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Techniques for Independent Production
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Old February 27th, 2007, 05:32 AM   #1
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That hand-held, floating, tilting look...

Couldn't quite succintly describe this in a few words for a title...might struggle to convey what I'm after given a few paragraphs also - apologies in advance!

I'm interested in how, without the use of a steadicam or other such tool the following look/s is/are achieved:

Firstly, the shot of a persons (usually close up on head/upper torso) when the camera is almost moving 180 degrees around the subject often set against a bright sunlit background, with the odd lens flare adding to this effect. Example films off the top of my head (usually see them in american independents) are 'the squid and the whale' and 'virgin suicides'...I'm sure there are many more. It appears less fluid and slightly 'shaky' than if shot with a steadicam, but I can't seem pinpoint whether or not this is held ENG style of the camera is held and moved whilst viewing the LCD screen and how I would best achieve this shot?

The other shot (and I'm sure this has been discussed on these threads before, though I couldn't find it in the search) is the 'tv drama' shot - the quick pan, short-fast zoom etc (24, NYPD blue et al).
I think on the latter, I'm probably after any tips you may be willing to impart - I guess this is a shot produced ENG style and honed after a long period of practice.

Hope at least some of the above makes sense!!

Many thanks.
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Old February 27th, 2007, 10:02 AM   #2
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Talking about kinda like this, for the floaty one?

http://www.joshbass.com/debt_wm9.wmv
http://www.joshbass.com/debt_qt.mov

(same file different formats)


If so, I found what looks "right" is to use a fluid head tripod (NOT handheld), and be on the longer end of the lens (zoomed in), and just make random movements. To me, the wider the shot, the less movement required to get the effect (e.g. if a person's face fills the screen, you can move a lot and it'll look cool. If their whole body fills the screen, and you do the same amount of movement, it's rather nauseating)

As for the NYPD Blue/Shield thing, I know NYPD used a geared head tripod, and wasn't handheld. If you have a fluid head tripod (a real fluid head, that is), you could try taking the drag/tension completely off. You'll have a very loose pan/tilt that feels almost uncontrollable. At least that's how it is with my Sachtler. Just move a lot, zoom in for no reason, go in and out of focus when there's no call for it.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 04:24 AM   #3
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That's the ticket Josh. Obviously, there are slight variants in the way this is shot but it's what I was trying to describe. There are other shots which actually move around the person - to me that's like a steadicam shot crossed with the footage you showed me...not quite sure how that works. If I find a link to this type of shot I'll post it.
However, thanks for the tip you posted - I'll give that some practice this week.
Not sure how well my tripod will stand up to this however - it's a Libec LS38.
Thanks for the advice Josh (and good work there).
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Old February 28th, 2007, 05:29 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Scattergood View Post
... the shot of a persons (usually close up on head/upper torso) when the camera is almost moving 180 degrees around the subject often set against a bright sunlit background, with the odd lens flare adding to this effect. Example films off the top of my head (usually see them in american independents) are 'the squid and the whale' and 'virgin suicides'...
David, I think that's most likely a handheld film camera, I remember the 'Virgin Suicides' had a lot of that. The difference is that the camera weights 5-10x what a camcorder does. "Handheld" in this case is different from what most homevideo users do; I always cradle my camera in my arms and try to make it a part of my body, kind of add weight to it.

Check out Scarlett Johansson wandering around The Ginza in 'Lost in Translation'. The special features on the DVD has a whole section on how they filmed that scene, all handheld.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 07:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
David, I think that's most likely a handheld film camera, I remember the 'Virgin Suicides' had a lot of that. The difference is that the camera weights 5-10x what a camcorder does. "Handheld" in this case is different from what most homevideo users do; I always cradle my camera in my arms and try to make it a part of my body, kind of add weight to it.

Check out Scarlett Johansson wandering around The Ginza in 'Lost in Translation'. The special features on the DVD has a whole section on how they filmed that scene, all handheld.
My camera, JVC GYHD100, is fairly heavy, especially with the large Hawks-Wood batteries attached, but I'd never though to cradle it as you suggested. Something else I'll be trying out later!

Actually, the Lost in Translation clip was on the tip of my tongue (same director as Virgin Suicides, so quite close).
I have the DVD so I'll give that a spin. Still getting used to 25p motion, which done right looks fantastic. I've followed a few cyclists on the streets (erm, but not in ulterior motive sense!) speeding around corners - when you get it spot on it works quite well. Just a little concerned with juddery motion via the handheld/cradled method.
Many thanks.
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