Hi all! I've got an idea that I'm trying to add for this final shot in my commercial I just pitched to the local children's hospital. In it, the characters are stacking onto each other while the camera swivels from a front view to an overhead shot, then the characters fall on their backs and laugh. Here's a section of the storyboard below that might help. What I'm wondering is if anyone has had any experience doing this kind of shot and what they might have used. Ideally I want to lock off the camera on a rig that extends out from some sort of anchor like a C-stand (may not be strong enough) and just worry about moving that main arm that's locked into the knuckle. A colleague suggested making a peg board with all the positions drilled out and move the camera from a mount across the arch while adjusting the camera angle each time by predefined chalk lines. Both would work, but I like my idea a bit better because I'm not moving as much stuff and would have less chances of over correcting. I'd probably need to do a two camera shoot just to keep a close eye on how the camera moves while I worry about making 4 characters move at once. Honestly I don't think I can be happy unless I'm in over my head for most of this. ;D
I've done a shot similar to this before, and I've embedded the video that it's in. It's one of the last few shots, used as a transition from the bar to the bedroom. We started shooting the camera move in the bar, and then finished the move in a bedroom, and cut between them. It was also life-sized scale, and our rig was quite big, so building it for miniature shouldn't be a problem...
The rig was made out of wood, but I'm sure you could construct something out of grip gear. It was basically a big L-shaped arm pivoting on a base. One end of the arm was connected in the middle to the base by a bolt that acted as the pivot point, and the camera sat at the other end of the arm- pointing in parallel to the pivot point . Think of it as a windmill, where the L shaped piece is one of the blades. The other end of the L shape is joined at the tip of the blade, and pointing outwards from the base. The camera is attached to the end of this protruding piece, so that it's tracing an arc around the pivot point, but held out far enough from the base (windmill) so that it's not in the shot (really hope that makes sense). The key was in using square pieces of wood that, when bolted together, only pivoted in one direction (unlike a c-stand arm that would also twist when you loosened it). Also, the wood could be bolted tightly enough that it would hold it's place, but would move when we pushed on it. It was a little rough, but held up for the shot.
Let me know if it works out for you. Also, good luck.
Thanks Evan! I can definitely see what you're getting at in my mind's eye. I'm sure it's a lot more stable when you make it yourself rather than trying to piece-male something out of grip gear, but there may be something we can use for the miniature set. I'll also be using a wide-angle lens to cut down on the size of the arc I would have to make. I've got the videographer helping me out and I'll post our production photos once we get it going. Thanks again for the info and the example!