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07-20-2011, 12:05 PM   #1
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panning smoothness

I tried some searches but I couldnt think of a way to describe my problem, so I though I would try here.

Link to video

I shot this with my K5, in video mode but with aperture priority.

My problem is with the opening shots in the intro. The panning seems "jittery" I cant explain it with a better word. The tripod was super smooth, so I think this is some kind of artifact from frame rate and shutter speed.

I think I shot it at something like F3-F5 (used my tammy 28-75f2.8) and it was bright, so I imagine my shutter speed was pretty fast (probably 1/200 or faster) I didnt have an ND filter or anything at the time and I wanted a fairly shallow DOF.

But my intuition tells me that fast shutter speed combined with the modest frame rate is causing the strange stutter in the panning shots. Am I correct? And so if I used an ND filter to slow the shutter speed down (while keeping my shallow DOF) I could smooth this out? Im just thinking ahead at what gear I might want to buy to improve my video. Is there a way to know what the shutter speed and ISO is when shooting video? I think the K5 keeps the ISO at min levels until the shutter speed reaches a minimum level but how do I know what it is? If I go the ND route I am tempted by a set of rails/Matt box etc... but before I do that I think I want to make a crane/jib and maybe a slider dolly. None of that is going to do me any good if I cant figure out how to smooth this all out.

Additional info: Recorded on a quality class10 card. Video was edited in After effects. Saved as a Windows Media file to keep the size down (but using maximum bitrate). Tilt shift/ time lapes scene was made using a series of still images (taken with small jpg settings) and the fake tilt was a selective lens blur applied using a gradient as a depth map in after effects.

07-20-2011, 12:42 PM   #2
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If you're up to acquiring more gear, this inexpensive motorized panning head is nice to have. It will handle the weight of your rig just fine. Just be sure to have some lead-in footage when you start the pan because it has an initial jerk when it starts (hence the cheap price).

Have you done a search on panning with dSLR? It seems to be a common problem and compounded when compressed for web display. But it sounds like you need 60fps and really slow pans to improve it.

Have you tried running the footage through a steadicam filter in your video editing software if you have that feature?
07-20-2011, 12:51 PM - 1 Like   #3
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you know what it looks like, it looks like the SR was trying to stabilize the image but you were panning. So, it kept trying to stabilize, and gave up, then tried to stabilize, and gave up..over and over. Did you have the SR enabled for that shot?
07-20-2011, 01:08 PM   #4
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After I posted it I kept reading around the subject and then it struck me that I may have left SR on when I did that pan.

Im going to experiment with it when I get home under similar conditions and then see if that makes a difference.

I wish we had 60p as an option too, I think I was shooting 720 at 25. I wouldnt mind if 60p was limited to 720.

I tried to pan slow enough to reduce the "jello" effect but I wasnt prepared for this jittering. The SR very much could be the culprit though, I was kind of excited that day and wasnt thinking things through very carefully - it was actually my first time shooting a video that I really cared about. Also I noticed later that the SR - on/off option is seperate for video and stills. That takes some getting used to because with the K10D I had a nice little switch on the back so it was right there and super obvious.

07-20-2011, 01:11 PM   #5
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do you have one of those motorized panning heads? I think that looks cool but how fast can they pan (maximum and minimum speeds)? I know we are talking about a fairly slow pan here, but in combination with a slider or a crane you could make some really cool shots with that if you could control the speed.
07-20-2011, 01:19 PM   #6
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I have that motorized pan head in that link. It pans up/down and left/right either independently or in combination (using the remote accessory) . It is variable speed and it would be ideal if it panned just a little slower on its lowest setting. It's fastest panning speed is pretty fast. I've yet to use at its top speed.
07-20-2011, 03:49 PM   #7
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I was just about to say, it looks like the SR was left on. As you move, it's trying to correct it, then it gets too far off, gives up, and jumps to where the camera actually is. Then tries to fix that...
07-21-2011, 05:16 AM   #8
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well I tried again last night in my yard, in similar conditions. SR didnt seem to make much difference to be honest, but when I closed down the aperture to about F10-F14 (to get the shutter speed to come down) it smoothed out a lot.

So I suppose this really means I ought to get a handle on some ND filters, I probably ought to get 77mm to fit my biggest lens and then some adaptor rings to fit the smaller ones.

07-31-2011, 09:07 AM   #9
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At the pan speeds in the video, I would have expected to see quite a bit of rolling shutter effect. Are you using any sort of filter or app to reduce the effect?

- Jason
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