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How to get an overhead shot

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jabbar thomas
How to get an overhead shot
on Jun 18, 2008 at 1:53:23 pm

Hi folks,

I have a shoot coming up that requires some overhead shots to be taken (shots looking down from the ceiling on two people laying in bed). We're shooting in a real bedroom with a ceiling height of less than eight feet. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can achieve this shot? We have no budget for a crane or even a jib arm. Any jury-rig ideas?

Thanks,
Jabbar


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joe rugby
Re: How to get an overhead shot
on Jun 18, 2008 at 6:32:43 pm

A ladder may work.

L.O.A.


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jabbar thomas
Re: How to get an overhead shot
on Jun 18, 2008 at 6:49:01 pm

thanks for your reply.

Is there any way to get a more stabilized shot (non-hand held), pointed 90-degrees down from the top of small ladder? Maybe a combination of a the camera on just the tripod head and a high hat?

Thanks,
Jabbar



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Mark Suszko
Re: How to get an overhead shot
on Jun 19, 2008 at 2:07:56 pm

Or temporarily put a mirror on the ceiling and shoot into that from below. This works best with a "first surface" mirror, which is expensive, but a clean regular one might be good enough for what you want to do. You undo the flipped image in post.

This also works for really low floor shots without the need for putting a hole in the floor.

Remember that angle of incidence = angle of reflection, and that putting the mirror into the path may double your distance to the target, thus changing the depth of field.


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Mark Suszko
Re: How to get an overhead shot
on Jun 19, 2008 at 2:16:58 pm

You could use the stepladder to put the camera up high, then put a mirror on a 2x4 angled at 45 degrees to put the shot right above them while keeping the camera off to the side. Think of a gigantic version of the dental mirror.

If you have a mitre box, use that to slot the board to hold the mirror in place at the 45 degrees, epoxy the mirror in, the rest you can do with c-clamps.

One other way: if the camera is the small handicam variety, i.e. light weight, make a closet pole... you know, like those expanding shower curtain rods or the coat hanger rods that span the back of a car's rear seat area? Make the pole span from wall to wall, hang the camera off it with clamps or a threaded bolt. Make the pole from PVC pipe outer jacket and actual wooden closet rod. You'll need a way to expand the two, this could be done with a powerful spring inside the PVC, backstopped by a stove bolt thru the side, or one of those screw-on table-leglevelers and a wrench, or threaded PVC pipe hardware. The pipe is pennies a foot, wooden rod maybe ten bucks?



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jabbar thomas
Re: How to get an overhead shot
on Jun 19, 2008 at 4:42:23 pm

Thanks for the replies, folks! They are all very helpful!
Jabbar Thomas



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Zane Barker
Re: How to get an overhead shot
on Jun 19, 2008 at 6:49:51 pm

[joe rugby] "A ladder may work."

Better yet two ladders set to the same hight with a plank spanning the distance between the two ladders. Then mount the camera on the plank, and run a cable out of the AV out to a monitor for preview. And many cameras come with a remote that you can use to start and start the recording.

The biggest problem I see with a mirror is if you don't get it mounted well it could fall and injure someone. Falling mirror glass is more dangerous then a plank falling.

There are no "technical solutions" to your "artistic problems".
Don't let technology get in the way of your creativity!



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Jeff Carpenter
Re: How to get an overhead shot
on Jun 20, 2008 at 2:43:41 pm

What camera?

The size and weight will rule out some options.

Also, what tripod? Is the head easily removeable?



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jon agnew
Re: How to get an overhead shot
on Jun 20, 2008 at 8:56:11 pm

Clamp the camera to a C-Stand arm and raise it to the ceiling...assuming, of course, that you have a C-Stand.



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Beau Brotherton
Re: How to get an overhead shot
on Jun 25, 2008 at 6:04:20 pm

All that you really need is a Hi-Hat. Call your local grip/camera rental house and they'll have one.

You might have to rent a set of sticks with a 100mm ball head, depending on your tripod. Should be able to get a good deal if you tell the what it is for.

Anyway, if you can't afford this, then you sure can't afford the lawyer fees when a mirror falls on your talent from an 8ft ceiling.

Good luck.

Beau Brotherton
Macbook Pro 2.4GHz, Intel Core 2Duo, 4GB
FCP6
HVX200


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Whitney Jean
Re: How to get an overhead shot
on Sep 2, 2011 at 12:41:20 am

What would you clamp the camera to the arm with?


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Mark Suszko
Re: How to get an overhead shot
on Sep 2, 2011 at 2:16:47 am

Camera attaches to camera plate on the hi-hat. Hi-hat is screwed or c-clamped to the side of a stiff plank held up by the two stepladders.

No hi-hat? Screw the plate right to the plank with a nut and bolt. Attach camera to plate. Raise up plank. Shoot.


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jabbar thomas
Re: How to get an overhead shot
on Jun 25, 2008 at 6:09:12 pm

Hi,

We will be using an HVX-200 with a Bogen 516 Tripod.

Thanks,
Jabbar Thomas



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