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Old May 13th, 2005, 11:31 PM   #1
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on-board footage stabilization

I am looking for a stabilizing rig for getting smoother on board train footage. This would include stabilization in all three degrees of freedom, as the passenger cars will lurch forwards and backwards, sway side to side, and bounce up and down along the track. Subject matter includes both the scenery whizzing by and interviews of people on board. Gyro stabilizers are probably the best way to go, but a little out of my price range. Would a gimbel (glidecam, steadicam) work in this situation? How would it handle the centripetal force of the train going around a banked corner? I would need to get the vest as per fatigue considerations. I am wondering if the DVRigPro with the spring mounted dampening (and extra weight) would actually work better for this situation. I do not need walking "flying shots" but statics shots to look static while the train is moving. What about shooting outside the window of a moving car? Cameras are Sony Z1 (with on-camera light and wireless mikes) on the heavy end down to a simple Sony FX1 on the light end.

Any information is gladly digested.

Camron
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Old May 14th, 2005, 03:39 AM   #2
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Well the short answer is: yes, gimbled rigs like Steadicam (and others...) will help smooth out any motion.

Thsi is done a lot from various vehicles. And also in. They are regualraly used in cars, ATVs, boats, etc...

Just as when attached to an operator, a rig in a larger moving vehicle will still do just the same job in accordance with the parameters of the system. (So if you are (hypotheticllay) lurching 6 feet, then the rig's arm can't take it..)
Because the camera is supportaed at it's CG it wont' roll around when you encounter bumps etc.

Normally a stabilizer is balanced to be slightly "bottom heavy" so that it will hang vertically. The result is that when changing speed or direction, thanks to a few fules Mr. Newton discovered, the bottom of the rig want's to swing or "Pendulum" out. This would also happen on a train cornering at speed.
However because you are shooting in a situation that the rig won't be moving, you can make the sled very "neutral" (less bottom heavy") so that it only just hangs down, that way the penduluming will be hugly reduced.

Your needs for a vest-arm system will depend on how long you wish to shoot. But with static shots you can generally hold the rig MUCH closer to you and in a way that is more comfterble for longer shooting.


Also, have you considered usign a tripod? With a nice solid tripod (with maybe some exra weight) it will just move the camera with the train as it lurches around and the result will be still footage of inside the train (of course this won't help for your window shot).

- Mikko
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Old May 14th, 2005, 08:42 AM   #3
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Another possibility is to use just the camera mounting section (aka sled) of a stabilizer without the vest and arm, and just hard-mount the gimbal handle to the deck. This will act similar to a ship's gimbal, helping keep the rig level without attempting to remove the spatial displacement (the angular axes of pan, tilt and roll which are affected tend to be the more invasive to the photography anyway). This could be done with a solid set of sticks and some sandbags, since you are likely talking about a fairly small stabilizer here.
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Old May 14th, 2005, 11:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Camron Settlemier
I do not need walking "flying shots" but statics shots to look static while the train is moving. What about shooting outside the window of a moving car?
How about just hard-mounting the camera to the train? This is done a lot for POV or talent shots like on cars, roller coasters, motorcycles, etc. and it looks pretty good because any motions by the vehicle won't show up on the footage because the camera is hard-mounted to it (assuming a good, rigid mounting). You could do this with a pumper suction cup and ball head or a Bogen Super Clamp and Magic Arm or a combination of grip equipment from Matthews.
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Old May 14th, 2005, 11:18 PM   #5
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high(er) freq shake

This might work for some situations, but a lot of this stuff will be run and gun. One thing as far as using a tripod (no room) or clamp/mount is that like a helicopter the train can have high frequency shakes that are best damped out some. That is one of the reasons I am wondering about the DVRigPro over gimble devices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim N Le
How about just hard-mounting the camera to the train? This is done a lot for POV or talent shots like on cars, roller coasters, motorcycles, etc. and it looks pretty good because any motions by the vehicle won't show up on the footage because the camera is hard-mounted to it (assuming a good, rigid mounting). You could do this with a pumper suction cup and ball head or a Bogen Super Clamp and Magic Arm or a combination of grip equipment from Matthews.
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Old May 15th, 2005, 12:24 AM   #6
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That's a good point. If there is a lot of vibration then definitely the clamp/mount method won't work. I guess it depends on what kind of train he's shooting on. I often take the commuter train in Los Angeles and the passenger cars have very good suspension. The ride is usually very comfortable and incredibly smooth. But if the track conditions are poor or if you go over a track turnout or an insulation gap there is kind of a thud.
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