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Best HAnd Held camera for two hour take.

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Sean Simms
Best HAnd Held camera for two hour take.
on Aug 29, 2011 at 11:36:43 pm

I'm looking for the best HD camera that can be hand held for a two hour video that will be done in one shot. The operator will be moving around in an apartment with a lot of actors.....like the "Russian Ark" but with a lot less breathing space.

Any suggestions?

Sincerely,

Eros Salvatore
http://www.erossalvatore.com


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Frank Nolan
Re: Best HAnd Held camera for two hour take.
on Aug 30, 2011 at 5:22:58 pm

Are you looking to rent or buy?
What is your budget for this project?
How big of an area is the apartment?
I think this is probably a question you should be asking your operator. After all they are the one that will be holding the camera for over 2 hours.



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Mark Suszko
Re: Best HAnd Held camera for two hour take.
on Aug 30, 2011 at 7:42:58 pm

I would say the Sony EX3 or the Canon XF305 or Panasonic AG-HMC154, any of these, held in a Fig Rig, or at least onto a shoulder brace, should do well.

The Fig Rig was designed for this kind of shot, adn I think is the next best thing to a steadicam for this kind of crowd work. It takes the load off a single arm and transfers the weighr and balance in a way that lets your wrists work better and easier, and by moving the hands out to the sides, thus lengthening the moment arm, your camera moves will be smoother.

I own a knockoff Fig Rig I welded from some steel strapping and a bike rim. It won;t win abeauty contest but it does stabilize a shot nicely. It also lets me easily do low "doggie cam" angles and high overhead shots, as well as rotations.


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Todd Terry
Re: Best HAnd Held camera for two hour take.
on Aug 30, 2011 at 7:55:45 pm

Mark, if you can hold a Fig Rig (holding it out in operating position) with any camera on it for two hours you're an official Man Of Steel. In fact, I'd defy anyone two hold the rig alone, with no camera, for an hour (again, holding in "operating position," never propping it on anything, etc.).

For something as Herculean as a two-hour uninterrupted single-shot one-continuous-take handheld gig, I think you 1) have to go shoulder mount, and 2) have to use the smallest, lightest camera possible.

All while remembering this two-hour shot is only (yes "only") two hours if there are no rehearsals, no busted takes, and no re-takes. Whatever the choice, it'd be a killer.

I did handheld all day yesterday and it just about killed me. True, it wasn't all one shot (it was many dozens of shots), but it was also with a 22.5 lb camera.

T2

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



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Sean Simms
Re: Best HAnd Held camera for two hour take.
on Aug 30, 2011 at 10:41:19 pm

this would be a rental....budget is $50,000....it is a narrative film in a large apartment that is holding a party so there will be a lot of actors......

I am the co-producer....and I am researching this for the producer/director of the film.....

Some of the negatives are that the budget is low...and we will probably have to shoot several times....I have already suggested to the producer that he is out of his mind to try it in one take (jk...lol) but seriously we are in the early stages of pre-production and I appriciate all the questions and concerns brought up.....it will help me the next time I talk to him.....I am against the one take philosohpy myself as we don't have the budget to shoot multiple days if you have mistakes....(we will be rehersing this for 5 days with two days for shooting).

PS: he wants the camera operator to give the camera to one of the actors late in the film and act himself....

Sincerely,

Eros Salvatore
http://www.erossalvatore.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Best HAnd Held camera for two hour take.
on Aug 31, 2011 at 12:14:23 am

Media is your cheapest commodity. Shoot ALL the rehearsals. You never know.


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Sean Simms
Re: Best HAnd Held camera for two hour take.
on Aug 31, 2011 at 12:22:46 am

Great point!

thanks!

Sincerely,

Eros Salvatore
http://www.erossalvatore.com


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Andrew Stone
Re: Best HAnd Held camera for two hour take.
on Aug 31, 2011 at 1:05:26 am

Right tool for the job says this is a Steadicam job. Full stop.

You should pony up the dough and hire a local Steadicam Operator who is either in film school or just out. You want one with a rig that can hold 10 to 15 pounds.

You should pay them at least $1200 probably close to $1500 per day for a rig that can hold a package of that weight (regardless of whether it is a rehearsal or shoot day). Don't ask them to do it for pizza. It's an expensive trade and takes a lot of training & skill to do it.

Tips, be super organized with your shot list. Then listen to the Operator's suggestions as they will have a more instinctive understanding of how to move out of different camera modes than someone who doesn't operate a Steadicam.

I would suggest using as light a camera as possible. Forget about dressing up the camera with rails, mattebox, etc... unless you absolutely have to. 3 to 4 extra pounds on a rig for that long of a shot will kill the Operator. EX3 is doable on it's own.

I've seen people with older Sony Z1U and an HVX200 on Steadicam Pilot rigs who can comfortably shoot for hours on end but the lighter the rig the more "flighty" it gets.

You could go the Canon 7D or 5DmkII route as far as weight goes but that has inherent workflow issues which I am sure you know about.

-Andrew

--
Steadicam & Camera Operator


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Todd Terry
Re: Best HAnd Held camera for two hour take.
on Aug 31, 2011 at 2:30:12 am

[Andrew Stone] "Right tool for the job says this is a Steadicam job. Full stop."

I dunno... I first thought about suggesting Steadicam right off the bat, but then I discounted it. I've been a Steadicam op for 20+ years and I'd be very hard pressed to get a single continuous shot that long, at least not a good shot with no mistakes. Now, I'm used to flying the medium to larger-sized rigs.... I've never used the little rigs and suspect that one's stamina might go up substantially with those... but still, two hours is a looong time in the saddle. Or rather, the vest.

I wouldn't hire one that is in film school, or just out. If one were to go Steadi, this is a gig for a very experienced op who has been doing it for quite a few years.

But then again... in the posters last comment he mentioned the requirement that the operator be able to hand off the camera at some point to one of the actors who takes up the shooting duties... which of course eliminates any kind of wearable stabilizer.

I'd still say small camera, with a shoulder mount, and screw on a collapsed lightweight monopod to help brace with the handheld duty. I do the monopod trick with one of my film cameras frequently and it REALLY helps, (it basically becomes a two-foot handle/brace sticking straight down)... it makes handheld pretty easy (and it's a 25+lb camera).

T2

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



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Mark Suszko
Re: Best HAnd Held camera for two hour take.
on Aug 31, 2011 at 2:35:15 am

Wedding guys have for years used the trick of a monopod with a little extra weight at the foot, acting like a long-period pendulum to help steady walking shots. There's a special monopod for sale designed around this idea.

Still, I will again suggest the Fig Rig's ring format makes handing off to another operator very smooth and easy.

Bogen could have sold millions of them, but priced the thing too high, and the add-on accessories, ridiculously so.


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Emre Tufekcioglu
Re: Best HAnd Held camera for two hour take.
on Aug 31, 2011 at 8:47:25 pm

I agree with Andrew on the point of using a steadicam operator. I have a large rig like like Todd mentioned which may prove to be difficult to use for a 2 hour take but I also use the small rigs (like the steadicam flyer).

With a small rig like that it is possible to do a 2 hour take, however perfection would be very difficult to achieve. Nevertheless it will be a million times better then a handheld. Just heed Todd's advice and spend the money to hire an experienced operator.

You can easily hide cuts with smart pans and transitions (see opening sequence for "strange days",it has 3 or 4 cuts using a modified steadicam which appears to be a single take).

You can also do things that appear to be hand-off's even with a steadicam but I cannot tell you how with out looking at the script.



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Sean Simms
Re: Best HAnd Held camera for two hour take.
on Aug 31, 2011 at 11:46:07 pm

thanks for all the advice....the film is intended to have a "home video" look.....the producer/director's idea actually came from a party that I shot for fun 4 years ago with a Canon XL2....after I looked at the footage I realized that I could incorporate it into a music video and another short film I was doing.....

I shot it hand held on autofocus but it just came out looking great dispite the poor video quality (high grain in low light)

I just got my hands on an af 100 for a demo.....very good....it may be the way we go....

PS.... I was also thinking about the Panosonic GH2 SLR for this film....have never used it.....anyone have experience with it?

Sincerely,

Eros Salvatore
http://www.erossalvatore.com


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Alan Lloyd
Re: Best HAnd Held camera for two hour take.
on Aug 31, 2011 at 11:49:44 pm

[Andrew Stone] "could go the Canon 7D or 5DmkII route as far as weight goes but that has inherent workflow issues which I am sure you know about."

I very much doubt that a DSLR will be able to go the distance without overheating and shutting down. Plus, battery changes for a DSLR take a while, as they require unmounting the camera, etc.


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Sean Simms
Re: Best HAnd Held camera for two hour take.
on Aug 31, 2011 at 11:51:33 pm

Good points Alan!

Sincerely,

Eros Salvatore
http://www.erossalvatore.com


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