1.19.2007

Camera Choo-Choo

I won't be experimenting with camera movement until I have an underwater set to play with, which won't happen until I have a pier to play with, which won't happen until I have a Jenny to play with :) But I thought I'd post my theoretical camera tracking system now, since I mentioned it in the comments section. Since everything underwater (Jenny/Nola) will be rigged and 'floaty', I have no tie-downs to worry about, which means I can place the underwater set elements (seaweed, bones, pier posts) directly onto the floor, which will give me a chance to experiment with a tracking/dolly system for my camera. My original thought, back when I was planning on using the digi still cam, pre-framegrabber, was to use hotwheel tracks, but one day I was rummaging through the spare room and found a couple of cars from an old train set. The wheels/axels removed from the train will be perfect....



...All I need is a few pieces of old track, which I can lay down as I need to, to weave the camera in and out of Jenny's front lawn...The camera itself screws on using the bolt from an old tripod...hopefully by the end of the year, I'll have a better camera so I can finally retire the old Sony clunker, seen here strapped on and ready to roll :)


9 comments:

Darkstrider said...

That's a good plan. Now all you need is a Bogen/Manfrotto 410 geared head to go in between the railcar and the camera, and some way to hold it in place and advance it by increments.

herself said...

Wooo, drool. Great idea, J. Have you tried a test yet even w/o a track? I wanna see how smoooth it is before I go raid my local train enthusiast store.

jriggity said...

cool deal man!

you should be able to get some smoothe moves with that thing.

and yet another one for the banks.

jriggity

Darkstrider said...

There was some talk n the board a while back about using train tracks for a dolly type thing. It's nice because you can get curves. But the problem we never solved is what kind of advancement system to use. You need to be able to lock the camera in place and advance it a millimeter or so, under control. Tracks would be perfect for a live action pan, but for stopmo I'm afraid the camera would move when you don't want it to. Possibly you could just wad up a piece of paper to the right size and jam it under the train car to act as a sort of friction brake, and lay a tape measure beside the track to help guage hand-operated movement? Maybe a piece of armature wire hotglued to the car to act as an indicator needle? Just postulatin'

Hila said...

O, I need a camera choo-choo!!! Sure there's lots of things to test and problems to figure out (low-tech fun).
I love the wire hot-glued indicator needle, mike, great Idea!!!

Ubatuber said...

Yeah, great idea with the indicator....as for advancement, I was thinking like 1/4" increments would be enough, but I guess not....my (theoretical) plan was to lay the track on a piece of wood that has nails driven in, along side the track on both sides, every 1/4", that I can stretch a rubberband across, to mark the stopping point.....something stiffer than a rubberband would be better but you get the idea....millimeters, now that might be a problem :)

Darkstrider said...

Well, of course it changes depending on how fast the camera is moving. For the first few moves you want really tiny increments - millimeters or 1/2 millimeters, then each frame being a slightly bigger move until you ramp up to speed. Once you're really going it can move a good deal farther, as long as you want a fast pan. Then you'll want to ease out again at the end of it.

Rubber bands stretched across.... that's an interesting approach!

Darkstrider said...

I've been thinking about this today, and this is how I'd probably tackle it:

I'd glue the wheels in place so they don't spin. That way there's no free play, the car slides along the track, which still serves as a guide, but it stays right where you put it. Then hotglue a cloth tape measure alongside the track and use a wire as an indicator needle.

Ubatuber said...

Yeah, I think that'll work! I had the minor realization today that I don't actually need the wheels to roll :)