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Practicing for a Train Run

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Great Pumpkin, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. Great Pumpkin

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    The Union Pacific RR plans to move its 70 year-old "Big Boy" locomotive sometime this spring from Colton, California, to Cheyenne, Wyoming, for a multimillion dollar restoration. A friend will take ground video and I intend to take video with my P2V along part of the route through California. He will then splice his takes with mine to make a video story.

    We went out into the local mountains this past weekend to practice and to see what problems we would have. The wind was gusting enough that I was very hesitant about flying, but it was calm often enough and long enough that I said, "Oh what the heck". I hovered at 8-10 feet for about 5 minutes and the P2V tried valiantly to keep its position within about 5 feet during the gusting wind, which I'd estimate reached as much as 15 mph. I was sufficiently satisfied with its performance in the wind, confident that it wouldn't fly away, and sent it up to about 50 feet with the idea that I would merely yaw over a point and film Ken's car as he drove along the road. As you will see and hear from the video, we'll have to hope it is not windy on the day the locomotive makes its move.

    But the purpose of sharing our video here is to elicit your comments on what we might do better during the rest of our practice sessions and for the final video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot-2Bva6w4o
     
  2. LandYachtMedia

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    Here is an idea for a shot. This will require permission from the railroad to do. I recommend getting a phantom with a gimbal if you can.

    A much more dynamic shot (if you can get permission to fly over the track and the train) is to start with the train approaching and as it passes do a pan and fly diagonal across the top of the train (with the diagonal in the direction of the trains movement), as you move away and more in front of the train you can again pan to show the length of the train then stop to hover in that position and let the engine pass you again.

    Shot open - Phantom ahead of the train but pointing at the engine. Phantom rotates with the engine as it begins to pass.

    First move - Phantom moves diagonally across track a couple of cars behind the engine after it passes while panning to keep the engine in the center of the frame.

    Ending move - phantom adjusts speed to overtake the train after crossing and passes the engine while continuing to pan on it. As the phantom overtakes the train from the side and keeps panning the rest of the cars are revealed. The phantom slows to allow the train to overtake and pass alongside. When the phantom slows stop panning and let the train pass from a stationary position. You can add some drama to the shot by lowering the phantom slowly as the train passes.

    I created a quick shot blocking diagram to better explain the idea. This won't be the easiest shot to get but it will look great.

    If you have multiple locations to shoot you maybe can shoot a simple one and save this one for later.

    Edit - forgot to add the file. :roll:
     

    Attached Files:

  3. laselvasurf

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    You need a gimbal! :) Practice makes perfect... I've done quite a bit of "tracking" shots with everything from surfers to trucks to mt bikes. It's really quite a challenge! For smoother shots, I'd make sure not to be in GPS mode, let the copter move with the wind. Try to time it out so the drift helps your shot. GPS mode makes too many micro adjustments that don't translate into smooth video, even with a gimbal.
     
  4. OI Photography

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    +1 on all those tips

    ...and I'd also like to see you pull off the shot Hiway described ;)
     
  5. LandYachtMedia

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    I hope he is willing to try it.

    Do I have a new nickname I don't know about?? :?
     
  6. OI Photography

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    Only in the imaginary world I was obviously in when I wrote that :roll:

    Sorry about that LYM! I'd just read a post of his right before that and obviously didn't clear my braincache afterwards.
     
  7. laselvasurf

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  8. Hiway

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    Glad I came in after this was all worked out- because I was really lost until I read the follow up posts.
     
  9. OI Photography

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    "...and he shall appear" :lol:

    I promise it wasn't my intention to confuse either of you...but probably only because I didn't think of it first lol.
     
  10. iversens

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    Those are amazing videos from Big Sur! Did you try flying under one of the brigdes on HWY 1?

    I assume you have all seen this DJI contest winner video of an old train. Pretty amazing shots.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWedSayZ64A

    Chava
     
  11. Great Pumpkin

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    Thanks to each of you for sharing your ideas, advice, and videos. I had seen the Chama and Toltec winning video and will be watching it frequently to get some of the manoevers down to practice. The video of Big Sur is really instructive. I'm watching for a gimbel that will accept my Vision camera. I use the camera almost entirely for still shots, and I am very satisfied with its results without a gimbel.
     
  12. gordhunt

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  13. Lee C

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