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Thread: Panning speed control

  1. Default Panning speed control

    I am very new to videography but decided this was the hobby for me and spent a fair amount on some kit as I thought if I dig my hand deep into my pocket I will be more inclined to knuckle down to the hobby proper!

    One thing I am very disappointed with is my inability to pan at a constant speed. I have a Canon XH-A1 and a Libec tripod, recommended by the retailer for the camera, it has a very smooth pan action, it's me that cannot maintain a constant speed / fluid motion. I slow and speed-up, slow down again and give the occasional jerk. I spent two hours yesterday trying to master this across a 160 degree pan.

    I've reached the stage where I am thinking of getting the old Dansette portable record player out and mounting the camera on that -after a small gearing change

    So, how did you learn to pan?
    Last edited by georgeksli; 05-24-2010 at 10:41 PM.

  2. #2

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    It's just a case of feeling the camera weight on the tripod handle getting use to how it feels. Try doing shorter pans at first, perhaps no more than 90o at first and when you've mastered that try wider pans.

    It really is mostly down to practise. I've been doing it for some years and I'm still practising.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the reassurance

    I wonder if anyone has actually made a device that motorises panning?

  4. #4

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    There are motorised panning heads but they are very expensive.

  5. #5
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    Two things spring to mind (apart from wondering whether a pan of 160degrees actually adds anything to your film )
    1. You should always set up for your final shot, and then twist to the starting shot. This will give you a better "feel" as you unwind your body and the camera comes to rest at your body's rest position.
    2. Loop an elastic band over the pan handle and pull that. This should (a) give you a nice smooth start and (b) smooth out some of jerkiness your hand movement makes.
    Tim

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TimStannard View Post
    Two things spring to mind (apart from wondering whether a pan of 160degrees actually adds anything to your film )

    Well, I like landscapes and seascapes which can, I think, benefit from a wide pan providing there is interest within such a wide area coverage - otherwise it gets boring and, as you point out, would probably be better split into narrower pans from different angles

    1. You should always set up for your final shot, and then twist to the starting shot. This will give you a better "feel" as you unwind your body and the camera comes to rest at your body's rest position.

    Yes did come to realise that after almost falling over to get the final swing

    2. Loop an elastic band over the pan handle and pull that. This should (a) give you a nice smooth start and (b) smooth out some of jerkiness your hand movement makes.
    Interesting idea, catapult the camera!!! I assume this technique works on the 'shock absorber' principle, I'll give that a go too

    Thanks guys for the info

  7. #7
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    A near perfect pan is VERY hard to do... i have been making films and inserts for broadcasting for a number of years and it can still be very difficult.

    The question i always ask myself is.... 'do i NEED to pan?'

    For me this goes for all camera movement Panning, tilting, tracking....

    It seems, to me at least, that it should be necessary.

    I would suggest that a film with really good still shots is or can be better than that of one with dodgey or just ok pans.

    The best thing to do if you are going to pan is practice, practice, practice and do it lots fo times for the one pan you need.
    If your on a shooot and even if you think 'that one looked good' do another couple anyway to be safe.


    Also
    *I would suggest NOT gripping the pan handel but just gently pushing it.
    *Find the end of your panned shot and KNOW where your going to stop.

    - Meats -

  8. Default

    Good advice Meats. It might be of interest to know my experience of trying to obtain the best pan possible. I was shooting at a WW1 war cemetery in France and wanted to pan 360 and 180 for maximum effect to bring home the vast number of graves in this cemetery.

    Being right-handed (not sure if that matters) but I tend to pan left to right, however I got two very good pans (I would say pretty much equal in 'quality') first by using my left hand to pan - and as Meat suggested just pushing with the palm of my hand. and again using my right hand but panning right to left (which I actually preferred in the final edit). Of course, I could have reversed that in post.

    Someone also suggested to me that I take a long cane with me (at least 3ft) and somehow attach it to the end of the tripod's pan arm then put your hand up against it and 'walk the pan' gently pushing the cane which in turn will turn the head. I did try it and providing there was enough foot-room, that also was quite successful.

    I personally have never had any success with the elastic band method.
    Last edited by castman; 05-25-2010 at 03:40 PM.
    __________________________________

    Castman
    Uses:
    Canon XH-G1
    Sony Vegas Pro 9e
    gallons of coffee

  9. #9

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    dont lift your hands off the tripod as soon as you've finished a pan. keep whatever pressure your applying there for at least ten seconds. Even just gently moving away can cause a slight judder at the end of a pan which can completely ruin it.
    If you do the same at the beginning of a pan you'll also have 20secondsish of still footage that you may find useful when you come to the edit.

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    Wise words Fuzzymuffin (were your Christened that name?) I have learnt the hard way that you MUST always shoot at least five seconds more than you intend at the beginning and end of a shot - even a still shot, it is amazing how, when you're there, you don't hear the baby cry, the dog bark, the ice cream man or even idiot shout "***ker" as he walks past!
    __________________________________

    Castman
    Uses:
    Canon XH-G1
    Sony Vegas Pro 9e
    gallons of coffee

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