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Old March 4th, 2010, 12:47 AM   #1
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Ideal Rigs for Camera Movement

Hi All

It would be interesting to see what everyone prefers to get smooth camera movements here at weddings ?? (I'm talking about shots where the camera is NOT in a fixed position like a simple pan or tilt on the tripod)

What do you find the best?? Just handheld, Shoulder-Mount, GlideTrak, Stedicam, FigRig or whatever else you use to get smooth and interesting shots and angles.

I see that Travis is a big GlideTrak fan and Philip features both of them on his website with fig rigs...what do you use for those killer shots???

Chris
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Old March 4th, 2010, 01:20 AM   #2
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The first question you need to ask yourself is what kind of movement are you wanting to achieve. Sliders are great for straight-line shots, but stabilizers like steadicam units are great for moving the camera over longer distances or in rotations or even up and down. Handheld is great for giving a 'live' and 'organic' look to your footage, and also allows you to be more flexible in the angles you choose (not to mention faster in on-the-fly situations). Various braces like the Spider, DV Multirig, Atlas, etc. give you better stability than handheld, but also come at a bit of a cost in terms of flexibility. I only tried out the FigRig at a tradeshow, but I wasn't too impressed with it personally. Might be great for some specific shots, but it just seemed a bit restrictive to me.

Oh, and keep in mind that none of these techniques are better than another. Producing a great video is all about creating a consistent style within that video that has balance. So a video with all slider shots is probably not going to impress because it's too heavy on a specific shot type.

Anyways, what are you looking to produce with your cameras?
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Old March 4th, 2010, 01:27 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
I only tried out the FigRig at a tradeshow, but I wasn't too impressed with it personally. Might be great for some specific shots, but it just seemed a bit restrictive to me.
If you get the chance, give it another go. You might be surprised how flexible it is. I can do every major camera move on the Fig, and it's smoother than handheld. Essentially, your arms and hands make it a small jib with a 3-axis head... if that helps you visualize it.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 05:13 AM   #4
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Hi Travis

I already do weddings but I use shoulder mount cams for handheld and then stedicam on photoshoots.

The post was not looking for advice rather than just curious what others are using. With biggish ENG style cameras I am a bit restricted to what I can use.

Regarding the Fig rig I tend to agree with Perrone...you can get amazing stability and shots with it but I do notice that people tend to overdo dutch angles as it's so easy to tilt the camera ..like driving a car..you have a wheel so you get the urge to turn!!!

Hmmm I wonder what the balance and weight would be like with my 8lb shoulder mount cams on a fig rig???? Have you used the EX1 on a fig rig, Perrone???

Chris
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Old March 4th, 2010, 06:53 AM   #5
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Travis is right, it is something of horses for courses. I decided against a Glidecam because it relies totally on one wrist for the major lift and my other cameraman is my wife who has had carpal tunnel problems in the past.

You're right about Dutch angles with the Fig - few people seem to realise the theory behind the technique and simply twist the camera and think that's that. Usually it's just twisted and bizarre.

Handy though it is, I don't subscribe to Mike Figgis' idea of hanging the kitchen sink round the Fig Rig and in that respect I'm quite taken with a smaller, rectangular version available (not from Manfrotto) in the UK. It offers the same stability features of the Fig without the size and intrusiveness (or the quality of engineering finish it must be said). One of the constant questions I get about our Fig at weddings is "what is that?". I usually brush it off by telling questioners I used to drive a bus but it's not ideal.

Incidentally all of the gadgets need practice to get the best - and sadly you have to take manufacturer's promises with a pinch of salt. Glidecams are heavy on the wrist, Glidetracks do bend regardless of length or where you support them, in the middle or at the ends, Fig Rigs place a strain on the lower back etc. I can give chapter and verse on every one of them - and my technical guru has a design for a track which bends so very slightly it's barely perceptible and it's very inexpensive. It needs one bit of injection moulding but it's a small market. He's too sharp to be tempted and I do enough charity work by producing wedding videos!
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Old March 4th, 2010, 07:30 AM   #6
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Don't forget the monopod. With some practice you can acheive some smooth jib-like effects. I also like the occasional upside down cam shot of people walking by holding the monopod by its feet and moving the camera along the ground - then flipping the image in post.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 08:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hmmm I wonder what the balance and weight would be like with my 8lb shoulder mount cams on a fig rig???? Have you used the EX1 on a fig rig, Perrone???

Chris
LOL! I made the mistake of shooting the office Christmas party once with the Fig and my EX1. Not a mistake I am going to repeat! For short stints, it works just fine. But for longer things (one guy have a 20 minute speech and I thought my arms were going to fall off!) I'd be looking for a different solution.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 10:05 PM   #8
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Here's a "rig" for camera movement...

...anything + slow motion in post. Haha.

For smooth full-speed footage though, it's a matter of how much gear you're willing to drag around, how much setup and strike time you have, how much you're willing to practice, and how much you're willing to pay.

For my purposes, my weapon of choice is a modified hand-held steadicam.

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Old March 5th, 2010, 12:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
The post was not looking for advice rather than just curious what others are using. With biggish ENG style cameras I am a bit restricted to what I can use.
Gotcha. I guess I misunderstood. We use the Glidetrack and a Steadicam Merlin and sometimes a monopod; mostly we work handheld, though.
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Old March 5th, 2010, 06:37 AM   #10
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Hi Travis

Many thanks..sorry to confuse you!! As I have shoulder mount cams I guess that's classed as "handheld" but I do find that your camera movements are somewhat restricted so cam movements are sorta ENG style rather than fully creative. However at 8lbs loaded a fig rig will get somewhat tiring except for short shots (I actually would go for a square frame like Philip rather than the steering wheel) but at the moment the cams do alright on stedicam but it's really impractical to use in a packed church with narrow aisles. I normally reserve it for the outdoor photoshoot when there is time to put on the vest and setup properly!!!

We will be heading for Winter here in a couple of months which gives me time to play with different ideas!!

Thanks guys

Chris
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Old March 8th, 2010, 09:04 PM   #11
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Chris....some of the best money you can spend is with a linear tracking / slider device, to raise the production value of your work. We had the Glidetrack, got rid of it and then purchased the Pegasus. We helped with tweaking an already awesome design of the DP Slider. After testing it and using it, we fell in love with it. Very rugged and very easy to transport and use. You have the option of purchasing a model that you can swing vertical for a crane type shot and even some overhead tracking shots. You can check it out at http://dpslider.com/

Since we were one of the testers, you can use discount code "moon" for $50.00 off. This will expire March 21st.
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Old March 9th, 2010, 12:25 AM   #12
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Thanks John

Their clips are certainly impressive!! (The girls are even more impressive!!!) I think of all the rigs you can use a slider is probably the fastest to setup... (I take about 10 mins just getting all the stedicam vest and arm organised and if you have a quick release on a slider it's basically zap it onto the tripod and slide in the camera and you are ready.

The link was much appreciated!!

Chris
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