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Ideas on how to set up a video shoot for a science project

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Todd George
Ideas on how to set up a video shoot for a science project
on May 31, 2005 at 6:02:12 pm

Hello all

I am currently working at a University in Ohio and a division of the science department has a unique opprotunity to do an expereiment in a zero gravity environment

of course they want to video tape this expereiment and no one has mentioned the desire to bring along a video crew (from what I hear your stomach doesn't much appreciate it anyway!)

so here is the situation

I have a client who wants video, essentially he will be the videographer, he is not a specialist in video, the shoot is something than really cannot be repeated so they need to get it right

I realize the deck is stacked against him but I am trying to be helpful. Here are the requirements he wants to have an image of a laptop that is displaying parameters of the event
he also wants a footage of the experiement which invloves a special type of liquid interacting with metal rods.

My first thought is that they will need to construct a rig so that the camera and the metal rods are locked together so any bumps turbulence etc is kept to a minimum

I am stump as to the solution about the laptop I am not sure if there are vga or svideo outs on laptops

also the cameras need to be small and managable I was thinking minidv it's a shame I can't suggest hdv but that might prove to more touble than it's worth

so anyhelp anyone can provide would be great

anything you can think of would be great from makes and models of laptops to manufaturers of custom camera rigs right now is the time for pie in the sky stuff as the project is in the fall

I don't know what the budget is however

thanks for any help

take care

Todd George
Instructional Media Services
John Carroll University
University Heights, OH 44118

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Timothy Allen
Re: Ideas on how to set up a video shoot for a science project
on Jun 1, 2005 at 5:28:55 am

We videotape in "zero G" pretty often. Honestly, I've seen more issue with the camera iris because of the white walls and lack of controllable lighting on the "vomit comet" (and the space station or shuttle), than I see problems with reduced gravity.

Whether to build a rig depends on what you want to see. You will lose the perspective of the entire experiment

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andy stinton
Re: Ideas on how to set up a video shoot for a science project
on Jun 1, 2005 at 5:10:46 pm

Wow!! I think that Tim, as usual, has covered all of the salient points. So time for me to chip in. The fact that a non professional cameraman is going to be shooting makes me want to vomit without the aid of one of Tim

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Mark Suszko
Re: Ideas on how to set up a video shoot for a science project
on Jun 7, 2005 at 8:34:21 pm

Okay, you don't need a picture of the laptop, or home movies of the lucky engineer revisiting his lunch, you only need to record video of the laptop's screen output in synch with whatever the camera is picking up of the fluid action.

Most modern laptops have an s-video out,it mirrors the screen output. This can be connected to a Sony "clamshell" Dv deck, something you can buy for maybe 400 bucks or rent for less. Rent two, and to the second one, connect a "lipstick" "bullet" or "ice cube" (all slang for tiny POV cameras) camera with a close-up lens. Our shop uses a Sony LS-1 lipstick cam with various screw-on lenses, I think it matches our PVV-1 betacam footage pretty well, but there are probably more modern and better POV cameras out there now. The lipstick camera can have plenty of resolution (they are sometimes used for medical and industrial process imaging) with the right add-on lens. Some of the Sony lipstick cams can take power right from the clamshell deck, eliminating a separate power supply for the camera and thus cutting weight and complexity. Another benefit of the lipstick cams is they are small, light, easy to make custom mountings for, and take up little room, making your whole experimental unit more compact and more sturdy against the positive g-forces on the bottom of the parabolas and any in-flight vibrations. The two DV clamshell decks will record time code and audio, so, if your guy can make a noise or a beep or something to slate audio at the beginning of the experimental run, the two tapes will be able to be locked into synchronization in post, and you wind up with a 2-window screen of the laptop data and the experimental glop's behavior all synched up.

All the gear I mentioned, two clamshells and a lipstick, can be rented from a reputable place for not too much money, under $500 a day I would expect, maybe more on the coasts. The expense would mainly come from finding someone experienced and capable in rigging the stuff up so it works and is safe and reliable. That may include adding lighting and a suitably contrasting background to the experimental cell so the fluid behavior is easier to discern. Finding a gaffer that works on a nano-scale can be difficult, OTOH, the craft services table is only a foot long;-)

BTW Tim, I thought the v-Comet was retired, or did they just change aircraft and keep the nickname?

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