You are viewing an archive of the old fxhome.com forums. The community has since moved to hitfilm.com.

Any ideas for first person Camera shots?

Posted: Tue, 8th Dec 2009, 6:34pm

Post 1 of 25

nuyawk

Force: 1000 | Joined: 7th Feb 2007 | Posts: 24

VisionLab User Windows User MacOS User

Gold Member

Hey all - looking to make a short where the main character is in the first person. I've shot things like this before but this one is different meaning that I'd need the main character to use BOTH hands and to be able to see them on camera (ie: rifling through a desk, papers etc.)

Similar to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IU_reTt7Hj4

Any ideas? I've seen the helmet cams they use in sports like skiing, mountain biking but the camera is such a low quality it would look pretty bad one filtering etc.

I'm beating my head against the wall over here trying to figure this out. Went to BH Photo and dudes told me that those are custom rigs, designed and built by the studios... I'm not so sure about that.

Any help you be appreciated!
Posted: Tue, 8th Dec 2009, 6:40pm

Post 2 of 25

Fxhome Dude

Force: 996 | Joined: 1st Jun 2009 | Posts: 927

CompositeLab Pro User FXpreset Maker FXhome Movie Maker Windows User

Gold Member

How big is your camera? Could someone be behind your actor holding the camera in from of head/eyes?
Posted: Tue, 8th Dec 2009, 6:53pm

Post 3 of 25

nuyawk

Force: 1000 | Joined: 7th Feb 2007 | Posts: 24

VisionLab User Windows User MacOS User

Gold Member

Wes the fxhome dude wrote:

How big is your camera? Could someone be behind your actor holding the camera in from of head/eyes?
I have a pretty big camera (Xl1)but it's being sold and for even a smaller camera it could get real ugly during the scenes when the actor is running. The DP would actually have to run at the same cadence/speed as the actor (making it look really stiff especially when stopping/starting)and he'd be unable to move spontaneously because his head would more than likely hit the camera. sad
Posted: Tue, 8th Dec 2009, 7:01pm

Post 4 of 25

Fxhome Dude

Force: 996 | Joined: 1st Jun 2009 | Posts: 927

CompositeLab Pro User FXpreset Maker FXhome Movie Maker Windows User

Gold Member

Try holding it on the actors shoulders.
Posted: Tue, 8th Dec 2009, 7:20pm

Post 5 of 25

pdrg

Force: 5405 | Joined: 4th Dec 2006 | Posts: 4143

VisionLab User Windows User

Gold Member

It'll be a mix of techniques - running with a rig will look a different kind of crappy from running with a DoP, but it'll still look pretty dodgy I expect.
Posted: Tue, 8th Dec 2009, 7:29pm

Post 6 of 25

Fxhome Dude

Force: 996 | Joined: 1st Jun 2009 | Posts: 927

CompositeLab Pro User FXpreset Maker FXhome Movie Maker Windows User

Gold Member

pdrg wrote:

but it'll still look pretty dodgy I expect.
Story of my life...
Posted: Wed, 9th Dec 2009, 2:11am

Post 7 of 25

TheOutlawAmbulance

Force: 931 | Joined: 16th Dec 2008 | Posts: 938

EffectsLab Pro User VideoWrap User Windows User

Gold Member

I think this build is exactly what you're looking for. Not sure if you're cams too big though. Try it out:
http://www.indymogul.com/post/5149/wesleys-weekly-how-to-the-helmet-cam
Posted: Wed, 9th Dec 2009, 9:01am

Post 8 of 25

Simon K Jones

Force: 27955 | Joined: 1st Jan 2002 | Posts: 11683

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 5 Pro User MuzzlePlug User PowerPlug User PhotoKey 3 Plug-in User FXhome Movie Maker FXpreset Maker Windows User

FXhome Team Member

I'm not sure whether helmet cam would actually end up looking like a proper first person view.

Might be better to film it 'normally', from head height, and have two separate actors performing the hand motions. ie, one person standing to your right performing the 'right hand' and one on the left performing the 'left hand'. It's going to be slightly awkward still and look very bizarre to anybody watching you shoot, but it could work.

Obviously you'd need to make sure both 'arm actors' had matching costumes!
Posted: Wed, 9th Dec 2009, 9:23am

Post 9 of 25

Aculag

Force: 8365 | Joined: 21st Jun 2002 | Posts: 8581

EffectsLab Lite User VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

Agent 702 wrote:

Try holding it on the actors shoulders.
For a couple examples of this technique in action, see here and here.

As you can see, unless you spend some time perfectly coordinating your movements with your actor, it's going to be pretty hard to get a good result with the "hold it on their shoulder" technique. Some kind of mount would be a much better option.
Posted: Wed, 9th Dec 2009, 3:43pm

Post 10 of 25

nuyawk

Force: 1000 | Joined: 7th Feb 2007 | Posts: 24

VisionLab User Windows User MacOS User

Gold Member

Sweet. Thanks guys (and gals?) - good ideas here. Looking forward to putting something together. smile
Posted: Wed, 9th Dec 2009, 5:45pm

Post 11 of 25

Arktic

Force: 9977 | Joined: 10th Nov 2003 | Posts: 2785

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 2 Pro User FXhome Movie Maker FXpreset Maker Windows User MacOS User

SuperUser

Rating: +1

I disagree about needing a mount. It'll work out costly and, imho, will need a LOT of work to get it looking good.

Unless you're using a bullet-cam with a fixed focal length, you'll need a proper operator to accurately line up the shots and pull focus etc. And the quality of footage from a bullet-cam will never tally with the footage from your main camera.

If any of you are familiar with the UK comedy 'Peep Show', then you'll know that they shoot it entirely first person - and very little of it is achieved with rigs and minicams.

Check out this behind the scenes video - the way they the majority of the show is by having the camera take the place of the actor, who just ducks his hands into and out of shot at the necessary moments. It takes time and a lot of rehearsal, but you can get it looking very smooth. For shots where you need the actor to use both hands, just place the camera on their shoulder and look 'down' at their hands. It's not practical for all shots (i.e. anything where you need to move the actor any significant distance) - but for shots where they're rifling papers or whatever, it works just fine. You just need to think through what shots you can achieve with just the camera, and where you'll actively need both hands from the actor, and then from that, work out where your edit points are.

Oh, and bear in mind that whip pans are great ways of doing 'invisible edits' between the two filming styles (which is something that Peep Show makes use of a lot).

Hope that helps!

Cheers,
Arktic.
Posted: Wed, 9th Dec 2009, 11:32pm

Post 12 of 25

TheOutlawAmbulance

Force: 931 | Joined: 16th Dec 2008 | Posts: 938

EffectsLab Pro User VideoWrap User Windows User

Gold Member

Near the middle: Do you think the helmet-cam will work with an HV20?
Posted: Wed, 9th Dec 2009, 11:52pm

Post 13 of 25

The Chosen One

Force: 1449 | Joined: 5th Jun 2005 | Posts: 449

VideoWrap User Windows User

Gold Member

You could make a cheap mount using stiff wire and wood, something like this
Please forgive the crude mouse drawing...lol

Posted: Thu, 10th Dec 2009, 12:08am

Post 14 of 25

B3N

Force: 3081 | Joined: 26th Feb 2006 | Posts: 1534

VisionLab User VideoWrap User FXpreset Maker Windows User MacOS User

Gold Member

The problem with that idea, The Chosen One, is that it's going to be filming at chest height not head height so you'd end up filming everyones chest instead off their heads. Do the Peep Shows technique or even get your actor to completly tilt thier head and rest the camera on their now tilted neck. Works a treat. smile
Posted: Fri, 11th Dec 2009, 12:40am

Post 15 of 25

NitroBob

Force: 90 | Joined: 5th May 2006 | Posts: 45

Member

We did this once, a few years back. Mounted a small security camera upside down to the brim of a hat, and fed the signal into a camcorder. Worked very well.

Video is here, under First Person Shooter Hat.
http://www.detonationfilms.com/Cheap_Tips_and_Tricks.htm

These days, for the same price we spent (about $200) you could get one of those mini-HD video cameras like the Flip Mino or the Kodak Zi8 and do the same thing at much better quality. A simple 1/2" long 1/4-20 screw inserted through a hole punched in the brim will allow you to screw the camera upside down inside the brim via the tripod mounting hole, slightly to one side so only one of the actor's eyes is covered by the camera. It will now "see" what he sees. Turn it on and shoot! The video will be upside down, but you just turn it back upright in post.

We discovered the head is a natural steadycam -- the shots garnered this way are amazingly smooth. Someone should really just go ahead and build an actual camera designed to be worn like a hat, with the components balanced around the hat instead of just all strapped to one side or the front.
Posted: Fri, 11th Dec 2009, 3:34am

Post 16 of 25

nuyawk

Force: 1000 | Joined: 7th Feb 2007 | Posts: 24

VisionLab User Windows User MacOS User

Gold Member

NitroBob wrote:

We did this once, a few years back. Mounted a small security camera upside down to the brim of a hat, and fed the signal into a camcorder. Worked very well.

Video is here, under First Person Shooter Hat.
http://www.detonationfilms.com/Cheap_Tips_and_Tricks.htm

These days, for the same price we spent (about $200) you could get one of those mini-HD video cameras like the Flip Mino or the Kodak Zi8 and do the same thing at much better quality. A simple 1/2" long 1/4-20 screw inserted through a hole punched in the brim will allow you to screw the camera upside down inside the brim via the tripod mounting hole, slightly to one side so only one of the actor's eyes is covered by the camera. It will now "see" what he sees. Turn it on and shoot! The video will be upside down, but you just turn it back upright in post.

We discovered the head is a natural steadycam -- the shots garnered this way are amazingly smooth. Someone should really just go ahead and build an actual camera designed to be worn like a hat, with the components balanced around the hat instead of just all strapped to one side or the front.
Brilliant. I likes... did you ever finish the film?
Posted: Fri, 11th Dec 2009, 5:04am

Post 17 of 25

NitroBob

Force: 90 | Joined: 5th May 2006 | Posts: 45

Member

Oh sure. It was just for a spoof commercial. Here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aq4OUc6HI0c
Posted: Fri, 11th Dec 2009, 10:52am

Post 18 of 25

Arktic

Force: 9977 | Joined: 10th Nov 2003 | Posts: 2785

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 2 Pro User FXhome Movie Maker FXpreset Maker Windows User MacOS User

SuperUser

That's pretty cool NitroBob - it does look pretty awesome!

I do think, however, that using a fixed-lens camera like a bullet cam or similar will give you poorer quality images than carefully choreographing the sequence with a camera operator and an actor - for example, at several points in that test shoot, the focus is on the hands and the gun rather then the object / person in the distance. And the quality you get from a minicam almost certainly won't match the footage from your main camera - so if it's to be cut into a longer film, I think it might stand out as looking particularly poor-quality; unless, of course, that's a particular effect that you're going for.

Just my humble opinion! Oh, and I loved the use of the Doom music, btw! wink

Cheers,
Arktic.
Posted: Fri, 11th Dec 2009, 10:34pm

Post 19 of 25

NitroBob

Force: 90 | Joined: 5th May 2006 | Posts: 45

Member

Oh sure. That was all we had to work with at the time, and of course it was supposed to be a videogame spoof anyway, so the video noise was part of the "style." But as I said, I'll bet you can do much better these days for the same price with the new gear available. Hell, just a flat stick with a tripod mount on top could be clamped in the actor's teeth, allowing you to use something like a Lumix T25, which takes awesome video in a small package. In fact, I have one -- I may go try that. smile
Posted: Sat, 12th Dec 2009, 1:00am

Post 20 of 25

NitroBob

Force: 90 | Joined: 5th May 2006 | Posts: 45

Member

Rating: +3

Heh. Works pretty well, actually.

http://www.vimeo.com/8129137
Posted: Sat, 12th Dec 2009, 1:16am

Post 21 of 25

Arktic

Force: 9977 | Joined: 10th Nov 2003 | Posts: 2785

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 2 Pro User FXhome Movie Maker FXpreset Maker Windows User MacOS User

SuperUser

That is amazing! +1
Posted: Sat, 12th Dec 2009, 12:45pm

Post 22 of 25

The Siege

Force: 196 | Joined: 21st Feb 2007 | Posts: 445

Windows User

Member

You might want to check out the VHoldr Contour 1080p. It's a small helmet cam that can film up to 1080p. Only con is that you lose most of the manual control.

http://www.vholdr.com/contourhd/helmetcam
Posted: Sat, 12th Dec 2009, 3:50pm

Post 23 of 25

pdrg

Force: 5405 | Joined: 4th Dec 2006 | Posts: 4143

VisionLab User Windows User

Gold Member

That's excellent, you kept it nice and fluid movements too which added to the effect, NitroBob smile
Posted: Sat, 12th Dec 2009, 5:27pm

Post 24 of 25

The Chosen One

Force: 1449 | Joined: 5th Jun 2005 | Posts: 449

VideoWrap User Windows User

Gold Member

Thats great, cool idea.
Posted: Sun, 13th Dec 2009, 6:22pm

Post 25 of 25

nuyawk

Force: 1000 | Joined: 7th Feb 2007 | Posts: 24

VisionLab User Windows User MacOS User

Gold Member

NitroBob wrote:

Heh. Works pretty well, actually.

http://www.vimeo.com/8129137
A damn cool idea.