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View Full Version : overhead shot sans jib/crane?



Shawn Murphy
06-29-2005, 01:13 AM
Is their a standard way to mount a DV camera to get an overhead shot looking directly down over someone on the ground or on a bed, without being handheld, on a tripod or jib?

I placed two c-stands apart from each other with a piece of metal conduit running from stand to stand over the bed with the gobo arms inside the pipe, but just couldn't figure out what kind of plate or other method to safely and reliably secure the camera. Thanks in advance.

on thing I was thinking would be cool would be to mount the camera to a small dollie patform that is elevated in the air, (like Dan of dvcamerarigs does in his book, riding on two pieces of metal conduit that are held up by ladders or c-stands or whatever...), but I'm not sure how I would mount the camera to the platform such that it could shoot straight down...

Kevin_Zanit
06-29-2005, 01:32 AM
Just C-clamp a hi-hat to a ladder looking in the position you want. Use two clamps, you will be fine.


Kevin Zanit

Shawn Murphy
06-29-2005, 03:11 AM
I guess I don't understand your recommendation, either that or I didn't communicate clearly...

a ladder, where? place the ladder on top of the bed? I'm trying to avoid having a ladder, tripod, or any other platform 'on' the bed so I can have absolute camera stability, especially given that the actor will be moving on the bed, you know waking up, stretching, etc., hence the idea of putting c-stands on either side of the bed with a pipe/pole/arm running between the two stands. And if I did attach a hi-hat to the ladder it would be a strange mount point to get it so the camera is looking straight down, no? (you mean attach the hi-hat to the side of the ladder?)

on that note I could get an almost perpendicular down shot even with my tripod, but again I'm hoping to have an absolutely perpendicular (and stable) overhead shot, with the ability to rig it over a bed as well as the ground/floor, etc.

...and I don't actually own a hi-hat (perhaps I should), but that's another $160.

GenJerDan
06-29-2005, 05:25 AM
No rule says the overhead shots have to be done in the bedroom, or show more than the person on the bed+the bed+maybe a nightstand, etc.

Move everything to somewhere beneath an easy camera-mounting position and shoot those shots there.

Dan

galt
06-29-2005, 06:35 AM
Mirrors. :)

Neil Rowe
06-29-2005, 06:41 AM
at my local photography store they sell little clamps.. like a c-clamp with a swiveling 1/4" thread mount on one side. ..but what i would suggest is just going and buying a 2x4 (or 2x6 for more stability) and a peice of 1/8 or 1/4" aluminum stock and making a little mounting plate that you just screw to the 2x4 and use a hardware screw to mount the dvx to the plate mount off the side of the 2x4. then just mount /set the 2x4 on the stands on the side of the bed

asylumproductions
06-29-2005, 07:52 AM
You could always place the bed up against a wall and have the actors standup, to give the illusion that you are over them(hey it works)

danslak
06-29-2005, 08:38 AM
Hi Shawn,

We've done this a million times with the dolly in the book since it has the ability to hang upside down. Can't do that with skatboard dollies! Since the dolly is going to be hanging up-side-down, to get the camera in the correct position make a 'U' out of 3/4" plywood about 3"-4" wide. The bottom of the 'U' bolts onto the dolly base. Make the length of the this plywood bit as wide as the dolly platform. In my case, I use a 12" square platform for this kind of stuff, so the bottom U piece would be 12". The sides of the 'U' need to be long enough to allow the camera to tilt straight down without hitting the dolly platfom. Glue and screw the side pieces to the top piece. So you should have a square that's missing the fourth side. Take a 4th bit of plywood and attach it between the two side pieces. This will hold the camera, so you'll need to drill a hole in this bit for a camera screw. To find where to drill the hole, open the screen on the camera, and position the camera on the plywood bit. Make sure that the mounting hole is someplace where the screen doesn't hit the side of the 'U', and drill the hole. Mount this piece at the angle you want the camera to be, between the two side pieces. As an alternative, you can get 2 threaded inserts that screw into each end of the edges of the bottom piece.

http://www.woodzone.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=Threaded_Inserts&Category_Code=HRD

The inserts have threads on the inside. You drill a hole in each edge of the bottom piece, and screw these insets in. Then drill a hole in each side of the bottom of the side pieces that line up with the inset holes, and slide bolts or knobs:

http://woodworker.com/cgi-bin/search.exe?BP=1

through the holes, then tighten them into the insets in the camera platform. That way you can tilt them any way you want and tighten down the bolts to hold it. Make sense?

To hold the conduit rails, I use Pony Pipe saddles:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0000224CB/ref=pd_sxp_f/103-4600739-1900667?v=glance&s=hi

They have a little set screw to hold the pipe, and two holes in their feet to attach them to a bit of wood. Attach 2 of them to a 3/4" bit of plywood about 4" wide, and a bit longer than the width of your dolly wheels. Set the pipe saddles the same width apart as your dolly wheels. Take the other 2 saddles and do the same thing on another piece of lumber. Mount these 2 to ladders, c-stands, tripods, whatever, with a c-clamp. Set the ladders on either side of the bed, and run your conduit between the pipe saddles and tighten the set screw.

Attach your camera mount to the dolly platform with a nut and bolt, hang the dolly up-side-down on the rails, and you're good to go.

I've used this little system in tight spaces as well as between two buildings in downtown Los Angeles to shoot the alley below (we used a rope to pull the dolly across). It works great!

Dan
www.DVcameraRigs.com

Raytracer
06-29-2005, 09:28 AM
The first time I worked with a DVX100, I absolutely fell in love with the small form factor. It allows you to quckly create rigs that would take days of work and custom fabrication if they had to support a large camera.

For your shot, and about a million others, get one of these guys: http://www.bogenimaging.us/product/templates/templates.php3?sectionid=180&itemid=556 and get a very short piece of 1/4-20 threaded rod from the hardware store. It only needs to protrude 1/8" from the bottom of the baby pin.

Screw the baby pin into the mounting hole of your camera and you can chuck it up in a standard gobo head. I've done all sorts of wild POV rigs with this.

Here's a travelling rig on a library cart for reverse POV:
http://digitalriverproduction.com/files/pics/cartcam1.jpg
http://digitalriverproduction.com/files/pics/cartcam2.jpg

We made a similar rig that placed the camera right next to the wheel for a "chase" scene.

And yes, the movie was better lit than these stills.

Joe

Barry_Green
06-29-2005, 10:57 AM
Lowel makes a baby stud with a protruding 1/4" screw:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=32238&is=REG&addedTroughType=search

Same idea, but no need to get an additional 1/4"-threaded rod...

Shawn Murphy
06-29-2005, 11:43 AM
Now that's what I call creativity! ..great ideas, greatly appreciated!

Raytracer
06-29-2005, 11:55 AM
Thanks Barry!

The Lowel piece is what I usually use, but I couldn't find it on Lowel's website. Mine's older than the hills, so I figured they didn't make it anymore, or it was a part from a larger assembly.

Joe

Shawn Murphy
06-29-2005, 05:13 PM
Hi Shawn,

We've done this a million times with the dolly in the book since it has the ability to hang upside down. Can't do that with skatboard dollies!

...

Attach your camera mount to the dolly platform with a nut and bolt, hang the dolly up-side-down on the rails, and you're good to go.

I've used this little system in tight spaces as well as between two buildings in downtown Los Angeles to shoot the alley below (we used a rope to pull the dolly across). It works great!

Dan
www.DVcameraRigs.com


Hey Dan, do you have a picture of the setup you're describing? As you know, a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case, the combination of both just might take it to the next level!

Perhaps I'm dense, but I don't know what you mean when you talk about the ability to hang the dollie upside down, I built your dollie design, but why would I want to turn the dollie upside down, it's wood and I can just mount whatever on the top or the bottom... it's almost as if because of your design their is no "top" or "bottom" like the ones with the angle iron design...


As an aside, I actually use those threaded inserts to connect my dollie track (pics posted here):

http://www.dvxuser.com/V3/showthread.php?t=28485

danslak
07-01-2005, 08:14 AM
Hey Dan, do you have a picture of the setup you're describing? As you know, a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case, the combination of both just might take it to the next level!

Perhaps I'm dense, but I don't know what you mean when you talk about the ability to hang the dollie upside down, I built your dollie design, but why would I want to turn the dollie upside down, it's wood and I can just mount whatever on the top or the bottom... it's almost as if because of your design their is no "top" or "bottom" like the ones with the angle iron design...


As an aside, I actually use those threaded inserts to connect my dollie track (pics posted here):

http://www.dvxuser.com/V3/showthread.php?t=28485

I guess I mean hanging the camera "underneath". While you can work with it that way if the dolly is upside down or right side up, I always prefered hanging it upside down because you have more room on the "top" of the platform for rigging heads and such because the wheel assemblies are out of the way since I use such a small platform for shots like this. Also, I just feel more comfortable when its really high off the ground operating it when it is hanging below the rails. It just seems more stable to me that way. But you're right, either will work! I'll try to find time to get some photos shot this weekend.

Dan
www.DVcameraRigs.com

Shawn Murphy
07-01-2005, 10:53 AM
Dan, I agree with the psychological factor of turning the platform over when up in the air, it does seem more stable, and having more surface area to mount to will surely become more important when I make one of these smaller platforms (what size is your smallest platform?).

Appreciate you taking the time to post some pics.

danslak
07-01-2005, 11:56 AM
Dan, I agree with the psychological factor of turning the platform over when up in the air, it does seem more stable, and having more surface area to mount to will surely become more important when I make one of these smaller platforms (what size is your smallest platform?).

Appreciate you taking the time to post some pics.

My smallest is 12"x12" the largest 24" x 36" and a couple in-between. The one I use the most holds the "Killer's Kiss Crane" and is 24"x24". After I posted before, I remembered a shot that we had to get as close to the ceiling as possible. By hanging the dolly upside-down, we got about 2" away. In another instance we were going through a really tight space, and the only way to do it was to hang the dolly upside down, but still mount the camera on "top" (literally, the bottom) so that it was riding in-between the wheel assemblies. I forgot that I loaned my camera to a friend of mine, but I suppose I can take some photos without it this weekend. You'll still get the idea.

Dan
www.dvcamerarigs.com

bcheong
07-01-2005, 01:23 PM
This is an example I did for an overhead shot. I rigged a piece of conduit pipe into two maffer clamps angled into two grip heads on c-stands. The camera was then mounted on a tilt photohead into another maffer clamped onto the pipe. I've also created goal post setups on pipe between c-stands or the ladder method works well in some cases with a hi-hat or some basic grip hardware (arms, maffers, cardellini, pipe, etc).

http://www.barrycheong.com/overhead.jpg

http://www.barrycheong.com/rig01.jpg

http://www.barrycheong.com/rig02.jpg