I'm shooting a white Stallion running down the beach, hoofs splashing in the water here in Sydney, Australia next week. I will be operating off of a six wheeled polaris with a bungy rig to support the camera. Running the camera at frame rates of around 100-150FPS. Shooting side on, in front, and behind the horse. I'd love to hear any suggestions, problems, things to look out for, from anyone with any experience of a shoot of this type.
I tried to hire 'The Black Stallion' last night and unfortunately no one had available.
The Polaris is going to work, although I wouldn't call it my first choice.
My first choice would be a Russian Arm on a Porsche Cayenne.
I just did a spot involving a pack of 12 racehorses and here's what I learned:
1/. There is no such thing as medium speed for a horse. If you want it galloping it will go 40-55mph depending on the horse.
2/. A horse has surprisingly little stamina. Push for at least 3 sets of horses if you don't want to sit around all day waiting for the horses to recover.
3/. The best way we have found to follow a pack of horses was to start rolling our vehicles slowly ahead of the standing pack of horses, then cue the horses and let them catch up to the vehicle and then follow them from the perspective needed by speeding the follow vehicles up.
4/. The higher the frame rate the more beautiful a horses movement gets. At 150fps you will see every muscle vibrate and be stunned at the beauty of the horse.
5/. We did use a Polaris for B-Cam with steadicam and got some great dynamic footage from it (make sure to install some wind blockers as keeping a camera horizontally steady at those speeds becomes difficult otherwise).
Florian Stadler, D.P., L.A.
>>There is no such thing as medium speed for a horse. If you want it >>galloping it will go 40-55mph depending on the horse.
I think you meant to say 20 to 25mph. When I was young my family owned race horses. A 2 minute mile was a pretty good time for a horse. This would be 30 mph so a gallop would be slower. Good luck.
First Assistant Camera
Detroit, MI USA
>>4/. The higher the frame rate the more beautiful a horses movement >>gets at 150fps you will see every muscle .vibrate and be stunned at >>the beauty of the horse
I agree with the first part, but personally don't think that 150 frames will give you the desired effect. Anything involving water is usually photographed at higher rates. Caleb Deshanel in Black Stallion used a 4ER (360 fps) for the slow motion shots.
Cinematographer, Los Angeles
>>a white Stallion running down the beach, hoofs splashing in the water >>here in Sydney, Australia next week. I will be operating off of a six >>wheeled polaris with a bungy rig to support the camera.
Having a couple of gyros available wouldn't be a bad idea...
David Perrault, CSC
Meant to say 40-55 kmh not mph, thanks for the correction.
Re: 150fps agreed 360fps could be even better, he was mentioning he was limited to 100-150fps and I was urging him to use the highest possible frame rate available to him.
Florian Stadler, D.P., L.A.
>>but personally don't think that 150 frames will give you the desired >>effect
I did a shot like this for a music video a few years ago.
We shot at 150 but put all the footage through re-timer to slow it to 450.
This was NOT using the cut down re-timer that you get in some compositing progs but the full on expensive version that lets you analyse differently parts of the shot separately.
Amazing end result.
Geoff Boyle FBKS
Director of Photography
Geoff writes :
>>We shot at 150 but put all the footage through re-timer to slow it to 450
Note that optical flow re-timers work to the extent that there is visual continuity frame to frame - that things aren't moving or changing shape so rapidly that the software loses track of where they should be. For example, water bursting toward the lens. The middle areas often retime perfectly, while the edges, which are moving much faster relative to the camera POV and are often almost random, fail entirely.
Geoff's absolutely right in that the smaller the miracle you ask the software to do, the better the result, i.e. start with 150fps, not 24p. BTW, the main impediment to making slo-mo from normal live action is motion blur. If you know you're going to want to slo-mo something, and all you have is a maximum 60i camera, shoot at 30p or 60i, but with a fast enough shutter speed to properly freeze the action.
Motion blur, like contrast, is one of those things that's easy to add in post, but hard to take out. (though one of the Furnace packages will do it to a degree).
SFD vfx & creative post
Santa Monica, CA
Regarding shooting a horse on the beach:
Have you considered using an electronically stabilized remote head?
This would make it possible to get the shots much more easily, and would allow using a longer lens as opposed to wide angle - longer focal lengths might be desirable when filming against an ocean backdrop, for example.
The downside, of course, is the cost, but the cost can often be offset by the advantage of that capability.
Los Angeles, CA
Shoot update -
We ended up mounting an Arri 435 using scaffold and a bungy rig on a six wheeled polaris. Ran the horse up to speed, then we chased up to her to film. As we were running on popular beach it was pretty bumpy due to foot divets left from the weekend. If we had more people I would have had them smooth the surface somewhat. We ran the camera at 100 FPS, 180 degree shutter angle and lensed with a 25-250mm Zeiss Zoom. I shot with Pola's, and ND's on 5218. Stopped at around T4 - T5.6 The operating was tricky and quite hard work but the end product worked well, the client was extremely happy, no one got hurt and everyone had fun.
A good day.
Thanks for all the suggestions leading up to the shoot folks.
If you'd like to view the TVC spot visit the video section under my directors' myspace > www.myspace.com/mylesconti
Dan Freene, Sydney DOP