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Hack 16. Roll Your Own Dolly

Hack 16. Roll Your Own Dolly

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1.17.1.1.Trustingyourfriends.

Ifyouplanonskatingandshooting,thinklongandhardaboutwhereyouwillbe

concentrating.Lookingthroughtheeyepieceofyourcamerawillgreatlyrestrict

yourvision.EvenlookingatanLCDmonitorwillprobablydistractyoufrom

noticinganyobstaclesinyourpath.Figure1-29showsacamerapersonon

rollerbladesbeingpulledbackwardbyanassistant.

Figure1-29.Rollerbladesservingasagreatdolly



Skateboards,especiallylongboards,aregoodforlow-angleshots.You

cansit,lay,orsimplyattachthecameratoone,inordertoobtainthe

shotyouwant.



Tobeblunt,findafriendyoucantrust,andhaveherpush,pull,andsteeryou

aroundwhileyouconcentrateonthesceneyouarerecording.Doingsowill

resultinfarfewerbruises,scrapedknees,andbrokenbones.Whetheryouhavea



friendhelpyoualong,oryougoitalone,makesureyouuseabroomandsweep

thepathyouintendtotake.Averysmallrockcancauseaverybigfall.

1.17.1.2.Movingbackward

Ifyoursubjectsarewalkingtowardyou,youwillneedtobeskatingawayfrom

theminordertokeeptheminframeandinfocus.Becauseyouwillwantto

captureyoursubjects'faces,moreoftenthannot,youwillberequiredtoskate

backward.Eventhoughyouwillhaveyourtrustyfriendpullingyoufrombehind

(youdidreadthepreviousparagraph,right?),youshouldbecomfortablemoving

backwardonskates.



1.17.2.BorrowingaWheelchair

Awheelchairalsomakesagreatdolly,becauseitiscomfortable,stable,and

requiresnoassembly.Theuseofawheelchairasadollydoesnotrequiremuch

explanation:sit,point,shoot,androll.Aswithrollerblades,itisbestifyouhave

someonepushorpullyouasyouareshootingyourscene.



Youshouldavoidthetemptationofamotorizedwheelchair,because

themotor'snoisewillmostlikelyendupmixedinwithyouraudio.



Youwillalsofindawheelchairworksespeciallywellonmoredifficultsurfaces,

suchascarpet,grass,anddirt.



1.17.3.StealingfromaBaby

Ifyouhaveachildinthefamily,youmorethanlikelyalsohaveababystroller.

Dependingonthetypeofstroller,youcanalterittoholdyourcamerawhileyou

pushthestrolleralong,recordingyourfootage.Sinceeachtypeandmodelof

strollerisdifferent,youwillneedtoevaluatethesituationtodeterminethebest



methodtoattachyourcamera.Ihavefoundjoggingstrollerstobethemost

versatileandeasiesttoworkwith.Figure1-30showsaCanonXL1camera

attachedtoajoggingstroller.

Figure1-30.Usingajoggingstrollerasadolly



Thereareagreatnumberofotherpossibilitiesforcreatingyourowndolly.Some

peoplegosofarastocreatetracksoutofPVCpipetoguidetheirdolliesalonga

givenpath.Whateveryoursolution,youandyouraudiencewillappreciatethe

lookadollyshotprovides.



Chapter2.Light

Section2.1.Hacks1725

Hack17.CompileaCheapLightingKit

Hack18.LightwithWorkLights

Hack19.UsePaperLampsforLighting

Hack20.AddDiffusiontoaCamcorderLight

Hack21.TakeVideoinTotalDarkness

Hack22.ShootaGreenScreenImage

Hack23.ShootClearlyThroughaWindow

Hack24.ReflectLightfromaShade

Hack25.UseClothespinsLikeaProfessional



2.1.Hacks1725

Lightingisimportanttovideo,especiallyifyouaretryingtocreateamore

professionallook.Eventhoughyoucaneffectivelylightascene"naturally"by

usingwhat'savailable,ifyouusespecifictechniques,youcanbringoutdetails

(oravoiddistractions)inyourfootage.Bestofall,youcanlightmostscenesfor

verylittlemoney.



Hack17.CompileaCheapLightingKit



Puttogetherabare-bones,super-cheaplightingpackagefordigitalvideo.

Asmostofusknow,lightingiskeytocapturingagood-lookingimage.While

preparingtoshootanindependentfilmonlocationinThailandandCambodia,I

realizedthatmostofourgearhadtobecarriedonourbacksaswemovedfrom

locationtolocation.IknewIwasgoingtobelightingmostlywithstandard

lightsandusinganyavailablelightsourcewhenpossible,soIneededaportable

andhighlyfunctionalkit.



2.2.1.GatheringtheKit

ThailandandCambodiabothuse220-voltcurrent,soIdecidedtobuymostof

mylightingelementsinBangkok.BeforeIleftLosAngeles,however,I

purchasedthefollowingitemsatagreatplacecalledTheExpendablesRecycler:

3/4fullrollof12"blackwrap(blacktinfoilusedtoblockoutandshape

light)

CTO(colortemperatureorangegel)

CTB(colortemperaturebluegel)

ND(neutraldensitygelin0.6and0.8)

FullBlue(avividbluegel)

Diffusion(both216andopal,withopalbeingmoretransparent)

Gaffertapeinbothblackandwhite(astrong1"clothtape)

Abagofclothespins(usedtoclipgels,diffusion,andblackwraptolights)



HerearetheadditionalitemsIfeltIneededtohaveinmykit,butdidn'tbring

withmeduetothedifferenceinvoltage:

Twoclamplightswithflexiblenecks(thekindyoucanclamptoyour

bedpostforreading)

Twodimmers(tocontroltheamountoflightcomingoffthelights)

Apowerstrip

About100feetofextensioncords

Additionaldimmerstocontrolanyadditionallights

Youshouldbeabletofindalloftheseitemsatahomeimprovementstore,such

asHomeDepot.Unfortunately,therewasn'taHomeDepotinBangkok,butIdid

managetolocatesomeinasmalllightingshop.Figure2-1showsthelightingkit

initsfullglory.Thebluecontainersontheleftareextensioncords(25feet

each).

Ihavefoundcertainextensioncords,designedwherethecordcoilsupintothe

caseofabout7inchesindiameter,areeasytotransportandstore.Everythingin

thekitcanfitintoamedium-sizedbackpack.



2.2.2.UsingtheKit

Obviously,lightingislightingandusingakitisamatterofplacinglightsas

needed.Buthere'sanexampleoftheversatilityofthiskit.

DuringtheshootinCambodia,Ineededtolightashowerthatwaslocatedonthe

secondstoryofabuilding.Iwasplanningonbeamingbothclamplightsthrough

arowofglassblocksrunningaboutshoulderhighintheshower.TheproblemI

hadwasthattherewasnowayofclampingthelightstothewalloutsidethe

shower.



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Hack 16. Roll Your Own Dolly

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