a shot from atop the coachroof spread the legs, make your shot. Now pick up the tripod at the yoke (right below the camera), push the legs together, and you have an instant stabilizer. Hold this setup away from your body with your arm bent at the elbow and allow your arm to absorb the vertical motion. The weight of the tripod below your hand will act the same way a keel does on the boat. That is, it will counterbalance the weight of the camera and help alleviate the roll of the boat. To do a "crane" shot like in the montage, just grab the end of the legs and hold the tripod/camera configuration up high and start moving.

As you may have noticed the smaller and lighter weight your rig under these conditions, the better. That statement is well backed up by the crew. You will seldom see large people on racing boats. The important thing is to stay small, nimble, and ready to move quickly.

Exercise caution when using your cam on any kind of mechanical rig. Many of us have lost more than one camera overboard during a tack or jybe. Tactitions and helmsmen are not above (accidentally) kicking your camera overboard if they think you are interfering with the performance of the crew.

A good place to shoot from to get the full action of the cockpit is from down the companionway. The shot angle is low, typically looking up into the faces of the crew and on wide angle will show most of the cockpit, tangle of lines, crew bracing themselves, swinging mainsheet on a tack, etc., and your mic is typically protected from the wind so the sound byte is usually great. You also are closer to the keel so, you will feel less motion of the boat, if you don't get seasick while below.

Mainly have fun. Cut a piece together for the crew. They will enjoy seeing themselves at work and, more than once I have had a skipper hire me for a day in the offseason so the crew can watch video of themselves to see how to better work together.

Oh yea, I am not familiar with the boat you are on but, I did Google it up to get a look at the deck plan. Pretty boat. But, with that fin keel it will never be a stable shooting platform. The deck area behind the helmsman is a good place to stay out of everyone's way. That is good fortune for you. Just watch out for the boom.

Robert
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Old November 18th, 2005, 02:04 PM   #20
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Thanks Robert. Actually I'm a regular member of the crew (and have been for three years). These days I'm the headsail trimmer. That little piece you looked at was part of the "2005 End of Nav" DVD I did up for the yacht club's end of season gala. It was projected up on the big screen for two hours during the symposium and dinner (muted). This year there was a lot of interest from other skippers after seeing the piece, so who knows, I may just do a few of these for hire next season.

I'm doing a more "IMX38-centric" edit for our annual crew party too. This will be edited for crew consumption only. I'm wrapping up my first year doing this video thing, so there was a 2004 version, but not quite as elaborate. The skipper and crew are completely enthusiastic and realize that if they don't suck up enough, I'm not necessarily nice in the edit :-) Winter is long here so the DVD's get a lot of play during the off season.

Knowing the drill is very important to not getting hurt, and the tactician/skipper are OK with me doing things like evading tacks by stepping around the forestay, when I'm in "scamper" mode. I have free reign of the boat limited only by my common sense. Agreed on the companion way tip. The only down side to that happened to me during the high wind start of the last race of the season. I was trapped below (the pit man stands in the companionway) and missed some serious tactical high jinx at the start. The good news is that I had the camera and Rode mic on so I got audio that I would never have planned on. The rigging groaning, winches spinning, guys yelling...it made a dramatic audio background for my intro titles.

I've ended up this year using my rig exactly as you described, taking advantage of the heavy legs to help stabilize the unit. Based on this thread, I really think I can do better though with a small stabilizer and a ton of practice for the boat to boat shots. I've seen some footage of high wind, heavy seas, maxi-yacht racing, seemingly taken from the water (very low angle), that was rock steady and I've been pondering ever since how they possibly did it.
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Old November 18th, 2005, 02:50 PM   #21
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I like your phrase "scamper mode". With your permission I will include that in my vocabulary. I agree that stuff shot on the maxis look different than the stuff we shoot. Several reasons, boats are twice the size, three times the weight, twelve foot keels, and eighteen foot beams. Much more stable platforms. Added beam and just overall size of the cockpit allow a lot more space to work and "steadicam" rigs certainly have been used. Many is the time I have seen some of that footage and was a bit envious. But, alas, I do not get invited to crew in maxi competitions very often (read that-never). NOOD maybe, maxis? naw. I am resigned to my fate in Galveston Bay and The Gulf of Mexico.

I realize I did not fully answer your previous question re: the rigs I have tried. My first underway shoot was with a shoulder mount hi-8 several years ago. What a nightmare. Camera too big, Boat too small, whatever, it was a nightmare. I was delighted when the handycams came out. That is heaven to me. I had to practice and find the best way to hold and use them, but I did. It doesn't always look "professional" but, heck I'm too old to care about that. My job is to get the shot, whatever it takes.

The rigs that I and several associates have tried over the years have been varied. I can't give you brand names. Some rigs were commercial and some were homemade. I do know of one guy that even mounted a helicopter mount (with gyros) to the trailing edge of the mast. I never saw the footage but he sure went to a lot of trouble. I had nightmares for weeks of the spinnaker pole going right through that thing on a tack hookup.

Most of the steady type rigs for small cameras have only been out two or three years. I gave up on trying to use them before that so, I do not have a lot of experience with them. That said, find some place you can borrow, or rent for a weekend to try them out before you buy. You could wind up with a closet full of them just to find out none of them do what you are trying to do on a 38' medium displacement boat.

Oh yea, I took a look at that Mako Head. Heck, it's only 50 pounds. Maybe the skipper would let you mount that to the end of the boom. That would be some cool shots.
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Old November 18th, 2005, 03:41 PM   #22
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Well, I'm not even going to try and guess what the Mako is worth.
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Old November 18th, 2005, 03:46 PM   #23
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Yea, but you know how these raceboat skippers are. They love to show off new equipment on their boats.
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Old November 18th, 2005, 04:02 PM   #24
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Found the clip. How'n the heck'd they do this? http://first317.janwil.nl/Mumm30.mpg Are the low angle shots heli shots?
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Old November 18th, 2005, 04:07 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Emory
The MAKOHEAD is a custom stabilizer for use on boats.

MAKOHEAD
www.makohead.com

Relative Thread
www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=28455
Hi James,

Do you know the exact price?

Just curious

TIA

Regards
Leigh
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Old November 20th, 2005, 02:06 AM   #26
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Leigh, I don't think you can buy the Mako system. I believe it is just for rentals only. It's like Panavision cameras, you can't buy them, you can only rent them. You could give them a call to see what the rates are.
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Old November 28th, 2005, 11:19 PM   #27
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Ok, here's a rather large (47MB) download, but it illustrates perfectly the issues on the sailboat. The footage is from a start sequence with plenty of tactical transitions, close calls etc. I've left in the shaky stuff. It's some of the crew party stuff so the music and edits are much more "aggressive".
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