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Old February 13th, 2010, 05:51 AM   #1
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Shooting Surfers

Hi All
For a documentary I will be involved in later this year i will be required to shoot pro and amateur surfers surfing. I will be using an EX3. A fairly open question I would like to ask is what advice could you give me either equipment related or othe,r as I have never been involved in filming any fast sport related stuff before. Any advice would be most welcome.
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Old February 13th, 2010, 10:33 AM   #2
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1. get a cape to keep Sand and moisture out!!


Dale
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Old February 15th, 2010, 06:19 AM   #3
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Eric shoot in 720p slow motion. Also if you can find access to a longer lens then the stock EX3 lens you should use it. Zooming right in and being locked down on a solid smooth tripod will give you the shots you need.
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Old February 15th, 2010, 09:59 AM   #4
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I would try and get some extra in-water footage (either with the EX3 inside a subsurface housing, or with a smaller housed cam) and then combine both in final post editing.

Without a doubt those close-ups tight to the surfers riding past you on the rolling waves/ plus inside the curls, and underwater shots, will greatly lift the main footage shot from the shoreline on a tripod.
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Old February 15th, 2010, 03:26 PM   #5
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Yes - the EZ 3 would be the right camera in 720P for great slomo. A 2/3 lens with adapter and zoom would help you a lot with framing and finnaly I would buy a HD Surf Hero to make action shot - mounted on the board.
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Old February 15th, 2010, 03:58 PM   #6
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The HS Surf Hero and similar housed cams will be OK for short clips:

GoPro HD HEROŽ: Sample Footage

But they will not provide the same quality as an EX3 or DSLR inside a housing or scubacam splashbag.
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Old February 15th, 2010, 04:03 PM   #7
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Agree Tony,

I use a GoPro at times and can only use short clips since the bit rate is so low and does not come close to matching my EX1/350 with or without the Nano.

Still worth the money and the on surfboard shot Bo is suggesting is well worth the money.
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Old February 15th, 2010, 04:31 PM   #8
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You'll need at a lens with a 35mm focal length equivelant of at least 600mm. The longer the better as long as you have a good tripod to keep it all steady at really long focal lengths.

When shooting from the beach, a general rule is to frame for the wave, not the surfer - ie if it's a three foot wave, zoom in really close so that the wave fills most of the frame but the surfer is barely inside it. If it's a 50 foot wave, stay wide so the surfer is just a tiny little speck.


Don't think about shooting from the water in waves larger than head high unless you REALLY know what you are doing. Hire an experienced surf videographer if you want to get water shots in bigger surf.

You can use a higher shutter speed than normal - I sometimes go as high as 1/400th.

Whatever you do don't shoot 30p or 24p. Stick to either 720p60 or 1080i.

Where will you be doing most of the filming? There's a whole bunch of stuff which is really location specific such as where will the sun come from, what the beach is shaped like, whether you're allowed jetskis to film from or to tow in with, how crowded it will be, what type of wave it is, is there a channel/safe spot in the line-up, etc.
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Old February 17th, 2010, 11:33 AM   #9
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Eric: I have no technical help to offer, but as one who has paddled out for 20+yrs, I would suggest you take a run to Newquay, Cornwall, or similar, and spend a day with someone who is already doing this. As John from OZ indicates there is a lot of nuance to shooting surf.

....and unless you are at one of the very few breaks that fires virtually the same wave every time; the shot you just got will be the last one like it - ever.

Have fun.

Jim
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Old March 11th, 2010, 12:22 AM   #10
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Go Pro HD

Here is a little clip I slapped together with the Go Pro HD. I'll tell ya, growing up surfing as kids we dreamed about having a camera like this. It's amazing!!

This was shot at 720/60p. Used Cinema Tools to conform to 23.98. This is the beach 150 from my studio! Nice!!

Hope you guys enjoy!!

brian

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Old March 11th, 2010, 07:02 AM   #11
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Hi Eric,

If you've not shot fast moving surfers before, you'll really need to practice before hand.......lean a bit about surf, steep fast waves are surfed in a different fashion to slow rounded powerful waves, the latter being easier to shot. Young guns surf in a different fashion to older laid back guys. Big stuff is in a league of its own.

Follow John Wiley's advice, it's sound. Be aware, with the longer lenses you'll have very limited DOF, but you need them (lenses), and unless you're extremely competent and can just rock up and start shooting you'll be disappointed with the results if you don't practice.

If your surfer subject gets a tube and disappears, keep panning at a constant speed keeping one eye on the view finder and the other focused on the wave until it's absolutely evident he's not going to reappear, believe me, they have habit of popping out when least expected!!!! & not always in the same direction of travel.......

With the tripod, make sure you have a sand bag weight tied in the centre to all legs. The wind often gets up and you don't need to holding down your gear whilst filming that perfect curl out the back!!! A bucket of water does the trick as well. Don't let either the sandbag or water have it's full weight on the ground.

If you can lay your hands on a fluid head tripod, do so & get used to using it fluidly....

Pay particular attention to the sun's location.

You mentioned there may be Pro's involved, if possible, tag them, watch their style, You Tube, Vimeo & Google them but it's better if you can eyeball them. Pro's have their styles, amateurs are a bit like cut snakes....all over the the show.....

Re the GoPro, make sure it's a HD, I own one, use it for sure, you can pick up stuff that is otherwise not obtainable, eg. facial expressions, sequential burst stills and good short grabs. The guys will have to agree on having it mounted to the boards, it requires a bit of cut and glue to fit.

Basically, case the joint prior to the shoot, because as John alludes to, to get the good stuff, it's all about location, location, location...... bit like real estate.....

Enjoy, looking forward to some results......

Al
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Old June 7th, 2010, 06:05 AM   #12
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Eric,

What's the news?

Does it look like it's still going to happen?

Hope so, I could do with watching a bit of surfing, 'specially if it's somewhere sunny.....

Al
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Old June 16th, 2010, 08:11 AM   #13
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Alan .. I'm with you; I'm always curious about what new people do with an idea. Too often their lives get busy and they 'loose the link.'


Hey Brian .. Betcha when you holler 'My Wave' .. you get some respect. Historically, spongers around here get none. The one advantage they have is that hardboards have to be gone from 9am-5pm with the exception of two, changing blocks of about 150 blocks of beach. We also do not typically get the decent waveform you guys get.

The video output is impressive.. Did you tweak it beyond the speed reset? Also - how'd you attach it to Polyethylene? The option surf mount uses 3M's VHB adhesive... but most things do not stick swell to Poly.

Jim
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