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More Natural Dolly Effect

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Ian Bee
More Natural Dolly Effect
on Oct 10, 2013 at 6:07:05 am

I was wondering how to achieve a more natural dolly effect with push and pulls as well as slides. What I mean by this, is a push / pull / slide with a slight wobble / shoulder rig-ish effect, rather then the completely still look that most dollies provide.

Here is an example of what I am talking about at 2:34







As you can see (it's better if you view the video at a bigger size) there is a slight wobble or a more natural look than the average dolly. With the push / pulls (is that what its called when the dolly goes forwards / backwards?) aswell as the left & rightslides, there is a very natural effect with the slight wobble and slightly unsteady shots.

How would one achieve this more natural look with dolly push / pulls & slides? And would you even use a dolly to achieve this look? If anyone has any insight or advice it would truly be appreciated as I am trying to learn and absorb as much information as possible being that I am fairly new to cinematography. :)


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Rich Rubasch
Re: More Natural Dolly Effect
on Oct 10, 2013 at 1:33:37 pm

Pretty foul....thanks for making me listen to that just to determine a technique!

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Todd Terry
Re: More Natural Dolly Effect
on Oct 10, 2013 at 2:41:56 pm

Watched, I'm not really sure what the question is.

It's just a pretty run-of-the-mill slow dolly shot at 2:34. I certainly didn't see any "wobble" in it. My guess is that is a dolly on track with either a good fluid or maybe even geared head on the dolly.

I'm not sure what you mean about looking more "natural." And again, not sure what you mean about "wobble," unless you are just talking about the pan/tilt movements of the head.

And since you asked for some nomenclature clarification about push/pull/slides... moving a dolly toward a subject is called a "dolly in," and pulling it away is called a "dolly out." Your "slide" where you are moving a dolly sideways (camera perpendicular to the dolly direction) is called a "truck" move.

If you can give some clarification as to what exactly you are seeing there, would be happy to try to help.

T2

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



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Ian Bee
Re: More Natural Dolly Effect
on Oct 10, 2013 at 4:38:59 pm

Hi guys, thanks a lot for the replies. I was aware that this song most likely would not appeal to the same demographic as the people within this forum. There is a mute button for a reason and no one is forcing you to listen to the song.:)

Anyways, I watched this same video on my phone as well as the smaller embed within this thread and I couldn't notice anything. It is best that you view it in full screen. There IS a slight sway or "wobble" (don't know a better word, but it isn't just completely still there is a tiny bit of vertical movement when the camera goes back and fourth or dollying in / out).

Maybe I am just seeing things or going crazy, but I swear there is a slight wobble or sway. It appears to have a very minimal and slight wobble and there looks to be some up and down slight movement when dollying in / out.

Again, maybe I am seeing things, but it just doesn't look the every other dolly video I have seen. Thanks for the insight guys, and while I'm asking this question, do you guys know of any less expensive dollies for in / outs that produce great results? And also is there any dollies that are made to do in & outs as well as truck moves?


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Todd Terry
Re: More Natural Dolly Effect
on Oct 10, 2013 at 10:21:35 pm

[Ian Bee] "there is a tiny bit of vertical movement when the camera goes back and fourth or dollying in / out)."

I watched it again, HD, big screen... and I just don't see anything. Certainly nothing like a "wobble." There is camera movement, but it's just the camera operator tilting and panning as needed to follow the subject.


[Ian Bee] "know of any less expensive dollies for in / outs that produce great results? And also is there any dollies that are made to do in & outs as well as truck moves?"

Any dolly will also do a truck move... there are no dollys really specifically made to do trucking moves, except maybe sliders (which are I suppose in the dolly family). But of course you can dolly in and out with those as well, just depends on how you point the camera.

Most of the lower-rent or eBay (or DIY) dollys will do a serviceable job... I'm talking about the skate-wheel type. It mostly depends on how good the wheels are, you want real wheels that have bearings. PVC pipe or electrical conduit can be used for track. PVC actually probably works better. Keep it clean clean clean for a smooth ride, and before a shoot apply the super-secret stuff that Hollywood dolly grips all use on their track (Lemon Pledge furniture polish). If your dolly shot doesn't seem steady enough, you probably aren't heavy enough... pile on sandbags until you get a rock steady shot.

T2

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



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David Eaks
Re: More Natural Dolly Effect
on Oct 11, 2013 at 12:50:45 am

I definitely picked up on the movement you are describing, just viewing on my iPad mini, so you're not just seeing things or crazy (or at least you aren't the only one who is).

Like Todd said, the camera operator tilts the camera slightly throughout the move.

It definitely doesn't have the "feel" that you get from a perfectly smooth dolly/truck move. The motion somewhat jumps out at me, by referencing stationary items like the bottom of the couch, drum kit parts, or the picture on the wall. Their relative distance to the top or bottom edge of the screen reveals the slight tilt movement readily. Not necessarily staring right at one particular object, but by observing the framing as a whole. Without the camera operators movement, objects would approach the edges of the screen at a perfectly constant rate (even if the constant may differ between each edge of the screen). This gives that "perfectly still" movement you mention. When the camera tilts up, the objects near the bottom approach the bottom edge a bit quicker while an object near the top will approach the top edge more slowly, stop its approach, or even move away from the edge, depending on the amount and speed of the tilt relative to the speed of the dolly in. I see it and assume that the fact it is noticeable is an unwanted flaw in the overall move, not a creative decision (as if I actually know, or am in any position to judge).

I imagine a DIY slider/dolly rig, a tripod head mounted to it with pan locked in place. The camera operator tilting the camera up/down as slowly and carefully as possible to keep the framing throughout each dolly in/out.

I suppose you could slightly crop in and keyframe the movement, if you've already done the shooting and actually want the look. Which might even be a better way to do it, because if you change your mind, it's easy to get back to the nice smooth original shot, opposed to trying to stabilize a very slight movement in the original shot.


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John Fishback
Re: More Natural Dolly Effect
on Oct 16, 2013 at 9:12:22 pm

Years ago I directed a video shot on an airplane interior set. There were a couple of dolly moves from the aisle in to seated characters. To this day I hate myself for not having the camera op sit on the dolly with the camera on his shoulder so there was some slight life/movement in the shot.

John

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