Level a camera head on a ship? at DVinfo.net

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Old October 23rd, 2007, 07:20 PM   #1
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Level a camera head on a ship?

How do you level a camera head on a ship..... A friend of mine works on the cruise lines and this is a question he asked. Since the ship is always pitching with the waves what is level????

Any suggestions ??

DaNc
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 07:27 PM   #2
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If your frame of reference is the ship itself then it should be pretty easy to just line the camera up with horizontal or vertical lines while looking through the viewfinder. If shooting the ocean you could do the same thing using the horizon, but of course that will constantly change as the ship pitches...
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Old October 24th, 2007, 02:46 AM   #3
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On the old battleships they used a pair of pendulums swinging at 90 degrees to each other and when they both were at center position (meaning the ship was momentarily level, the 16 inch guns fired.

Nothing whatsoever to do with video, but it was the only think that popped up out of my fading memory having to do with being level on shipboard.

I think your normal sense of balance will keep the camera approximately level and parts of the ship may look like they're rocking a bit, but if you're taping other people, they'll also tend to stand upright regardless of the motion of the ship and they'll look natural even if the ship itself seems to be moving. Keeping the structure of the ship level I think will cause the people to look like they're rocking back and forth which will look strange.

Unless you're in some really dramatic storm conditions, the motion of a cruise ship will be pretty slow and if the ship looks like it's rocking as seen behind people or with regard to what shows of the horizon it will all look nice and natural.
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Old October 24th, 2007, 09:32 PM   #4
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I assume the person on a ship is making the weekly videos they do on the cruise lines, offering the video for sale at the end of each cruise. I was on a cruise and saw the video team at work. Almost everything was done with shouldered camera. The only stuff from a tripod was the stage show, and the camera was in back near the booth. That kept camera in line with the stage.

Most cruise ships are stabilized so this isn't a big thing, but there is a way to level the cam with respect to the Earth, and that is with a Steadicam, Glidecam. The camera is basically tied to a low-slung weight and mounted on a gimbal. However, this rig is not good in crowds because someone bumping into it can cause the video to go bonkers for a while.
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Old October 26th, 2007, 06:53 PM   #5
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Actualy he is the Broadcast Manager and just does the nightly shows and the on board tv commercials, everything is shot on tripod and as mentioned earlier. The only way was to frame with the verticals as the horizontals lines could be diagonal to to the angle of the camera.

That was the first question he asked me when he got on board.

DaNc
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