Lil' Tony's Videography Hobby

Tips, tricks, insights, and inspirations for anyone interested in videography. No real "expertise" here, just JoeSkater with a JVC miniDV camera. But JoeSkater with a desire to make better home movies than JoePublic.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Not a Slacker!

OK OK OK . . . so I haven't touched this blog since April... but if you read the Concretins blog, you know why. However, after getting many comments on the StreetGrip in action-from pro skaters even, and pointing people here with address cards, I guess I should get busy. I'm not ready to post a real update just yet, but again, I have NOT given up on this blog... I've been busy! I need to do a short vid for this weekend, and I will try to get the pics of the other grip builds done at the same time. Thanks for not yellin' at me.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Slow going...

So I started the videography blog with good intentions of "finishing" it with all 3 current builds, photos, and even videos within a week... "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." Right? But just thought I'd let whoever might be watching for these that I have NOT forgotten about this. Lots of things going on now and in the next 2 weeks with the Concretins, computer/IP service upgrades, Thunder Over Louisville, and then a Tucson trip... So perhaps by Derby Day, I'll have something here to brag about. No promises. But you get what you pay for!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The StreetGrip

The StreetGrip:
Every time you see a camera guy in skate videos, you see that they have really nice cameras (XL or GL whatevers). Well, I don't, and don't have the money to get one. One of the biggest practical differences between their cams and my JVC generic is the handle on top. That would make filming all kinds of things SO much easier. During all of my "stabilizer/jibarm/boom" searches, I have never found a DIY for such a handle. So here's mine! Perhaps the first of the web! It is a super simple design using PVC pipe. This rig is super light and super CHEAP! Even if it does look extremely cheesey. But it's the footage that counts, right?

This is not a comprehensive DIY. This is a straight forward build. (ie: Cut your pipe using a hacksaw, use a drill for the holes... duh...) Just look at the pics and you can see how simple this rig really is. You certainly need to measure your camera and adjust your pipe lengths as needed. Be sure to do a "dry fit" before you permanently glue anything.
For a JVC-or cam of similar size and shape:

(4) 5" pvc pipes (1/2" diameter)
(1) 6" pvc pipe
(2) 2 1⁄4 pipes
(5) elbow joints
(1) T joint
(2) endcaps
(4) little screws
(1) thumbscrew ("quarter 20" standard cam mount screw)
(1) washer (fits with thumbscrew)
(1) 3 1⁄2 x 7 wood slat (strong craft wood will work
just fine)
(1) rubber band
PVC primer and glue
Electrical tape (cosmetic addition)
Craft foam

This grip breaks down to 4 pieces for more compact storage. You can substitute whatever with whatever you feel is appropriate(or available). The T-joint is actually optional and you can build this with a 6th elbow joint. The first one I built did not use the T-joint and did not break down (I glued every joint). It's still getting enthusiastic use by fellow skater and vid enthusiast, Skid-S. The T-joint will allow the addition of a sun shade over the lense. (Haven't constructed that yet.) While the rig does appear to offer some cam protection, I don't suggest using it as a protective cage really. You could build a more extensive cage I suppose, but that's not the purpose of this rig, nor this blog.

It is important to glue the joints that hold weight vertically, so your camera can't drop away from the handle. Depending on how often you assemble/dissassemble the rig, it may be necessary to eventually glue all of the joints. The other joints should be ok with a tight fit, as long as your not flinging the thing around. (If you are, your footage will suck anyway, and your building this to prevent suckage, right?)

Glue the 2 upright components. (2 elbows and one 5" section each) I also glued the handle component (6" pipe, elbow, T, and both short pipes). (Note: I added some grip foam-the kind that goes over old 10-speed bike handles-before I glued the handle together. For comfort and more importantly, style.) Predrill then attach the platform centered on the 2 remaining 5" pipes. Measure where the cam mounting screw hole should be for your cam and drill it. Glue end caps on the platform pipes (double check which corners!). As you can see, I added more craft foam for a bit o' cushion between the cam and the platform, I just used double sided tape - not a super bond, but as long as I don't fuss with it, it ain't going anywhere. I also wrapped electrical tape around the uprights, again, more for style than anything else. (It hides all the construction printing on the pipes.) Tada! Your StreetRig puzzle is ready for assembly. Oh, the rubberband is to hold the thumbscrew in place when the cam isn't mounted.

The correct (easy) assembly order is: 1) connect 1 upright to platform, 2) connect handle to THAT upright, 3) connect last upright to handle and platform simultaneously. To mount the cam, I hold my cam upside down in one hand and place the rig platform (upside down) on the cam, line up the holes and insert the thumbscrew. There you have it... a simple, lightweight, cheap handle for your cam. Now go practice with it and get better footage of your friends skating (or whatever).

Saturday, March 18, 2006

It starts...

Everyone has a camera today. People record what they think is cool. The problem is they don't think about other people actually watching what they recorded. I do. There are way too many tips & tricks out there for anyone to NOT attempt to take better video footage. I'm not saying mine is fantastic, but yea, it IS better than JoePublic's home movies. Unless it's a really good or important tip, I'll try not to regurgitate all the other info I found on the web, 'cause you can find it just like I did. (And I think it's lame when you see 15 different links to the SAME info.) But here you will find my favorite ideas, stuff I've created, learned, built, etc. in regards to videography as a "hobby." I'll mention some generic film terms here, so I'm assuming anyone interested in this blog has at least some basic knowledge of videography - all I know is what I learned from my own web searches. Your tips and comments are welcome here as well.

My video hobby began on a trip to NewZealand. I read so much on what to do and not do before the trip that I am pretty satisfied with the results of our vacation video. So many vacation and home movies suffer from "shoulderitis" stemming from people holding their cam like everyone else and not using it like a movie camera. Next time you watch tv, and see a cool shot, especially in movies, think about where the camera is. How is the that image being recorded? How can I use that technique the next time I'm filming? Watching tv really can be some of your best research. Watch the behind the scenes clips on DVDs. (Lately, I've been watching CashCab on Discovery. Watch for the shots of the cab and people from the OUTSIDE of the cab. Every once in awhile, from the inside cameras, you'll catch a glimpse of the chase vehicle and/or cameraman through the windows. Think about what THAT guy is doing, and your next home video footage will dramatically impove.)

Oh, and just so you know what I'm working with - I have a JVC (GRD90) Camera. A fairly common run of the mill JoePublic video camera. I've added the 4 hour battery, as well as a wide angle and 2x zoom lens to the mix. I rarely shoot skate stuff without the wide angle. It just looks better IMO.

Hope this blog helps you in your videography endeavors.