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Shooting Race Footage

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Mike Allen
Shooting Race Footage
on May 22, 2009 at 2:00:19 pm

I am currently planning production for a corporate Racing based production shot in HD. We are sponsoring a car and printing our logos for the new car wrap and side of the transport truck. This car is similar to NASCAR, however it is a couple of series down in order to improve sponsorship pricing and we have negotiated full track access. This car will actually race and the shots captured from the racing scenes will be integral to the entire production.

Now that you have a little background, I will ask my questions. My first question is this. I usually shoot most of my productions with the Sony F350 in 24p, because I like the look. I know that with the cars moving at high speeds and shooting 24p, I am more likely to get shots that will not be nearly as smooth as shooting 60i. However, if is increase my shutter speed considerably (recommendations would be appreciated here) can I get good looking shots shooting in 24p. If it’s just a bad idea, let me know. If you have other recommendations for shooting race footage, especially camera setup, I would be thankful for that as well.


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Lisa Farr
Re: Shooting Race Footage
on May 22, 2009 at 6:09:38 pm

My recommend is to shoot in 60i to get the cleanest possible shots of fast moving action. You can always go to 24p in post if you want that look, and even add blurring/streaks if you want. Yes, it's somewhat of a pain and you may get some artifacts.

If it's imperative to have perfect looking 24p footage and you don't mind streaks and the lighting supports a reasonable shutter speed, then you may choose to shoot in 24p. It's a tradeoff.

I'm a big fan of getting the best possible footage, and grunging it up later. You only get one chance to capture the shots.

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Nick Smith
Re: Shooting Race Footage
on May 24, 2009 at 1:59:59 pm

I agree with Lisa. You're better off stepping down your pics in post, rather than trying to step up later.

With shutter speeds, you'd need something quite high for motorsport. However, big question is are the races run at night or during the day? Ramping up your shutter speed will cause your depth of field to shrink considerably, throwing out your focus very noticably as the cars come towards you.

I've shot cycling races (Much slower, I know!) as an ENG cameraman using 1/125 shutter, which made everything appear sharper and that beautiful clear frame look for slow motion replays. However, our cameras were dodgy as hell, and I figure since you're shooting in HD, you'll have a lot more options. I'd recommend shooting some traffic on a highway with different shutter speeds, and see what works best for your equipment. Though I think it'd have to be something higher than 1/250.

Good luck :)

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Robin Probyn
Re: Shooting Race Footage
on May 27, 2009 at 10:29:16 am

why the lost sleep over shutter speeds,if you want to shoot 24p with 180 degree shutter speed,just shoot like that.. movies and count less car commercials look great shot that way.What you really need is a good operator .... some blur,and out of focus will give you a better feel of speed anyway..

A too high shutter speed can give you a look(Private Ryan battle scenes) that you will be stuck with..

Just my 2 cents


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