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This weekly course covers the most common questions videographers encounter when shooting and editing with DSLR cameras, from choosing a frame size and frame rate to understanding moiré. Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman will also help you understand the impacts of compression and the difference between cropped (or micro 4/3rds) and full-sized sensors in cameras, and much more. This continual FAQ guide is a handy way to find the answers to the questions that plague you the most.
Rich, you only have to log on to Youtube, and Vimeo, and places like that and watch, you know, just search for DSLR and if. Oh yeah. And the one thing you're going to see is a lot of nice, smooth, lateral movement this way and some. It's like one giant infomercial for sliders. It really is. And the thing about that, that look of sliding movement has become really, really popular. I think it's really effective. In my personal opinion, in some places it's not really motivated to just kind of get the camera in motion. Yeah. It doesn't really sort of, you know, serve to tell a story.
But at the end of the day, the technique and the tools used to achieve that sort of look and that feel to the camera movement are pretty straightforward. And the first tool that I want to talk about is the basic non-motorized, non-robotic slider and we have one of them right here. Yep. And this guy's pretty simple. All it really is, is a couple pieces of metal that have some sort of nuts here so you can, sort of lock down the feet to the sort of surface that you're on. There is a little bit of a mounting plate right here. Yeah, you can put this on the top of a tripod. Which some people will, like, well, if I'm using this? Why, you know, why would I have a tripod and this? Well, a lot of folks just put this on the tripod itself.
Yep. And they'll just do simple movement like, you know, push slowly in to the subject during the interview or track a little bit side to side. Sure, now of course you can mount the camera directly on to the slider plate itself. What actually a lot of people tend to do is actually put a fluid head on the slider itself. So that way you can actually have a handle to sort of motivate that movement. As well as if you need to, do tilts and additional. Well, why don't we actually revisit using something like the DNL here. Exactly. So I'll just go ahead and put that on there and screw that into place and this is a great way that you can get the best of both worlds.
So why don't you attach the camera. Yep. We'll loosen that up there. There we go. Put the camera on top. There we go. Put and attach the thread. There we go. So, once you've attached that, it works really well. You can use this to give you a arm to grab. And so as you see here, as Rob moves side to side, he's got an easy handle, and, you know, he's got the tilt on that. But if he locks that down. Becomes pretty simple to just do a side to side movement, and the camera now tracks. Now realize this a lot of movement. One of the things I like to suggest is don't put this actually parallel, but put it at a slight angle to your subject.
Mm-hm. And so now as it's moving, because it's going backwards, as it moves back here it's going to feel like it pulls back. Now, we have a little too much weight on this particular one. Right. So it's bobbling. So you just gotta find, there we go, found the smoothness. Now, the cool thing about this too, Rich, is that these actual sliders come in different lengths. I would consider this length, you know, a two foot length, to be almost like a travel size. Yeah. You can get them in three, four foot sizes so depending on how much lateral movement. Now, keep in mind too that we've been going laterally here, but there's nothing saying that you couldn't point things around. Yeah.
And do pushes in and then pushes back out. Now this is a non-motorized non-robotic one. Yeah, and one like this will start in the $250 to you know $400 range. Uh-huh. You start getting the robotic ones, especially if you wanted to control the camera for something like time lapse, and you're getting into the $1,500, $2,000, $3,000 range. Yeah, for the, for the, for the robotic ones certainly. I mean there are motorized ones where you can use some sort of off slider controls to just sort of dial in the speed, and it's truly a mechanical system.
But you're right Rich, there are some out there that allow you to actually program the movements in a cam in a computer. So you can say start here. End here, and you can combine that also with robotic re-motorized heads. You can do crazy, I mean, crazy cool movements, it's really neat. Yeah. But I still think at a couple hundred bucks, an addition like this can be a nice thing to just give you some flexibility. Notice there we could just push the camera in slowly, to our subject. Yeah. Pull out to reveal a bigger scene. Yup.
You know, so there's lots of options here. Wide ranges of prices. But I do want to say that I think sliders have gotten more play than maybe they should be. People have bypassed something that's traditional, that's been around forever, Absolutely. That works incredibly well. And often costs a lot less money. And that is this guy here. Yeah, now I. A dolly. Yeah, you look at this and you go, okay, it's a piece of carpet on some skateboard wheels. Yeah. But you're right that's exactly what it is. It's a piece of plywood with some carpet and some skateboard wheels, but this is nice.
Instead of moving the camera, sort of in and out or laterally like this, we're putting in, maybe a tripod or a hi-hat, or even on bigger platforms here. Maybe you're actually even sitting on the dolly itself. Yeah, Dollies come in a wide range of sizes. This is an entry level one that's less than 200 bucks. You just get some PVC piping from the local hardware store. If necessary you could splay it, spray it with Pledge so it's got a little bit of a smoother surface. And then the camera could just float all day long down that pipe. Now of course you can go for a traditional dolly with track.
There's all sorts of these ones out there. The big thing is you step up to that level, I would say you want to get into the situation of renting. If you go to a grip house, you could rent dolly and track, you can get curved track, you can get track of any length you want. You get the dollies that are designed for people to ride on them and be pushed by somebody. So the camera operator can actually operate the camera while someone pushes them. But this type of dolly here that we see, for a couple hundred bucks is a great addition to almost anybody's kit. And the camera could then fluidly slide in the shots, you can walk it, you can walk right next to the camera and push it in.
We've used this on music video shoots, we've used this in corporate shoots. This, in my opinion, is actually a lot easier and a lot more flexible than that. Although, I'm probably backpacking with that, and I'm not going to really lug this up the side of the mountain. Can I put this in the carry-on bin? Yeah, no, no. And I think with any of these techniques, whether it be a slider or a dolly, the thing you really have to do is practice these movements. These are not just movements that you all of a sudden put the camera on a slider or a dolly, you know. You just go, oh wow, I have a perfect shot. You know, the best people, and you know, the best DPs, and the best cinematographers in the world, and the best, you know assistants and grips really practice these moves.
So I think it pays off if you're doing a slide move, or if you're doing a dolly move. To practice or to rehearse the shot a few times if possible. The other thing I would mention is that in my opinion, less is more. You know what I mean, Rich? That oftentimes you'll be tempted to have these nice huge. Mm-huh. Sweeping movements. But at the end of the day, that might be distracting. You'd be surprised how much just a little bit goes. Yeah. Especially for situations like interviews, right? Sometimes I won't even do it during the interview, I'll just use it between questions to quickly move the camera to a new position.
To re-frame, right. Yeah. Exactly. Now, one of the things we've left out that's critical. We've talked about file of focuses on an earlier episode. I've got a file of focus gear. If you're moving the camera in and out, you need to pull focus. Yeah. Which generally goes back to the rehearsal. You're going to, on the file of focus, mark it. If you don't have a file of focus, here, you could actually see, novel idea, it's got feet and meters. Oh, okay, I'm starting at three feet, and I'm pulling the camera back. And as I get to ten feet, I better be on the ten foot focal mark otherwise my shot's out of focus. Yeah and it, it may, it does, you know in, in more complex setups.
Where you're having dollys that are being ridden. And you have bigger cameras and that kind of stuff. You do have to practice all this. Because not only is, it's sort of rehearsal of the technique. It's sort of a choreography of the people involved. Yeah. The director, the DP, all my crew. Right. It's don't trip over me or don't punch me in the face. Yeah, exactly. I mean, sometimes when I'm on set as a director, I've got a hand on the back of people or I might be pushing the dolly. So these movement shots, the big thing to take away from this is really two fold. One, it's a lot about the equipment. And the more complex the equipment, the more likely you're going to have two, three, even four people involved. True.
In pulling off that shot. And lastly, practice, practice, practice. It's not unusual when doing one of these moving shots to do 10 or 15 takes if you just want to get two or three good ones in the can. Alright. Well, from lynda.com, my name's Rich Harrington. And I'm Robbie Carmen. Thanks a lot for joining us.
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