Wednesday, January 23, 2008

One man, One camera, One long arm

I was watching a piece by Andy Ihnatko the other day and I enjoyed the video, he is a funny guy, but what really caught my eye was his camera technique. He was able to pan the camera from each side with out any apparent movement from his arms while he was walking through Central Park. I figured he either has really long, ape like arms or was using some kind of rig. I wasn't the only one who was curious and there were several comments asking how he did it. He responded:
I used the same tabletop telescoping tripod that I used for the first video, and held the thing as a stick. Shooting that way is a lot of fun; I shot a third video in which I slowly spun in place and that was a cool effect (me rock-solid, Central Park swooshing behind me nonstop). But I got a bit dizzy doing it, and watching it later.

When I got back home I was happy to find that I had all the raw materials necessary to build a better version of this stick. I just broke apart another tabletop tripod ($5 from the MIT Flea), liberated the metal adjustable tripod head from it, and screwed it into a monopod. Works a treat, gives me a lot more range, and the finished stick looks as though I have an actual budget for these things.
I once saw an episode of Survivorman, where they drop Les Stroud into the middle of nowhere with some supplies and a few video cameras. Sometimes he was walking along holding his camera hooked to his tripod (I think) which let him get the camera little further from his face and shoot while he walked. I didn't really think about it much until I saw the Ihnatko footage and it got me to thinking that this would be an interesting addition to my bag of tricks.

Cool! I'm going to be experimenting with this soon. Anybody know a site that discusses using a video camera this way?

[Image: Captured from "Andy Ihnatko 02 "The Kindle Constitutional";]

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