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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old August 10th, 2014, 05:37 PM   #16
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Re: Blocked Shots - Why can't we go up?

That's the challenge - getting a large and stable "footprint" to properly balance the height/leverage. Keep in mind that's another 2 feet or so for your camera to gain additional momentum on the way to a sudden stop on the ground...or a guest, or whatever. You don't get something for nothing.

I've had a little fella decide my Sunpak was a nice "monkey bar"... aside from a little wobbly footage, no harm befell camera, tripod, little fella, or embarrassed parent...

Whatever you figure out as a "solution", always consider SAFETY first...
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Old August 10th, 2014, 05:43 PM   #17
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Re: Blocked Shots - Why can't we go up?

I have the 3246 and its replacement the 028B from manfroto. I got them specifically for going overhead at weddings. They work great and easily get above everyone's head. Downside is you do need a step stool or I built myself a box\platform... Kind of like a big apple box to get up and adjust things. As far as taking more time to level with a little experience you can level them in a snap. Let's be honest most the time you are going to be on mostly level ground so it just a matter of getting the legs to the same height which if you are going for height is going to be all the way extended. Also once you have them set up that high you are not moving them so if it takes a few extra seconds before the ceremony what's the big deal, I am sure we all arrive plenty early.

The one draw back for me. Is as I have just started to do weddings professionally instead of just for friends and family, I have shown some of my footage to other pros and they have commented I am too far removed with the cameras locked down, so I am trying to adjust my style, still having a camera or two locked down, but also getting closer and more intimate with a camera on a monopod or folded up tripod and getting in the aisle to get the shot of the bride coming down and other such cut always.
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Old August 10th, 2014, 08:02 PM   #18
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Re: Blocked Shots - Why can't we go up?

Thanks again Guys!

I haven't quite found what I'm looking for but obviously it will have to be very stable and safe too. The idea came from a professional aluminium riser that I saw advertised but yikes the cheap one is nearly $1500!

Spider TR2 Tripod Riser TR2 B&H Photo Video

I'm simply trying to see how to get a bit more height without increasing my footprint. Obviously a BIG tripod is the simplest but once you are up at say, 7' above the ground the spread of three legs becomes crazy especially in a Church ! Remember I don't HAVE to use it even if I have it!! I have done plenty of weddings where space and position is ideally and adequate but often like the UK, we have these darn old Churches that are narrow and your only practical option is up!

I'll ask my local supermarket where they got their yellow bucket but then again they might be simply too heavy to lug around.

Chris
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Old August 10th, 2014, 09:31 PM   #19
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Re: Blocked Shots - Why can't we go up?

Just to throw the cat amongst the pigeons why do you have to use a tripod anyway? Has anyone used the innovative Tele Tower? It's a portable aluminium podium that's height adjustable with a work height up to a huge 3m (that's 10' up in the air which would be somewhat awesome for events where you are blocked with crowds.

A tripod as it does upwards creates a huge footprint so why couldn't you simply have a bowl ball head mounted on the platform safety rails?

Zarges | Zarges Telepod - The World's First Mobile Telescopic Podium

This doesn't need any access steps as they are built-in. Then again DJ lighting stands are pretty darn stable too and they have a much smaller footprint than a tripod and I use a stand for my GoPro at weddings ....I see no reason why a really stable lighting stand (although heavier than a tripod) couldn't have a pan tilt head mounted on it.

I saw an ideal multi-camera setup at a marathon fun run that I did a few weeks ago. It was basically an aluminium framework with a pretty small footprint considering it went skywards about 4 metres .. an overkill for weddings but the principle was clever. On the top of the frame he had 4 pan/tilt heads and a selection of still and video cameras mounted on them so all the amateur happy snappers were well below him ..granted he had to use a ladder to get to the cameras but he certainly would have had clear shots away from all the crowd below.

Essentially for weddings whether you are in a Church or outdoors you really only need the camera head about 6' off the floor to clear all the happy snappers unless there is a basketball team there.

Can anyone see a major disadvantage to NOT using a tripod since I only use bowl heads so leg adjustment is not an issue.

Chris
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Old August 11th, 2014, 10:07 AM   #20
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Re: Blocked Shots - Why can't we go up?

We use manfrotto 075's as our "get over heads" tripods, they are a bit bulkier than others, but you can decide how much you want to spread the legs by.. We often have to setup in confined spaces, and find them fine for this purpose, agreed that in a hurry levelling them takes a bit of getting used to.

Otherwise you can get aluminium access platforms for cheap from builders merchants.
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Old August 11th, 2014, 07:15 PM   #21
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Re: Blocked Shots - Why can't we go up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
I saw an ideal multi-camera setup at a marathon fun run that I did a few weeks ago. It was basically an aluminium framework with a pretty small footprint considering it went skywards about 4 metres... Can anyone see a major disadvantage to NOT using a tripod since I only use bowl heads so leg adjustment is not an issue.
Well, the obvious disadvantage -- sounds like what that marathon shooter gained in height he lost in mobility, and in setup time. Was he basically stuck to that spot for the entire fun run?
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Old August 11th, 2014, 08:42 PM   #22
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Re: Blocked Shots - Why can't we go up?

In his case no! He was set up at the finish line so that was the prefect spot as they only shoot video of people finishing and stills and then sell the end results to competitors

I only want a fixed position for just one camera at the ceremony the second is always on my shoulder and totally mobile!
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Old August 11th, 2014, 09:37 PM   #23
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Re: Blocked Shots - Why can't we go up?

I have to say -- that Spider Tripod Riser looks really tempting, but the price tag scares me. If I had $2,000 or $3,000 to spend on gear, there's plenty of things I'd rather spend it on!
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Old August 11th, 2014, 10:06 PM   #24
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Re: Blocked Shots - Why can't we go up?

Me too Adrian!

I saw it posted for $2680 ... I could buy some really nice gear for that much money so for a "stand" it sounds pretty pricey!!

When I built my custom trolley, I used 25mm square aluminium tube and some clever Aussie connectors called "connect-it" It makes a super lightweight and very stable frame for not much cost! Maybe what I'll try is using my 2nd tripod that has a bowl head with the legs closed up. That would put the camera 600mm off the floor on a stable and adjustable tripod but obviously hopelessly low!

If I make two 600 x 600 x 600 aluminium frames so I have light square boxes and stack them I now have a 1200mm riser and with the folded down tripod in a shallow tray in the top frame I would have a "tower" with the bowl head sitting up at 1.8m and with a very small (600x600) footprint on the floor. With my tripod extended the footprint is huge and it's that stable as the end feet are just single tubes.

I have so far tried my folded down tripod on top of my "trolley" frame (also 600mm) and it's rock solid.

Sometimes we have to make what we want ourselves.

Chris
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Old August 12th, 2014, 02:19 AM   #25
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Re: Blocked Shots - Why can't we go up?

Chris, before you go any further I suggest you ask just one girl what they would think about having that contraption at their wedding :- )

Why can't you simply use a heavy duty light stand for the occasions when you need the extra height?

Pete
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Old August 12th, 2014, 02:27 AM   #26
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Re: Blocked Shots - Why can't we go up?

+ 1 for the lightstand, some can go really high, just put a ball head on top of it and you are done, easy to transport in it's smallest size and when it's set up no-one will notice it. I also can't imagine building a platform at a wedding. I know my father sometimes used to take a aluminum ladder which he placed on the side of the dancefloor to shoot the dancing crowd :)
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Old August 12th, 2014, 02:36 AM   #27
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Re: Blocked Shots - Why can't we go up?

Thanks Pete

I mentioned that is a previous post and no-one commented! Yep that's probably the easiest way to go too and it has a smaller footprint than a tripod. I was actually looking at some DJ stands which are also quite hefty ... the stand I use for the GoPro is way to light but that's a $30 one and at outdoor weddings it sways in the wind so with a 4kg camera it would be even worse. The stands that DJ's use for hanging 4 lights of a bar look pretty solid and I'm already fingering my hacksaw and looking at my stedicam docking stand too which is pretty sturdy and has a 40mm centre post. My lighting stands are way too flimsy with a post of only 25mm!!

Do you have any suggestions for lighting stands that could handle a 4kg camera at 1.8metres up in the air??

Chris
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Old August 12th, 2014, 02:41 AM   #28
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Re: Blocked Shots - Why can't we go up?

Hey Noa

Thanks from you too. Just have to find a sturdy enough one now! I don't really think a matt black aluminium mini tower at the side of the Church would attract too much attention but being lazy, the easiest solution for me is the one that takes the least amount of work ...My stedicam docking stand is actually quite neat and sturdy but maybe I need to go just a tad higher.

Also we are doing fewer and fewer Church weddings now so it's not as big a deal as I make it out to be!

Chris
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Old August 12th, 2014, 06:02 AM   #29
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Re: Blocked Shots - Why can't we go up?

Do you have any suggestions for lighting stands that could handle a 4kg camera at 1.8metres up in the air??

I use the Cheetah C12's regularly. My versions are air-cushioned and that helps a lot when you come to lower down heavy gear - otherwise if you just loosen a lightstands butterfly nuts the weight of the equipment atop will bring it whistling downwards like a fireman on a pole. The Cheetah stands close their own feet when you lift them up which is great for repositioning at speed in confined areas; the downside is that this makes a clatter of metal on metal so not ideal in a quiet ceremony.

There are much beefier stands than the C12's that are also far cheaper. My C12's can take the weight - they are really meant for mains powered studio strobes - but one centre column cannot be quite as stable as a tripod obviously. But if the cam is locked off that won't matter as it will settle down. Or you may use in-cam stabilisation etc.

I prefer to have a Manfrotto 701 head on rather than a ball head because it is then far quicker to compose and level, instead of endlessly trying to get a level horizon with a ball head. You would however need a ball head if the ground is not level (or level and crop in post).

Again, if you use a head like a 701 you can have the arm coming straight down and this enables you to pan and tilt without you needing to stand on anything to reach the cam. You could even add a DIY extension to the arm to enable you to pan and tilt even if the cam is very high up such as over a dance floor - I've done that a few times to avoid guests heads.

I carry my lightstands "loose" using slings that are designed for carrying tripods.

You can mount other stuff like an audio recorder and a couple of radio receivers further down the pole using a Superclamp and a T-bar etc rather than have all that on the camera. That also makes it easier to monitor their levels.

Pete
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Old August 12th, 2014, 07:00 AM   #30
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Re: Blocked Shots - Why can't we go up?

Hi Chris...I haven't done any filming for quite a while...working post-production on my project...but knowing your home build bent, thought I would just raise a cheap alternative to the monopod idea.

Bunnings has a really excellent window cleaning brush on a very sturdy extending aluminium pole...which is in two parts...one sliding inside the other. I think I paid about $NZ28 for it. Ditch the brush, fit a screw to take a tripod head on the top...I just drilled and tapped a bolt into the plastic part already there, put a rubber table leg foot on the bottom, and you have an excellent pole that will get as high as you would want. I've also made up some extension handles to control the head if I want to. Need to drill a hole in the foot to allow air in and out of the pole when extending and retracting, otherwise the suction is too strong...the pole is air tight...

I've attached a photo of the pole being used as a mic boom, so it is multipurpose...and also one of the long controller arm (on regular monopod)...this may trigger some design ideas...

Renton
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Blocked Shots - Why can't we go up?-boom-holder-2.jpg   Blocked Shots - Why can't we go up?-long-head-controller-arm.jpg  

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