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P2 classes vs SxS classes

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Steve Wargo
P2 classes vs SxS classes
on Mar 29, 2008 at 10:21:47 pm

I see all of these classes advertised for the users of P-2 material. Should we set up some classes for transferring SxS footage.

I'm thinking the class goes something like this:

Curriculum..

Day 1: Drag files from card to hard drive.
Day 2: Import into FCP and go to work.
Day 3: review of Days 1 and 2

Course is $195

Can we line up some instructors?

We can post the class on youtube.



Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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Derek Hall
Re: P2 classes vs SxS classes
on Mar 30, 2008 at 1:46:29 am

The course seems undervalued; $375 would be better value.
Needs a fourth day practical test on what participants learned in the first two days.
Certificated of course.


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Rafael Amador
Re: P2 classes vs SxS classes
on Mar 30, 2008 at 2:55:41 am

Steve,
I want the franchise of your school for Southeast Asia.
How much you want?
BTW, tomorrow I'l fly in a helicopter with the EX-1, any tip?

Mac OX 10.5.2-FC 6.02-QT 7.4.1
G5 2x2Gh 4GbRAM-BlackMagic Extreme
PMBP 17"Core2Duo 4GbRAM-AJA ioHD
JVC DTV-17"
SONY EX-1 . SONY PD170
..and always a big mess on top of the table.


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Steve Wargo
Re: P2 classes vs SxS classes
on Mar 30, 2008 at 4:41:20 am

[Rafael Amador] "tomorrow I'l fly in a helicopter with the EX-1, any tip?"

Here's my story: In 2003, I was hired to shoot the entire Pima Indian Reservation from a chopper. I worked with a Hopi producer named Patty. A former news anchor, she was on her game and we did quite a few jobs together. When we'd get in the chopper, I would wear a cross harness that formed an X in the front and in the rear with a ring in the center of my back. The chopper has a large strap wrapped around the column for the rotor shaft and she would snap me in before we took off.

After about two and a half hours, I was standing on the step, outside the helicopter and we were flying in a slow circle over the Indian's outdoor mall. I was leaning a bit over center but wanted to lean a little more to shoot the area under and behind us. usually, I just throw myself out to where the strap's limit is but something didn't feel right. I sat down in the seat and asked Patty to cinch the strap a little tighter. She responded with "Oh, I forgot to snap that silly thing." So, my first advice is this: "Don't fall out of the helicopter".

On the more serious side, find out if it's a 2 blade or 3 blade copter. The 2 blade units like Bell Rangers, shake from side to side. The French made 3 bladed Airstar is smoother. If it's a Robinson R-22, enhance your life insurance by double and say goodby to the people who count. If it's a 44, you might be ok. My last flight was in an old cropduster unit that had the pilot in the middle and I sat on the right side with the still photographer on his left.

Don't forget to ask the pilot if his nickname is "Crash".

Turn your steadyshot on.

A recording at 60i will get rid of some of the shadow flash. That is the shadow that happens when the blades rotate.

Take your windmuff off or tape it down.

Go the the bathroom before taking off.

If you have a producer with you, have a monitor for them to watch.

Now, here's a trick I use to communicate with the producer or pilot: I plug a lav mic into the camera and tape it inside my earcup on the helicopter headsets. This way, I can talk to the pilot and the producer. The producer is watching the handheld monitor and directing the shots. And the whole thing is being recorded for later. That way, there is a running dialog about everything we shot.

I try to wear a steadi stick so the camera has some support under it.

And lastly, Don't Fall Out Of the Helicopter.

Before you land, ask the pilot to do a "dip".

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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Don Greening
Re: P2 classes vs SxS classes
on Mar 30, 2008 at 6:34:21 am

Beware of helicopters: they are basically 60,000 parts flying in formation. I've seen them thrash themselves to death just sitting on the taxi way.

- Don


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Rafael Amador
Re: P2 classes vs SxS classes
on Mar 30, 2008 at 9:42:48 am

Is a pity. I will have not producer to throw through the window.
They will make me fly at 2PM to shot a reservoir. I was thinking to use a Polarizer filter because we gonna have lot of light and reflexes. But I think is a risk. They want to shoot many things in a short time, so I will have not much time to adjust.
I this country there are only two helicopter companies. One Australian with very nice AS350B2.
But they are fully booked. The other company (Lao) I know they fly soviet MING.
Tuesday I hope I can report how the EX-1 behaved.

Mac OX 10.5.2-FC 6.02-QT 7.4.1
G5 2x2Gh 4GbRAM-BlackMagic Extreme
PMBP 17"Core2Duo 4GbRAM-AJA ioHD
JVC DTV-17"
SONY EX-1 . SONY PD170
..and always a big mess on top of the table.


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Alan Lacey
Re: P2 classes vs SxS classes
on Mar 30, 2008 at 5:10:00 pm

Rafael,

I saw some postings about the poor rolling shutter of the EX1 when used for this sort of thing. Please post back with your experiences.

Alan



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ken hon
Re: P2 classes vs SxS classes
on Mar 31, 2008 at 7:55:44 pm

Aloha Alan,

We fly all the time with the EX-1 mounted on a FigRig with a Kenyon Labs KS-8 gyro and have no problems at all. I've seen the footage, but my take is that it would have been unusable anyway. It must have been very severe shake. I don't think this camera has any problems that any other small camera doesn't have.

Aloha,

Ken




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Derek Hall
Re: P2 classes vs SxS classes
on Mar 31, 2008 at 9:36:38 pm

Ken, how do you mount the EX1 to the FigRig with a KS8? Thanks. Derek


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ken hon
Re: P2 classes vs SxS classes
on Mar 31, 2008 at 9:49:25 pm

Aloha Derek,

The fig rig comes with a quick release mounting plate. What I did was get a longer mounting bolt for the KS-8 and bolted it directly into the bottom mounting plate using the larger threaded hole (I forget what size it is, I just took the plate to the hardware store and found the right threaded hex bolts). I think I used the same hole that the plate was attached to the fig rig with. The KS-8 "hangs" under the camera this way. I put some of that dark rubber pipe insulation on the lower third of the fig rig and just rest the whole thing in your lap. Works well and my wife can fly for a long time now. It's not a Wescam, but the amount of usable footage we get went up by an order of magnitude.

Aloha,

Ken





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Derek Hall
Re: P2 classes vs SxS classes
on Apr 1, 2008 at 3:46:04 am

Ken, thanks for that, very interesting. I have a Fig Rig but your post was the first time I learned about the Kenyon gyro and it looks great. I'm keen to get one now. However, two questions:
I note in the online literature that when using the Gyro the camera is supposed to be handheld or 'free', i.e. not attached to a fixed support.
Is it the case that because the Fig Rig is handheld it is not a rigid support, allowing it to be used with the Gyro?
Also, if I've got it right (I have my Fig Rig beside me now) the long bolt you got for the Gyro goes up into the FigRig support plate, replacing the rubber handled bolt that normally holds the release plate support, with the gyro sitting below? AAnd you need to remove the circlip to release the FigRig support plate bolt.
The bolt for the FigRig support plate looks like 3/8-inch but it's Italian so could be 10mm (1cm).
Trying not to look stupid but just looking at my FigRig and figuring out how it would work - I'm very keen to try it.
Thanks,
Derek


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ken hon
Re: P2 classes vs SxS classes
on Apr 1, 2008 at 8:04:22 am

Aloha Derek,

Sorry, it's been so long I forgot about the rubber handled thingy, but that does get taken off and tossed in a box. You also have to remove the cool drilled bolt that comes with the Kenyon Gyro and replace it with a slightly longer one. I'm pretty sure it's 3/8s, it's certainly not 10mm as I got it at our home depot and the don't have much metric stuff. The base plate of the Gyro comes off with 4 screws and you can switch out the bolt. You just need a thin open end wrench to tighten it (adjustable is too thick).

The Gyro works fine as it is really set up to stabilize front to back motion, though it works some with side to side. The fig rig in you lap is free to roll in both these directions so the gyro resists these movements. I also tried hanging it by a variety of bungies and heavy rubber straps, something we used to do pre-gyro. But with the gyro the camera bounces up and down, it's much better in your lap.

A friend of mine actually did the bungy thing in one of those cool Russian helicopters that Steve showed (that was awesome Steve), but as I recall it had rotors that turned :)

Aloha,

Ken






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Derek Hall
Re: KS8 Gyro
on Apr 1, 2008 at 8:40:35 pm

Ken, that explains everything, thank you very much. I'm keen to get the KS8 gyro. I'm in a 240V country but that's easily solved.

I've found the FigRig really manouverable and can do small crane shots, tracking shots with feet, good POV etc. Usually the only way to get away with these shots is to shoot wide, but the KS8 will add a new dimension and probably be hard to distinguish from Steadicam. I guess the hard part will be strengthening my arms to use the FigRig with the heavier EX1 plus the gyro.

As for low-budget aerials, I usually harness myself as far out on the helicopter edge as possible, with a cinesaddle tied to my legs and the camera sitting on that. I don't anchor the camera to the cinesaddle but have it independently tethered to the aircraft. That works fairly well in a machine with well balanced blades. The Jetranger often has too much vibration but bigger machines and 3 blade machines are great. Hope it's not long before I can try this with the Fig Rig and gyro.

Thanks Ken,

Derek


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ken hon
Re: KS8 Gyro
on Apr 2, 2008 at 8:51:30 am

We fly in a Hughes 500 with 5 blades, mostly pretty smooth but that's due to the really really good pilot we have. I used to stand outside the chopper with a full sized camera using a harness, but it doesn't work well with small cameras. Also things were fine as long as you're just looking at the B+W viewfinder, but the little cameras you have to look at what you are doing! I'm with Steve, too easy to leave a buckle undone. Anyway, this works much better. If you are handholding this thing, it's quite a load. Some folks put these on steadicams and it evidently works really well.


Aloha,

Ken




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Alan Lacey
Re: P2 classes vs SxS classes
on Apr 2, 2008 at 12:50:08 pm

I'm really pleased to hear that Ken, I for one am a great fan on my EX

Alan



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Steve Wargo
Re: P2 classes vs SxS classes
on Mar 31, 2008 at 12:56:52 am

The AS350B2 is a 3 blade helicopter that is perfect for your job.

But, I wonder if the Russian unit is this one: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=80b_1200767345

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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David Roth Weiss
Re: P2 classes vs SxS classes
on Mar 31, 2008 at 6:35:38 am

Rafael,

If you chopper happens to be the Hind that Steve is recommending, just make sure to use your polarizing filter and make certain that image stabilization is turned on too. The pola filter won't really help in that situation, and neither will the image stabilzation, but why leave a good pola filter behind for somebody else to use after you're gone.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Joe Yaggi
Re: P2 classes vs SxS classes
on Apr 7, 2008 at 1:29:58 am

Hi Rafa,

How'd it go w the heli? I'm just back from extended shoots in Sumatra and Flores. The small heli's are a real pain to shoot from in absence of a stabilizing system and with a small camera. I've found that, if we're two people in back, I direct the pilot to fly towards the other side so the photog buffets the wind. Obviously you and the photog or extra passenger have to work together on this. The other thing is having the back seat to yourself and still shooting across. It obviously limits your view. The Kenyon, even at under 5k, seems a bit of a luxury unless your shooting aerials all the time! Then again, if you have it, you can advertise...

Love to hear about your EX and the system you've purchased. I've just put a deposit down.

Joe

Joe Yaggi
Creative Supervisor, Director, DP
Jungle Run Productions
http://www.jungle-run.com


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Rafael Amador
Back from the hell..icopter
on Apr 12, 2008 at 11:08:29 am

Dear friends, sorry for the delay in reporting about the EX-1 "in the sky". I'm back and with my Polarizer filter in pocket (sorry David).
Happy when I sow the chopper, a AS350B.
Disappointed about my pictures. The lao pilot didn't let me open my window because I had not harness.
The photographer sitting in the left window had his harness so I had to shoot through his window and with him in between. All of my shoots end with his hairy arms and two big Canon EOS20 in my screen.
I went to film forests (45.000 hectares about to be flooded: http://www.namtheun2.com), what probably means one of the harder test for the EX-1. Apart of my very uncomfortable position, we had to flown really fast because the area to shoot was huge and 1 hour heli rental costs 1.500 US$ in this country (in the end 6.000 US$ for one hour shooting).
So taking in to account all those circumstances, together with my limited experience with the EX-1, I think that the camera did a GREAT JOB.
I shoot 1080/50i and I set the Shutter to 1/125. I haven't appreciate nothing related with the "rolling shutter" issue. As Ken says no different of shooting with any other small camera in hands.
Hi Joe,
Indonesia and an EX-1. You will really enjoy it. Now is really worth to go to Color because the Color's tools works with this footage as they can not do it with DVCam or so.
Here is "New Year" and I've just got the DVD of Vortex, so I will spend with it the next few days. Many things to learn.

Mac OX 10.5.2-FC 6.02-QT 7.4.1
G5 2x2Gh 4GbRAM-BlackMagic Extreme
PMBP 17"Core2Duo 4GbRAM-AJA ioHD
JVC DTV-17"
SONY EX-1 . SONY PD170
..and always a big mess on top of the table.


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