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Chris Lange

Techniques for filming on a moving bus?

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I would like to film inside a moving bus (small bus, driving on smooth streets) with a Red Epic and achieve fairly-stable shots (not bumpy or jerky).

 

I will test handheld and a tripod. I'm actually okay with smooth handheld feel if I can pull that off. I might try strapping the camera to sandbags or beanbags, to seats or dashboard.

 

I have not used a Movi - would that be worth testing in this scenario?

 

Do you have any camera operation or technology recommendations for this?

 

Thank you,

Chris

 

 

 

 

 

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I wouldn't spend money on a movi if I were you. In a confined space like that, the tripod can go anywhere a gimbal would go. I would try weighting down the tripod with a sandbag.

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What part of the Bus.. there usually isnt room for a tripod anyway.. maybe in the front area.. if you can take seats out also maybe.. but all the bumps will just go straight through the legs to the camera.. at least handheld your body will absorb some .. I would try an easy rig just to alleviate fatigue .. depends what look you want too I guess.. HH or not..

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I will have shots all over the bus. Easy rig might serve me well too. Thanks.

 

 

Should be ok for sitting level shots.. standing you might hit the roof of the bus.. not sure your budget but on a film like United 93 they had a rail set up along the middle of the plane (set) and had a sort of bungie cable sliding rig.. this might work if you have the time to rig it/take seats out.. etc..

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That's an interesting concept. Thanks for sharing. Not sure if we need it that elaborate, though I definitely see the merits of that kind of rigging.

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well I guess buses usually have rails or straps or something for standing passengers .. it you dont need "dolly" shots maybe some sort of bungie rig from these..? .. but there again if your sitting then an easy rig is probably just easier :)..

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A lot of city busses are more like subways in the rear third of the bus. With seats that face to the side rather than the front which is more of a Peter Pan/Greyhound type setup.

 

So depending on the script, I'd go for that setup if you have a choice. Cause you can shoot coverage on sticks with a lot more freedom and you won't have to worry about filling the bus with a ton of extras.

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The tripod should give lot of vibrations. Something like an easy rig or similar variants will be better. Even completely handheld with just a barebones camera and lens would help.

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Adrian,

That was a really sweet commercial..! The only flaw is that the dog didn't get to dance. Then again, if it had....Actually, as is, with just the idea of the dog wanting to join in, was bang on..

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Is there any more input on this topic, maybe from @Chris Lange after the project?

Will have to shoot in a moving bus as well. The moving part is mandatory, because there's no way (or shall I say budget) to VFX/project the moving outside.

My approach would be a non-handheld-one if I could decide, but reading this thread it might be the only chance. The gimbal issue would be that it might compensate to much for actually wanted movement, e.g. the bus while cornering.
I also thought about hard rigging, but the issue would always be vibrations. Tricky business.

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I have shot Steadicam on moving busses with success.  Even on very bumpy roads.

I this case, the bus shakes, but the view outside the window doesn't, and I really like this effect as it is very close to the way we perceive the bus ride with our own eyes.

The drawback is that there isn't always enough room for a Steadicam on a bus, and sometimes one needs to remove seats to make room.

I would think that a hand held electronic stabilizer can accomplish the same effect, but in less space. And I would investigate this approach.

I would also bring along some battery powered LED lamps to hide in the bus to help with lighting the people.

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When I did this, I actually just walked around on the bus with an easy-rig.  For more stability, I would pull the camera towards a seat edge or seat top (it was a school bus).  This worked pretty well for that project.  Sometimes I would use a tripod in the middle of the aisle as well.  A key is to drive on smooth roads.

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