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overhead shot on beach/lighting in a tunnel

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Alisa Simonds
overhead shot on beach/lighting in a tunnel
on Oct 24, 2009 at 5:34:09 pm

Hi, I'm a student filmmaker with a very limited budget. I am filming a music video and I want to do an overhead shot of a girl lying on the beach starting on an ECU of her eyes and the camera pulling up to reveal a wider shot of her on the beach. It's a good 5-10 min. walk to where the cars will be parked, so I'm wondering if there is a way to achieve this shot with minimal heavy equipment, or maybe something that can be put together on location. And also inexpensive.

Also, later in the video, there are a couple of shots in an abandoned fort tunnel. It is pretty short, I'd say less than a hundred feet in length, so natural light comes in pretty bright on both sides. When you're in the tunnel, it just looks like a blown-out backlight, so I'd need some artificial light to light the actors from the front. I know that HMI's aren't really portable, does anyone know of any way to achieve this kind of lighting without renting a generator?

Thanks! I'd appreciate any kind of help.


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john sharaf
Re: overhead shot on beach/lighting in a tunnel
on Oct 24, 2009 at 8:01:44 pm

1. Two ladders and a plank between them. Mount camera on tilt plate and hihat. can only zoom out so far until you see the ladders. The "real" way to do this is with a jib camera.

2. Low-tech solution is to us a mirror to reflect sunlight into the tunnel.

JS



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Alisa Simonds
Re: overhead shot on beach/lighting in a tunnel
on Oct 24, 2009 at 8:40:08 pm

Thanks for the response!

Is it possible to rig a pulley or something to the plank so that i can lift the camera, without having to zoom out? Has anyone ever tried that?


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Todd Terry
Re: overhead shot on beach/lighting in a tunnel
on Oct 24, 2009 at 10:29:38 pm

Sure you could. Actually, that was my first thought when I initally read your question.

You'd probably have to put two pulleys side-by-side and lift your camera with two lines or ropes rather than one. If you do it with just one, the camera is very likely going to spin, rather than just lift straight up. Then again, that may be a cool effect, too, if it works for your scene.

Of course your focus is going to dramatically change when going from the extreme closeup to the wide shot. I'd use a camera that can autofocus reliably... and shoot with a wide as possible lens so focusing is less critical.

As for the scene in the tunnel, remember that you don't have to put your talent smack dab in the center.,. and that masters and reversals don't have to happen at the same place. I'm not sure what your scene is, but just as an example lets say it's two people having a conversation. You can actually place them near one end of the tunnel, so that they are still illuminated by available or reflected light. For the reverse, move them down to the other end of the tunnel and do the same thing. The audience will be none the wiser.


T2

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






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Steve Wargo
Re: overhead shot on beach/lighting in a tunnel
on Oct 26, 2009 at 8:30:41 am

[Alisa Simonds] "Is it possible to rig a pulley or something to the plank so that i can lift the camera, without having to zoom out? Has anyone ever tried that?"

I have. We had a shot in one of our features where we wanted to start on a girl writing in her diary and pull out to reveal that she was lying on her bed. I made an "L" shaped plate that allowed me to hang the camera from a rope and the rope was in line with the center of the lens. I attached a pulley to a ceiling joist (board between ladders) We then rotated the camera three times clockwise, started the record, let the camera go and pulled gently on the rope. the camera rotated CCW and pulled away from the subject. We repeated this several times with faster and slower rotation. Looked big $$$ and cost me around $20.



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

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
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2-Sony EX-1 HD .

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Alisa Simonds
Re: overhead shot on beach/lighting in a tunnel
on Oct 26, 2009 at 3:58:56 pm

That sounds like a great idea! Do you happen to have any pictures of this? I'm having trouble envisioning where the L-shaped plate goes in this rigging. What is it attached to? It sounds brilliant if I can pull it off!

Todd, thanks for the advice. I will want to get the depth of the tunnel in the shot. Here are a couple pictures:





It will likely be a cloudy day, so I am worried that the mirrors might not be enough considering the diffused nature of the light source. What do you think?

Thanks again everybody!


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Steve Wargo
Photo soon.
on Oct 28, 2009 at 9:24:10 am

I'll put the thing together and take a picture of it.


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 .

Ask me how to Market Yourself using Send Out Cards


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Mark Suszko
Re: overhead shot on beach/lighting in a tunnel
on Oct 26, 2009 at 4:27:54 pm

I LOVE stuff like this.

Another way to do the beach shot is two sturdy vertical poles and a rope across them. Camera at center of rope hanging from a pulley or pair of pulleys as earlier suggested. Two grips hold the poles, and slowly tilt them apart from each other in a V shape to bring tension on the rope and lift the camera, which will stay centered on the rope if both poles move the same distance in the same time. You can do that by just practice, or lay out markers by the poles to hit with their shadows, likea sundial. Think of a volleyball net that's slumping in the center, and you get the idea. This may be more portable and create fewer shadow probs than a pair of ladders, and gets you a real pull-back instead of a zoom-simulated pull back. If you vary the amount of pull on either pole end, you also can make the camera do a translation move in the horizontal plane towards one pole or the other at the same time, like, a trucking move off the cover of the book next to her, to her face, then upwards....


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Mark Suszko
Re: overhead shot on beach/lighting in a tunnel
on Oct 26, 2009 at 6:47:15 pm

I thought I'd amplify what was said earlier, about an L-bracket because you sounded murky on how that was used. You can't just wrap a rope around the camera body and hope the lens will point straight down when it is hung from the rope. Though maybe the right kind of mesh *bag* could....

anyway, the bracket would connect to the the spot on the camera where the normal quick-release tripod plate would go. But that's off-center for this hanging-down job, and the camera would not hang lens-down, so the L-shaped plate leads along the bottom of the camera and up the back of it, giving you an attachment point at the back of the camera that's in a line thru the center of mass and hopefully, the lens. Where the eyebolt goes exactly on that plate to hit the balance point may be a bit of trial-and-error to find, this is something you put up with for cheap practical effects.


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