recording two people walking along the foot path

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Brian, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. Brian

    Brian Guest

    I'm hoping to sort out the camera shots for a short movie script happening
    sometime this year.
    One of the camera shots is recording two people walking down the foot path
    looking for clues from what is written on a piece of paper.
    I've seen shots of people being tracked as they are walking in front of
    the camera so that their faces can be clearly seen when they are walking to
    each other, but to have the cameraman hand holding a camera, walking
    backwards and trying to keep the camera still could be difficult. I could
    slowly zoom out as the two people get closer to the camera but this often
    has the effect of showing no movement of walking towards the camera.
    Most of the shots will be wide angle but there will be some mid to close up
    shots of the people walking on the footpath.

    Any suggestions on how this can be recorded would be welcome thanks.
    Brian, Mar 16, 2013
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  2. ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Brian" <>
    Sent: Friday, March 15, 2013 10:18 PM
    Subject: recording two people walking along the foot path

    Sounds like an assignment for Steadicam, but I haven't had a lot of luck
    with the amateur handheld versions of those. Next up, lay some track one one
    side of the path, shoot at an angle toward their faces. Then put some on the
    other side to get the other half of the conversation. This keeps the track
    out of the picture and out from underfoot. Finally, a series of careful zoom
    pulls would be the surest and steadiest.

    Is it too rough for a vehicle like a golf cart to navigate?

    Gary Eickmeier
    Gary Eickmeier, Mar 16, 2013
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  3. Ahm certainly no 'spert in any of this, but I have noticed that the
    "hand-held jiggly camera effect" has been deliberately used, I surmise, to
    "suggest" motion, drama, action. It is regularly used, iirc, in the police
    drama Southland, with the oh-so fit Regina King. I gather most camera's
    have some sort of image stability, as well, which perhaps could be modulated
    to taste.

    You could also have two camera's, doing alternate angles, which would give
    one camaera time to move back as the other camera is shooting, and when
    edited together, would have continuous forward motion, albeit between two
    different angles. Or, two camerals on the same side/angle, with a suitable
    fade from edit to edit.[/QUOTE]
    Existential Angst, Mar 16, 2013
  4. Or a Segway?? :)
    Existential Angst, Mar 16, 2013
  5. No.

    The two angles suggestion was already in my answer, but yours didn not
    address the motion problem of how to shoot those two angles. Your second
    suggestion would produce jump cuts - or jump fades. The standard film
    technique is to shoot single camera, using multiple takes to make up an
    entire scene. You might start with an establishing shot, might skip it if
    not necessary. Then you would shoot one of the angles of the path
    conversation, focusing on the one actor. Then you would go back to Start and
    shoot it again, this time concentrating on the other actor. Note that these
    two shots must be from decidedly different angles or distances in order to
    avoid jump cuts. Sorry if you already know all that. A third run-through
    might be from the center, pulling focus and zoom and showing both actors
    equally, just for variety or as a final shot, perhaps when they stop
    walking. A panning shot from the side might also be used for variety and to
    show progress or location. The director must work all of this out well
    beforehand so that the crew can move it right along.
    Gary Eickmeier, Mar 16, 2013
  6. Brian

    Brian Guest

    Two cameras are possible. I'll consider it.
    Brian, Mar 17, 2013
  7. Brian

    Brian Guest

    Thanks Gary. I like that idea.
    Brian, Mar 17, 2013
  8. Tran Anh Hung ordered a record-long (for Japan) 5-minute dolly shot
    parallel to a man and a woman walking along a path in the cinematic
    version of Murakami's Norwegian Wood. Afterwards, he and the crew
    were proud of the result.
    Jonathan Berry, Mar 17, 2013
  9. How they did it is discussed, with extra footage, though not in
    great detail, in the "Extras" section of the movie DVD--which you
    might be able to get from your local public library.
    Jonathan Berry, Mar 17, 2013
  10. Brian

    mkujbida Guest

    The new generation of cameras apparently have great optical stabilization built into them. I don't remember makes or models but they have been discussed recently on the Sony Vegas forum so a search there should turn up something.
    Even without OIS, you should be able to do a decent job while hand held as long as your shooter stays zoomed all the way out all the time.
    Have someone hang on to the shooter by the belt and guide him or her backwards as they slowly walk along.

    mkujbida, Mar 18, 2013
  11. Brian

    Brian Guest

    Yes cameras are improving all the time.
    I like your ideas and the only way to know if it will work is to try it.
    Maybe the actors can walk at a slower pace. I'm not certain if holding on
    to the cameraman's belt would work as he need the freedom to walk backwards
    at his own pace. But having someone keeping his path clear would work.
    Brian, Mar 18, 2013
  12. Brian

    mkujbida Guest

    I've done this numerous times, both as a shooter and as one who hangs onto the shooter so I guarantee that it works well. Practice is the key to doingthis successfully. It also puts the shooter's mind at ease as they can concentrate on the shot without having to worry about tripping or falling :)

    mkujbida, Mar 18, 2013
  13. Brian

    Steve King Guest

    Ditto. I am a fan of small stabilizing devices like the GlideCam, the
    mini-SteadyCam, etc. They do work well with small cameras. In the hands of
    an experienced operator I almost always prefer 'steady-cam' shots to
    hand-held. However, hand-held, as an effect, is sometimes the way to go.

    Steve King
    Steve King, Mar 18, 2013
  14. Anybody ever thought about rigging a camera mount so that the camera is
    pointing behind the operator, with a monotor brought around so he can see
    his framing? As for stabilization, my Sony for example has a mode called
    Active Stabilization, which is an electronic smoothing mode that works like
    most edit programs stabilization software.

    Gary Eickmeier
    Gary Eickmeier, Mar 19, 2013
  15. Brian

    Brian Guest

    Thanks Gary and others for your support.

    That's the same with my Sony camera. If I combine the stabilizer in the
    camera with the stabilizer in Vegas then it helps to steady most shots.
    I might have to lean the cameraman my camera for that shot. Using wide
    angle like someone suggested would also help.
    Sometime I must try some test shots to find out what will work best.
    Brian, Mar 19, 2013
  16. Brian

    j Guest

    Zooming out will have the wrong perspective.

    I don't think you need a lot of long shots of walking, a few short clips
    here and there. Perhaps mount a camera/monopod on a hand truck, lay down
    some boards if needed.

    j, Mar 20, 2013
  17. Brian

    HerHusband Guest

    One of the camera shots is recording two people walking down the foot
    Just some ideas...

    It the path is smooth, you could put the camera on some kind of wheeled
    cart and pull it backwards in front of the people walking. I've seen really
    smooth shots with a person filming from a wheeled office chair while
    someone pulls them around.

    If the ground is uneven, you could build a track of some kind to run a cart
    on. Of course, if the shot shows the ground, you'll see the track.

    You could string an overhead cable, and hang the camera with some kind of
    dolley. Perhaps attach it to a pull string so you could pull it along ahead
    of the walkers. I know some of the "Earth" series used setups like this to
    get shots of rough terrain.

    Of course, if you have a steady hand, you could simply hand hold the camera
    and have someone walk behind you to guide you so you don't fall.
    Unfortunately, I've never been steady enough for this sort of thing.

    If you really dare to dream, hang the camera from a large helium balloon,
    or use one of those remote control quadracopters. :)

    Have fun!

    Anthony Watson
    HerHusband, Mar 20, 2013
  18. Brian

    Steve King Guest

    I'll say again that camera stabilizers do work. I have a GlideCam 2000 that
    I've used many times. My crews have also used the GlidePro 4000 and the
    SteadyCam Merlin. It is important to adjust the unit for the camera. There
    are weights that can be added to the pendulum according to the camera being
    used. It does take some arm strength. It does take practice. You can do
    complex moves: walking, panning, and even tilting up and down to some
    degree. It is a two handed operation, one to support the camera and one to
    orient the camera. I don't know what kind of stabilizer you have. but I
    strongly suspect that the operator is at fault, not the stabilizer. FYI
    cameras with which I have experience include Sony PD150, Panasonic HVX200,
    and smaller Sony cameras. Check out the YouTube videos. This one for

    Steve King
    Steve King, Mar 20, 2013
  19. Steve,

    I just opened up a new thread on this before I saw your post. I just have
    not had any luck with these handheld stabilizers. I checked out your video
    link and will try it, but my experience is that these things are always made
    with a gimbal that freely rotates on every axis, with no damping motion
    anywhere. Why, for example, do they permit it to rotate in the yaw axis? If
    it were connected solidly on that axis, so that there was only the tilt and
    horizontal axes, then I could pan as I go with just one hand. Then again,
    why is there a gimbal at all? Why not just straight connect the handle to
    the base so that I can completely control where the camera is pointed as I
    go. And so that is going to be my next adventure, turn in my Opteka Pro and
    go for one of those bars with two bicycle handles on each end and hold that
    with both hands and have total control over all axes and not have to go thru
    the balance routine.

    Anyway, the Sony Active stabilization is terrific and I look forward to
    testing my next stabilizer device.

    Gary Eickmeier
    Gary Eickmeier, Mar 21, 2013
  20. Brian

    Brian Guest

    I have he Sony Active stabilizer on my camera and took some test shots
    walking past a garden of roses and it looked like the view a bee would get
    flying past at slow speed.
    One trick I've used in the past is to slow down the video in a video editor
    so that you don't get a sudden movement in the video for unstable scenes.
    Brian, Mar 21, 2013
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