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Under Water, Over Land
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Old March 24th, 2008, 10:45 AM   #1
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steadying telephotos shots from boat

i have gone over some recent footage i have shot, being fairly new at videoing, with a canon xh a1..from a small 18 foot zodiac, and small fishing boat (20 foot aluminum)

shots of sea otters, and of humpback whales lunge feeding. too much motion, when zooming in on telephoto. this has been the toughest shooting i have encountered...engine shake, wave motion, whether pitch or roll...

question...should i make, or buy some sort of video stablizer that will help stabilize the shots. it is frustrating...especially to approach otter by drifting, but then having even gentle waves roll you up and down in a kayak. any recommendations of a steady cam? thanks in advance

bill, bothell washiington
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Old March 24th, 2008, 10:54 AM   #2
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You've picked one of the most difficult shots to pull off in the video world. It takes real camera operator skill to make shooting from a rolling boat shots even bearable to watch.

On the technology side you could get a gyrozoom for the camera which will help greatly. Also, the bigger the camera the easier it is to shoot as the camera has a certain mass and inertia that helps dampen movement.
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Old March 24th, 2008, 11:18 AM   #3
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I had a small jvc cam one time in my boat, Seaswirl 19' center console, and fastened the cam to my windscreen and got pretty steady shots, full speed and tooling around, I have a Sony V1 now and haven't taken it out yet, not sure of the salt air, I think if the cam was fastened to the boat somehow it would be steadier, because if you are trying to hold you have to try to stand still with boat. I thought of attaching my tripod or jib to the boat somehow and deal with it that way
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Old March 24th, 2008, 12:17 PM   #4
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If you were using a 2/3" SD camera, a Schwem Gyrozoom is one possibility. However, your options on a small camera are pretty small other than the camera's internal stabilizer.
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Old March 24th, 2008, 02:07 PM   #5
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thanks for the replies so far. Although the A1 is a medium or small camera, i thought about increasing the mass with the steady cam some people have mentioned. the roll expereinced in a kayak is as bad as the small fishing boat i was on on north vancouver island. i tried steadying on a sand bag but the roll was pretty bad. when motored there was steadier shooting, like with a sea lion rookery. some movement adds a lot to the video, but not the sharp jerks i was getting on telephoto...tried holding my breath, shooting upright etc.

why would not a small gyro help a small camera? or would a steady cam work? bill

Last edited by William Boehm; March 24th, 2008 at 02:08 PM. Reason: spelling erros
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Old March 24th, 2008, 02:31 PM   #6
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I have tried them all, and I am shooting from a 55' boat. Your best bet is a combination of DV Rig Pro HD and 2 stablizers from http://www.ken-lab.com/

You can also look at this thread

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=117131

SteadyCams, Merlins, etc do not work, the wind plays havoc with them. In fact if you insist I will sell you my merlin, only tried once.

Jim
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Old March 25th, 2008, 10:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Boehm View Post
why would not a small gyro help a small camera? or would a steady cam work? bill
You need to be extremely skilled to use a long lens on a Steadicam and any wind will throw you completely. Filming on boats you often use your legs to take out the motion of the boat, but that isn't much use with a telephoto lens. Using a gyro the best approach
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Old April 1st, 2008, 02:01 AM   #8
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Also if you get a shot that isn't bad run it through shake or such like to make it even more stable.

Boat shots are a nightmare.... without stabilizers / gyros etc the water has to be flat as a tack to get a decent shot.

J
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Old April 1st, 2008, 08:38 AM   #9
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Jim is spot on. I use a Zacuto rig with two Kenyon-labs KS-8 gyros. I find the Zacuto much stiffer and more adjustments then the DV Rig Pro for the gyros. It takes a few shoots to get use to the system but once you do it is excellent.
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Old April 5th, 2008, 09:28 AM   #10
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Don't forget where ever possible try not to have the horizon in the shot and then the viewer will not have such a sensation of rocking.

Gyros are the way to go,if you can afford them, if not try using Apples FCP and the stabilization filter

Bob
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