tilting with a merlin or blackbird at DVinfo.net

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Old July 1st, 2010, 02:02 AM   #1
Inner Circle
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tilting with a merlin or blackbird

Below a link to flightplan with Jodie Foster (one of my favorite actresses) where you can see a steadicam shot following Jodie when she walks down the stairs. Because the camera is in front of her it needs to tilt up during that movement to keep her face in frame and I was wondering if that is even possible with a Merlin or Blackbird? (without the use of a vest and arm)
Are these types of steadicams not limited to horizontal movement only?

Steadishots.org : Steadicam Shot by Jacques Jouffret from Flightplan
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Old July 1st, 2010, 04:55 AM   #2
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Yes you can do it and in the DVD that comes with the Black Bird even shows you how. Now let me say that the example that you gave is possibly the best and smoothest Steady Cam shot ever!! Even Charles Papart has used it as an example of how good it is. So unless you are that good your results may very.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 05:50 AM   #3
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My ambitions don't reach that far to produce such a stunning move with just a handheld stabiliser :) I just used it as example to know if it was possible to make tilting moves with such a device. Thx a lot for letting me know.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 11:02 PM   #4
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I can replicate anything I do with the Pilot/Clipper with the Merlin...just takes practice.
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Old July 1st, 2010, 11:50 PM   #5
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You can adjust the yaw of the stage so it is possible, probably not as smooth thou.
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Old August 16th, 2010, 02:23 PM   #6
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As for the tilt, I set the front back balance to fit the shot. when I first got the BB, I was chasing my kids so it needed to be tilted down. Worked great.

As for getting the ultimate in smoothness, I cheat and use a plugin to "assist" in post. As an FCP user, I use Lock and Load to further smooth out the blackbird shots as I'm kinda new to stabilizer use. It does a killer job of removing footstep bounce and makes me look better than I am. Used sparingly, there is no discernible loss of quality in the vid either!

And for the purists out there... the plugin is a crutch right now but I am getting much better with the BB and am now comfy taking it on client shoots. Did one last week that went great!
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Old August 17th, 2010, 08:22 PM   #7
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Example video with cam tilted up

Yes, a shot walking down steps backwards in front of the actor is easier if the rig is balanced tilted up at an appropriate angle. Any parts of the shot on level ground then require that you hold the tilt down to level, but thatís easier than trying to hold a tilted position up while walking down steps.

The toughest part of course is the backwards walking down the steps. YOU MUST USE A SPOTTER. With a video camera you could try Don Juan position (camera to your side pointed backwards), but I was using a T2i where itís not possible to see the viewscreen in the Don Juan position.

This afternoon I decided to try a shot in the fashion of the very cool scene shot by Jacques Jouffret from Flightplan.

Down the steps was good, but sort of lost it with roll at ground level for this take. Well regardless, it shows you certainly can do this kind of shot with a handheld stabilizer.

Rich Greb
Camera Motion Research

Last edited by Rich Greb; August 18th, 2010 at 08:01 PM. Reason: Imbed the Vimeo
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