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Aerials of A Moving Train

 

Published : 4th August 2013

I have a commercial coming up involving aerial shots of a moving train. A top shot following the train and another side shot of a single window with the talent looking out. Greenscreen is a back-up option. The director asks for Wescam or Cineflex, in my opinion an overkill since both shots can be done with a side mount. I'm looking for a budget-friendly, stabilized mount for Alexa/Optimo 290mm setup other than a Tyler-mount.. any thoughts?

Thanks again, Markus

Markus Huersch
director of photography
EU based, Switzerland
CH mobile + 4179 208 5116
D mobile +4915157204360
www.markushuersch.com


IMO, I don't think a side mount (like a Tyler side mount) can achieve the results a Wescam or Cineflex can. If the director is asking for a Wescam or Cineflex, why not go with that? If you have to use a side mount, maybe consider an EPIC at 5K and then plan on doing some image stabilization with the extra resolution in post.

Michael Murray
Director Photography
AdrenalineFilms.com
Orlando, Florida


My only experience with this is as a viewer:

One of the current crop of BBC natural history docs (there have been so many recently), possibly Planet Earth, had some amazing shots of animals running through the wilds of Africa. They had a little 15 min segment at the end that showed the making of it and from what I remember they were using the Cineflex, shooting from quite some way away and moving at quite a pace.

Pictures were stunning in every sense of the word.

Michael J Sanders:
London Based DP/Cameraman


Markus Huersch wrote:

>>I have a commercial coming up involving aerial shots of a moving train. A top shot following the train and >>another side shot of a single window with the talent looking out. Greenscreen is a back-up option.

A few thoughts.

Budget friendly, stabilized, and aerials generally don't mix very well.

If by top-shot, you mean looking directly down on the top of the train,
then your options are fairly limited, either a Tyler Nose Mount or a WesCam, Cineflex, etc. Side mount is not a good idea for that type of shot.

Having said that, it is possible to get a top shot with a Tyler side mount (Middle Mount), but it requires a very skilled pilot who can side slip the helicopter, it also requires a well practiced operator. It also requires some co-operation from the weather. If there is a head wind or a cross wind, it would be very difficult just to keep up with a train running at any kind of speed while side slipping the helo.

Also the Middle Mount would not accommodate the Alexa with the Optimo, and the Tyler Gyro Package, so you would need a Tyler Major Mount.

On the other hand, a nose mounted Cineflex or WesCam will give you both shots without any difficulties.

You should be aware that the Cineflex comes with a Sony HDC 1500 built in. There are no options at present for changing cameras. The good news on that score is that if you record 4:4:4, the Cineflex cuts rather well with the Alexa, especially give the dramatic change in POV from ground to air.

AFAIK, the only stabilized system that can accommodate an Alexa with an Optimo 290 is the Pictorvision (WesCam) Eclipse. With a smaller zoom, there are other options.

Keep in mind that whatever you save on the mount, can quickly be erased by additional airtime spent trying to get the shot.

Best of luck with your shoot,

Brian Heller
IA 600 DP


Do you really need the big heavy 12:1 ?

We will usually go with the older light shorter Angenieux 10:1, with a 1.4 extender if necessary

Mako/Makofoto, S. Pasadena, Ca


>>Keep in mind that whatever you save on the mount, can quickly be erased by additional airtime spent >>trying to get the shot.

Totally agree with you Brian. You get what you pay for and you will spend a lot more time trying to get the shot with a side mount (if you can even get what the director wants). I can imagine the logistics of getting the train and machine in the right place, etc is not going to be easy. The Cineflex with a good operator (and pilot) is hard to beat in terms of efficiency of air time. We shot some aerials a couple of months ago with Cineflex (Pat Longman), at the same time I did some hand held Epic with primes at late dusk. IMHO, The Epic blew the Sony 1500 away in terms of the picture quality but the handheld was limited to wide shots which could be stabilized in post. The Cineflex (with the 2/3" sensor of Sony 1500) has one huge advantage over larger format cameras: the available lenses provide a much greater range of focal lengths within a reasonable size and weight.

Michael Murray
Director Photography
AdrenalineFilms.com
Orlando, Florida


I just finished a triathlon shoot shot with this rig www.shot-over.com.

F35 with Optimo 290. Roughly the same size mount as the Cineflex but with the large sensor format. Incredibly smooth and buttery image. The compromises over Cineflex have already been mentioned.

Richard Sutcliffe
Kinetic Media
Queenstown NZ


290mm on any of the Tyler mounts is not going to be very stable IMO (said from experience). Even with all the gyros in the world. At a minimum - a smaller lens would be my recommendation. As Brian pointed out, the cost of additional flight time and the attempt at post stabilizing fixes will likely catch up to the cost of the Cineflex which is nearly a slam dunk for the shots you are talking about.

What does it take to re-set the train "back to 1"??

Carlos Acosta
Designing | Engineering | Manufacturing
Solid Camera, Inc.
Burbank, CA USA


Gentlemen,

Thanks to all of you, who answered my question an shared some very valuable information!

And thanks to all the others for reminding me that a Taylor mount doesn't take the weight of the Optimo...

Markus Huersch
director of photography
EU based, Switzerland
CH mobile + 4179 208 5116
D mobile +4915157204360
www.markushuersch.com