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Kaspar Kamu

Wheelchair rigging

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Dear all,

I'm shooting a teaser/proof of concept for a larger commercial in a few weeks. The budget is virtually zero but we're getting sponsorship here and there. 

I have a question regarding the opening shot. It begins with the camera traveling over the pavement in at relatively high velocity. The camera comes to a halt and the camera slowly tilts up to reveal a young boy beaten, bruised and bloody from skateboarding.

I'm thinking of rigging the camera somehow onto a wheelchair which would provide us with relatively smooth shots. I still want to retain some level of organic shakiness in order to emulate it being the POV of a skater. We'd still have to create some kind of rig with a tripod head which would allow me to tilt up at the end of the shot. 

What are your thoughts? Would you do it differently? 

Thanks in advance! 

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Hi Kaspar,

I recently executed a similar shot using a wheelchair as well. You should expect some shake if you mount the camera on the wheelchair because the pavement will most likely not be smooth. But since you are going for a skater's POV, it should be an acceptable amount, as you said yourself. On no budget, I would go with the wheelchair too.


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Kubrick is the go-to man for this, but his rig was very much more than just a wheelchair- there are plenty of photographs of it. In the absence of track, smoothness depends on the surface, not just the vehicle.

Edited by Mark Dunn

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I use wheelchairs all the time, with hand held camera. Steadicam + wheelchair is better, but you can get some great shots with just the chair. The biggest problem is that you need something to stabilize the camera as even on very smooth surfaces, it's still tricky. Sometimes if the ground is super smooth, you can put your feet up on the chair and hold the camera tight. Other times it works better to just shoulder the camera. Either way, it does work really great. 

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