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Pan speeds?

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Nick Griffin
Pan speeds?
on Feb 2, 2011 at 10:44:07 pm

Cinematography gurus:

I'm believe that there exists (but have never seen) tables, charts, etc. that define the "safe" rates for camera pans, tilts, tracking shots and so on when captured on 24fps film. By "safe" I mean clean without smears, stutters, and so on. I have to assume that this is also affected by shutter speeds.

My questions are:
1) Where can I find this, but of far greater importance to what I do,
2) Is there a source for this kind of information for 59.94 (60i) HD video?

Up until this point my pans and camera motion have been fairly catch as catch can, usually trying at least a couple of variations, making the final choice in post. Now I'd like to know if there's a better, more scientific way of obtaining the smoothest, most visually pleasing results.

Any input or sources will be greatly appreciated.

Your humble semi-pro,

Nick


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Todd Terry
Re: Pan speeds?
on Feb 2, 2011 at 10:57:00 pm

Nick, I'm pretty sure those tables are in the ASC bible... or at least they used to be. I don't have my copy with me, but I'll dig it out at home (if I can remember where it is).

I've never seen such a source for 60i video, although if we can find the charts for 24fps, the 60i version should just be everything multiplied times 2.5. Although your mileage may vary.

I don't think I've ever seen such for 60i or NTSC video because the frame rate (or rather, fields rate) is so fast that stutter and judder isn't going to be much of a problem.

I don't think the charts address shutter speeds, although I think there are charts that show shutter speeds expressed as degree angles (i.e., 24fps with a 180° shutter = 1/48th exposure).

Again, I'll look at home...

T2

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



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Mark D'Agostino
Re: Pan speeds?
on Feb 3, 2011 at 3:59:24 pm

When shooting film at 24fps I have always fallen back to the 7 second rule; an object in frame takes 7 seconds to go from one edge to the other when panning. This is certainly not fool proof at all shutter speeds but I've never suffered from the stutters.

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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Peter Ralph
Re: Pan speeds?
on Feb 3, 2011 at 5:02:40 pm

surely it depends on focal length, aperture, shutter speed and the distance of the subject from the lens?

If you follow a 7 second rule on a distant mountain range a pan could take several minutes


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Mark D'Agostino
Re: Pan speeds?
on Feb 3, 2011 at 5:24:19 pm

Absolutely Peter. I just use this as a rule of thumb...aperture, focal length and shutter have to be a consideration. Here's something we did a few years back in 35mm that demonstrates this even with mountains. Watch the pine tree in the foreground a few seconds in and count how long it takes to cross frame. By the way, the logo was added to the barn in post.






Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Pan speeds?
on Feb 4, 2011 at 3:33:10 pm

Hey Nick.... grrrr... I hate promising (or semi-promising) something and not coming through... but I can't find hide nor hair of my ASC manual. I've looked, but it's either tucked away in a box somewhere (I moved last year), or stuck an a pocket of some camera bag I haven't thought to check yet ("I'll remember where this is").

At any rate, the charts are in there, or at least they are in the old edition I have somewhere. If you wanna pick one up, I'm sure you can get one at Amazon... probably even a used one dirt cheap.

You might also ask Roger Deakins. Roger is of course one of the best and busiest ASC and BSC cinematographers around, with tons of major feature films under his belt... but he is still down to earth and VERY helpful and always happy to answer questions. You might pose your question in his forum over at http://www.rogerdeakins.com.

Still, while it's a pretty big concern when shooting 24fps film, the pan/tilt speeds aren't going to be that big of a deal for 60i video. Even pretty fast pans are still going to look quite smooth... even whip pans. Of course that's IF you are shooting a "normal" shutter speed (1/60th, for 60i video). Faster shutter speeds than that will increase the stutter/judder, but that's going to be true for any action in frame, not just pans.

T2

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



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Nick Griffin
Re: Pan speeds?
on Feb 4, 2011 at 3:45:22 pm

Thanks, T2. Helpful as always!

I'm wondering how much of my concern is unfounded, or at least beyond my control. I recently put an industrial I did last year, containing a slow elegant pan, on my iPad for showing to prospective clients. While it appears fine on an HD monitor in the office, it stutters on the iPad. Maybe I should only worry about the actual product and not this one playback means, but it makes me crazy every time I see it.

I will pursue getting an ASC manual, if only for my continuing education. Again, thanx.


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Todd Terry
Re: Pan speeds?
on Feb 4, 2011 at 4:11:14 pm

Well Nick... obviously in that case the limitations came from your playback device, not from your production ("...it appears fine on an HD monitor in the office.")

Now if you wanna develop a list of shooting rules so that a project also looks good on the iPad, then that's another animal altogether... but I doubt anyone would want to do that... unless, say, the iPad was its intended and normal viewing destination. But I know in this case that's just so you can show clients something. I haven't used one for that, but sounds like the iPad is not the optimal "portable screening room."

T2

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



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Nick Griffin
Re: Pan speeds?
on Feb 4, 2011 at 4:18:16 pm

[Todd Terry] "sounds like the iPad is not the optimal "portable screening room.""

Oddly enough this one scene from this one video has been the only thing truly objectionable... so far. Perhaps the fact that the show was shot and mastered in PAL is also a contributing factor.

Even whips and other rapid things generally look good. I also have to say that handing someone the iPad with a video they are holding in their own hands is a much more powerful tool than is showing stuff on a laptop.


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Todd Terry
Re: Pan speeds?
on Feb 4, 2011 at 6:57:39 pm

Hey Nick...

As luck would have it, about an hour ago one of our clients just asked us to make a version of a video we had previously created for him... that he can play on his iPad.

New territory for us... no one has ever requested a version of anything for iPad usage before (and we're rather non-Apple here... exactly one Mac in a sea of PCs at our place).

Can you tell me what kind of file format you've found plays well? Any any other particular technical parameters to watch out for? Fortunately this particular video doesn't have many fast pans in it. :)

T2

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



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Nick Griffin
Re: Pan speeds?
on Feb 4, 2011 at 7:05:45 pm

Todd-
Hopefully the one Mac you have has the current version of Final Cut Studio on it. Apple's Compressor makes high def H.264 files for iPad a breeze. If you don't have FCS, contact me offline and I'll be happy to do a couple of conversions for you.


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Todd Terry
Re: Pan speeds?
on Feb 4, 2011 at 7:15:43 pm

Thanks Nick.... speedy reply.

Nah, there's no hint of FCP in our building... all the suites run Premiere in CS3 or CS4 (no 5, yet, as the Matrox AXIO LE cards in all our machines don't work and play well with CS5).

However we can easily make great looking HD H.264 .mp4 files with the Matrox Media Encoder (which is what we usually do for clients who, say, also want YouTube uploads). We'll give that a try.

Thanks for the advice!... you rock.

T2

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



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Vince Becquiot
Re: Pan speeds?
on Feb 5, 2011 at 7:17:35 pm

Hey Todd,

The acceptable specs are on this page under TV and Video.

Premiere exports work fine for that as well.

Vince Becquiot

Kaptis Studios
San Francisco - Bay Area


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Todd Terry
Re: Pan speeds?
on Feb 6, 2011 at 7:32:50 am

Thanks Vince...

The link didn't quite work, but viewing the Page Source let me find the right link in the html code.

We already made the file and almost got it right... looks like 720p is the maximum resolution, so we'll have to downconvert it and give it another go at the lower res.

Thanks for the info....

T2

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



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