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Shooting a crash scene with a bike

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Ken Oberholtzer
Shooting a crash scene with a bike
on Mar 8, 2009 at 9:52:46 pm

I am seeking advice on how to shoot this scene. Our set-up is a HVX200 w/ a brevis 35mm adapter and canon 50mm lens. We need to shoot a scene where a teenage kid is riding his bike and slams into a parked car. The driver of the car will be parked and will open the door as the kid is riding past( we have a convertible car for this because there is no framing around the door window). Basically, the kid and bike have to somehow slam against the door and the kid has to go flying through the air and land on the ground. We don't exactly have the budget for a stunt double to actually pull this off. I am looking for any tips and/or suggestions on how to just imply that the bike hit the door and the kid went flying. Any help would be much appreciated!! Thanks.

Kenny Oberholtzer
AdvancedMedia, Phila PA
http://www.advancedmedia.net


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john sharaf
Re: Shooting a crash scene with a bike
on Mar 9, 2009 at 3:10:41 am

Kenny,

Here's a few thoughts:

Use point of view camera to see door open, but your Brevis and 50mm lens are too long and tight. Need wide angle.

Try using a dummy look alike for the kid as he "flies through the air"

Have real actor fall into closeup.

I don't get the fascination with these DOF devices, I'd recommend rethinking, and using the appropriate tool for the job at hand.

JMHO,

JS



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Steve Wargo
Re: Shooting a crash scene with a bike
on Mar 9, 2009 at 6:31:42 am

[john sharaf] "
I don't get the fascination with these DOF devices"


I fight that every day. This thinking is extremely narrow minded. They have this train of thought that every shot needs to have almost everything out of focus and they all stand around and pat each other on the back. Not everything needs to look like an intense drama.

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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Todd Terry
Re: Shooting a crash scene with a bike
on Mar 9, 2009 at 2:25:49 pm

I guess I'm one of those guys... I'm definitely a DoF converter evangelist, and fairly well-known as such.

I pretty much couldn't live with my P+S Technik converter, use it every day (and leaving to direct a shoot with it in mere moments).

I don't use it to get shallow D0F. I use it to get controllable DoF... shallow, deep, or somewhere in between.

It just depends on what you are used to... and having shot a few zillion feet of 35mm back in the day (the "day" ending about 18 months ago, the last time a client asked for 35mm) to me that's what an image is "supposed" to look like. And now I can get that without noise, without changing mags every three minutes, and spending a couple of bucks to shoot an hour rather than a couple of bucks a second.

I've seen great looking video, of course... but it looks like video (even 24p). If you want it to look like film, you can either shoot film, shoot with a big-sensor video camera, or DoF convert. And it seems that these days most of my clients do want it to look like film for their particular projects. Well, pretty much all of them, in fact.

We don't do any back patting here.

Clients do it to us pretty often, but we don't. :)



T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Richard Herd
Re: Shooting a crash scene with a bike
on Mar 9, 2009 at 5:37:51 pm

One big difference here is your camera requires a lens, whereas many other models have a fixed lens.

Do you think Canon will adopt a tapeless camera for their line of cameras? The thing that bugged me off the Canon was the HDV.



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Todd Terry
Re: Shooting a crash scene with a bike
on Mar 9, 2009 at 6:13:26 pm

[Richard Herd] "Do you think Canon will adopt a tapeless camera for their line of cameras?"

I'm sure hoping so. It's the only thing that keeps my XLH1 from being my favorite camera ever.

It would be a logical progression... but unlike Sony, Canon plays things very close to the vest and you never hear anything about their upcoming products until they are on the shelves.

I had intended to move from the Canon to the EX3, as soon as P+S Technik developed the attachment kit for it. Unfortuantely when they did a couple of months ago, it mates the EX3 with the Pro35. So... that would mean buying another $20,000 converter (yikes) instead of getting to use the much less expensive converter ($12,000) that I already have. Can't justify that, so I'm hoping that Canon will go tapeless in the next generation.

Another option is using the little Convergent Design box to do direct-to-flash HD-SDI capturing.

All that being said... I've never had any issues with HDV. The only real downside we've run into is the time it takes to capture footage. Being able to instantly ingest it would be very nice.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Richard Herd
Re: Shooting a crash scene with a bike
on Mar 10, 2009 at 12:45:57 am

Have you thought of using a Macbook pro through an ioHD box and recording to Apple Prores?

The suite of lenses canon offers, man, it'd be hard to jump brands.

I use the Panasonic ag-hvx200 (for many kinds of things, corporate, short form movies, ads, just cool nature shots), and I rented a P+S w/ prime lenses a while ago, and while I liked the image quality, it just felt cumbersome and "uncameraish." It was like a weird, top-heavy, hybrid, Frankenstein.

Canon video has been developing some interesting things with their dSLRs, so they can't be that far off with some kind of intraframe thing that rivals Panasonic's AVC-Intra. And to be completely obvious: Canon set the bar pretty high for this form of camera with the XL2.



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Jason Jenkins
Re: Shooting a crash scene with a bike
on Mar 9, 2009 at 4:54:01 pm

[Steve Wargo] "This thinking is extremely narrow minded. They have this train of thought that every shot needs to have almost everything out of focus and they all stand around and pat each other on the back."

Steve,

The problem is not necessarily with the people shooting, but with the gear. The lower end DOF adapters that most are using are limited in their ability to stop down. For instance, with my Letus Extreme adapter I can't stop down past f4 without seeing the grain of the ground glass. This resigns me to a pretty narrow depth of field all the time. That being said, I love the look and my clients love the look. However, I am frustrated by the limited control over DOF. The newest generation of low cost DOF adapters may remedy this, though. The SGPro Blade, the Redrock M2 Encore and something soon from Cinevate perhaps, all have the ability to stop down further without seeing grain. So perhaps we will soon see more control and restraint exercised in the use of depth of field.

Jason Jenkins

Flowmotion Media

Video production... with style!


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Steve Wargo
Re: Shooting a crash scene with a bike
on Mar 10, 2009 at 7:34:14 am

[Jason Jenkins] "So perhaps we will soon see more control and restraint exercised in the use of depth of field."

Let's hope that's the case.



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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Todd Terry
Re: Shooting a crash scene with a bike
on Mar 10, 2009 at 1:05:33 pm

Jason, the "gotta shoot wide open" biz is largely a restriction to some of the lower-end adapters.

When I was writing an article on DoF converters for the COW mag a while back, Redrock sent me footage with their M2 stopped down to f/16. No grain.

Personally, for quite deep DoF I've used my P+S Technik with lenses stopped down as much as f/11 for exteriors, with no grain. For interiors, I can go up to f/8 (although inside one would rarely if ever need to go that high unless you have a room full of fairly high-wattage HMIs).


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Jason Jenkins
Re: Shooting a crash scene with a bike
on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:51:38 pm

[Todd Terry] "Jason, the "gotta shoot wide open" biz is largely a restriction to some of the lower-end adapters."

Agreed. The very ones that the "masses" can afford; thus the proliferation of narrow DOF shooting

[Todd Terry] "Redrock sent me footage with their M2 stopped down to f/16. No grain."

The original M2 may have been able to do that, but it also ate so much light that it would have only been feasible in bright sunlight or in "a room full of fairly high-wattage HMIs". The latter case effectively putting the capability out of the range of the low-budget masses. The new M2 Encore apparently loses only 1/2 stop of light. It's funny how none of these low-end adapter companies tell you what the limitations are. You only find out after the purchase. It's been worth it for me, though. Coming totally from the digital video side, it's been a lot of fun learning about lenses and film-style shooting.

It's great you have that flexibility with the P+S Technik –that's how it should be. Too rich for my blood though, so I'm waiting on this next generation of low-end adapters.


Jason Jenkins

Flowmotion Media

Video production... with style!


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Ben Hall
Re: Shooting a crash scene with a bike
on Mar 9, 2009 at 4:10:32 pm

Watch Evil Dead. Sam Raimi has some very inventive ways to dealing with the "no budget" fx. Play lower angles with tons of sky so you can adjust accordingly.

Or go Hitchcock and view "The Birds". Specifically the sequence prior to the explosion [I believe it's midway through]. He used some jump cuts to sell it - plus you'd have a great story to tell when you're finished.

Mal: If anyone gets nosy, just, you know... shoot 'em.

Zoe: Shoot 'em?

Mal: Politely


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Mark Suszko
Re: Shooting a crash scene with a bike
on Mar 9, 2009 at 5:18:45 pm

Ben is on the right track here: it's partly about the angles you pick and how you cut them. If you're wanting to stay on one wide shot, and you don't have the money for proper safe stunt work, you're going to have to do something in post. I would start by shooting a good clean plate of the car scene with and without the various actors in it, with door open and closed, etc. Have plenty of clean locked off plate shots.

I would then look to do a replacement of the live rider for the critical few frames you need. A couple cheap ways I can think of to do this, like a Poser model, or try this low-tech way: Lay the real rider down on the floor, on top of a green tarp or cloth, shoot down on him from above. You might shoot him with the bike, holding the same pose as just prior to the stunt. Or leave the bike out and just do the body shots (with no handlebars...no handlebarrssss...). Ahem. Anyway. Move his body and limbs incrementally to simulate the over-the-handlebars tumble on the flat ground. Use these singly or in combination in AE or Photoshop to create a stop-mo segment of the flip in chromakey to composite a digital stunt double for the critical few frames, and help sell it with motion blur and tight editing, say, with a low-angle shot looking up from down in front of the wheel, looking up at the bike rider's face miming the start of the hit and tumble, THEN the side shot and maybe a few frames from a POV tumble from tossing a camera up in your hands... Actually, the more little cutaways and POVs you throw in, I think the easier it becomes to sell the gag, over one wide master shot. But you have to shoot it the best way for your particular story needs.

I'll be curious to see what you finally do.


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Richard Herd
Re: Shooting a crash scene with a bike
on Mar 9, 2009 at 5:32:43 pm

Of course you want it to be beautiful, but the producer in me also says:
GET INSURANCE!!!



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Ben Hall
Re: Shooting a crash scene with a bike
on Mar 10, 2009 at 4:13:28 pm

You could always find some old rights free footage and do a montage of various bike crashes - in my head I see ones from the early days of film - the real slapstick/physical comedy type stuff. If it's not a comedy - then I wouldn't really worry about showing the crash as much as eluding to it.

Mal: If anyone gets nosy, just, you know... shoot 'em.

Zoe: Shoot 'em?

Mal: Politely


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Mark Suszko
Re: Shooting a crash scene with a bike
on Mar 10, 2009 at 6:53:49 pm

I am amused by the polar opposite responses to the initial problem. You can tell the cinematographers from director/producers because the DP's are all still arguing about DOF adapters and the producer-director types are trying to solve the practical problem at hand involving staging the effect successfully while preserving safety of the talent. Don't get me started about the "change a lightbulb" jokes:-)


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john sharaf
Re: Shooting a crash scene with a bike
on Mar 10, 2009 at 7:01:46 pm

Mark,

It's funny that you mention that because I had a similar reaction; except my thought was that the job of Director of Photography (DP) is so broad and all encompassing that both technical and creative aspects must be considered and if not that it's up to the DP to bring the discussion around to include all aspects of the solution.

It's really only by knowing the job skills of all the other crafts that this is possible and it reinforces the thought that one never stops learning how to become a really complete cameraperson.

JS





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Richard Herd
Re: Shooting a crash scene with a bike
on Mar 10, 2009 at 9:52:59 pm

The whole point of "how to" is moot without reading the script and feeling the tone. Whether it's a comedy or drama matters.



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