Thread: Shooting motorcycles from the back of a pickup?

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  1. #1 Shooting motorcycles from the back of a pickup? 
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    Soon we will be capturing a group motorcycle ride for one of our local Harley dealers. For many of the shots we are planning to shoot from the bed of a pickup truck. I am aware that the rental of either a gyro or steadicam rig would be ideal, but the budget is limited and the rental situation here in Idaho is less than ideal. So instead we have rigged a kind of "ghetto fabbed" large cinesadle for our tripod to be loosely ratchet strapped on top of in the truck bed (to reduce vibration), then we will stabilize in CS6 warp stabilizer. My questions is:

    What do you guys think of 4k 24 VS 3k 48?
    Currently we have been using a shutter of 192 for 24 and a shutter of 384 for 48, any suggestions here?

    Any other thoughts? Any help would be appreciated, we will be testing a lot more as we get closer to the shoot. Thanks!
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Paul Russell's Avatar
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    your shutter speeds are a bit high. You might get the Private Ryan strobing effect. Have you run any tests?
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  3. #3  
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    We have done some testing at 4k, not yet at 3k. What would you think of as an ideal shutter? The problem we have been running into is the motion blur caused by movement/vibration, causing the shots at a more standard shutter speed to look much softer.
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  4. #4  
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    However, there was some strobing, so we have been working with RE:Vision's motion blur plugin to alleviate it.
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  5. #5  
    Senior Member Matt Gerard's Avatar
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    Testing testing testing!!! We are doing a similar shoot, except shooting out the front window, ie, driver's POV on some rough roads. We built a bungee rig with straps through the windows and the camera hanging for the bungees, we tried a steadycam arm on a combo shorty stand, and other goofy looking gadgets. So far the best was going handheld with elbows propped on a padded 2x4. Fortunatly for us, the client wanted smoother and we will be renting one of these-

    http://www.aerialexposures.com/ATM-R44.jpg
    http://www.aerialexposures.com/EricR3.jpg

    from-

    http://www.aerialexposures.com/gyroplatform.htm

    $1200 a week i think we were quoted. Maybe we can shoot some other fun stuff the rest of the week!

    I guess I would err on the side of fast shutters than slow, the stabilize will look better with less motion blur. In our tests, it messed up on the sharp bumps where there was a lot of movement between frames, the motion blur made it a little goofy looking.

    Good luck!

    Matt
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    The RE:Vision plugin works pretty good in most cases - I agree that it's better to sacrifice motion blur if there's ANY plan for post stabilization, and just fake it on the stabilized footage. 48fps is only gonna give you the effect of slower motorcycles when played back at 24, so I would say shoot at 4k to give the stabilization/post blurring process more data to work with (and a wider shot w/less of a cropped sensor). Also, use a lens w/IS.

    All that said, I got some great shots of some electric motorcycles six years ago from a truck bed on a dirt road using a steadicam... (actually a cheap rental Glidecam). It's easy to operate since you're just sitting/kneeling there, so you don't need to hire an experienced operator.
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  7. #7  
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    What if we were to speed up the 48 footage to 24 after it's stabilized? None of our lenses are IS except for our crappy t2i kit lens (18-55?). Would IS make a huge difference? Thanks for the input guys!
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  8. #8  
    We had one of them gyros before they are not much help on bumpy roads since their own weight kind of adds more trubble than they remove. Increase framerate and cushion the camera with bungies or lock the camera hard to the car. Then remove frames in post and stabilize. the upped framrate will get you around rolling shutter in a way the shutter will not. So better to shoot 48fps 360 than 24fps 180.
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member Brian F Kobylarz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Allsbury View Post
    Soon we will be capturing a group motorcycle ride for one of our local Harley dealers. For many of the shots we are planning to shoot from the bed of a pickup truck. I am aware that the rental of either a gyro or steadicam rig would be ideal, but the budget is limited and the rental situation here in Idaho is less than ideal. So instead we have rigged a kind of "ghetto fabbed" large cinesadle for our tripod to be loosely ratchet strapped on top of in the truck bed (to reduce vibration), then we will stabilize in CS6 warp stabilizer. My questions is:

    What do you guys think of 4k 24 VS 3k 48?
    Currently we have been using a shutter of 192 for 24 and a shutter of 384 for 48, any suggestions here?

    Any other thoughts? Any help would be appreciated, we will be testing a lot more as we get closer to the shoot. Thanks!

    Thoughts:

    First, partially deflate the tires on the pickup - especially the rear wheels. That will remove most of the vibration.


    Next, keep the camera lower to the bed - the higher you are, the more "sway" introduced. If you have ever tried to shoot from the back of a truck standing up, you know that stability is lacking - it will fight you.

    If you want to be clever and build a rig:
    Mount a high hat in the middle of a piece of plywood.
    Drill a series of holes at the edge of the plywood.
    Mount some drilled rails along the top of each side panel of the bed (use the rectangular holes as gravity mounting points)
    Install numerous high strength rubber straps / cords between the rail holes and plywood holes.
    Result: a floating camera platform. The rubber straps will absorb a lot of the vibration.

    Downside is it tracks with the level of the bed - so as the truck takes a corner, the platform tilts.
    Then again, a tripod will do the same thing.

    So, another approach is to construct a floating mount suspended from an overhead rail. With a bit of practice, you can keep the horizon level in a turn. Again, heavy duty rubber to take the load and absorb vibration.

    If you are able to get a Steadicam or Tyler mount w/gyro, best place to position yourself is sitting down on the tailgate.
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  10. #10  
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    Thanks for all of your input guys, here is a link to a test we shot at 3k 48p 384. Pretty impressed with the results. We have not added the motion blur yet. Let me know your thoughts!

    PS
    This road is actually pretty damn bumpy...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfrpqT_7g2Q
    *Corrected
    Last edited by Andrew Allsbury; 05-17-2012 at 05:22 PM.
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