RC Car mounted mini-cams?

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by William Davis, Jul 7, 2006.

  1. I've got a shoot coming up in a few weeks featuring skateboarders.

    Along with all the traditional shots, I wanted to consider some weird
    angles, so I was thinking of buying one of the heavy duty RC trucks (the
    $300 kind) and mounting one of my old (therefore semi-desposable) DV
    handicams with a wide angle lens to it.

    Just wondered if anyone here has already been down this road, and if so,
    any advice?

    William Davis, Jul 7, 2006
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  2. Yeah, it's been done before, one of the things to watch out for is the
    added mass of even a handycam makes the truck top-heavy and liable to
    roll over on any sharp turns or bumps. The rigs i've seen use a
    wireless POV camera to keep things smaller, lighter, and easier. You
    find that even with an expensive RC truck, one with very good
    suspension and soft tires, you get a lot more bumps in the view than
    you expected, and framing the shots in motion, remotely, requires more
    than casual RC driving skills. Frankly, I don't think it's worth it,
    and a better plan might be a POV camera on a stick or wand, carried
    alongside by a second skater or someone on a bike.

    Or, you could do the effect that's popular for a lot of car
    commercials. You mount a POV camera on a (VERY!) stiff rod thats
    tightly bound to the board itself and hangs out front to one side or
    the other a couple feet, like a lance. This welds the POV lens and
    board/rider into one inertial frame that doesn't appear to move,
    instead, the world and road around it seems to move and a "magic"
    camera seems to float along in perfect formation with the
    car/skateboard, as if it was a motion-control rig.

    In the edit, you just use compositing software with a painting system
    to paint out the rig that's in the shot, replacing it with adjacent
    pixels from the scene. Same as in a still with photoshop you can hide
    wires using the clone brush. Only it's more work on video because you
    have to paint each frame.

    But it looks unearthly cool. Kind of "matrix'-like

    One of the places you can see this effect, and one of the first places
    I saw it, was at the BMW Films site where they have famous directors
    make adventure shorts that star the cars driven by Clive Owen as "the
    Driver". They are mini-movie commercials. The one you should see
    relevant to this post is directed by the late great John Frankenheimer.
    You should watch it twice, once without the director's comments torun
    on, once with. But you'll see this effect int he chase sequence.
    nobody special, Jul 8, 2006
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  3. William Davis

    doc Guest

    except that the films are no longer available online for d/l viewing.

    on the camera mount we did something similiar on commercial and mounted the
    camera of choice to the skaters leg thus taking some of the shock out
    (jitter) of the system and using the side LCD viewfinder the skater was able
    to actually semi-direct the shot to get the desired effect. the shot came
    out good and the client liked it :eek:)

    doc, Jul 13, 2006
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