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Thomas Richman February 23rd, 2009 08:01 AM

Need smooth footage hiking down steep trails
I've been tasked with shooting footage of an entire length of a remote trail in the Grand Canyon. The footage will be speeded up to over 1000% in post production to simulate a fly-through down the trail (which is steep with big steps).

Any recommendations for a stabilizer system for this project?

Peter Ralph March 15th, 2009 11:11 AM

likely a vest steadicam would be first choice

- speed it up to 1000% and have it look like a fly thru? Maybe work on that part first on flat ground - it can be done, but it does require some finesse, esp. negotiating steps and rough ground.

All the best

Charles Papert March 15th, 2009 01:25 PM

When Garrett Brown did the background plates for the speeder bike sequence in "Return of the Jedi", the footage was sped up something like 30x walking speed. They quickly discovered during testing that any slow and gradual change in the altitude of the terrain or deviation left and right/up and down would show up as a bump in the final footage, so great lengths were undertaken to regulate all axes of motion (wish the article was reprinted somewhere, it's fascinating). Bottom line is that the sort of hike you describe will be challenging to view with virtually any stabilizer. You didn't mention what camera you would be using, but I would assume a smaller format one so the Steadicam Pilot might be a good choice (lightweight to reduce fatigue and maintain maximum maneuverability for safety). This will require some very solid operating skills however--again, because of the speedup, small variations in framing will become significant, and large ones as are typical with inexperienced operators may render the footage virtually unwatchable. Shoot tests!

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