Race cars in action on the track with 8K camera stabilisation and smooth moving shots.
Autumn 2017, Poznan and Bednary, Poland
PSNC film crew in cooperation with two other companies did an 8K experimental shooting on Racetrack Poznan and at an old military airport in Bednary. The choice was made on the racetrack, mainly because one of our Polish broadcasters was shooting “Automaniak”, a Polish version of well known TV show “Top Gear” and they brought a few nice cars which we could use for our experimental 8K shooting with big gimbal installed on the follow car. During two day shooting session mainly sports car were filmed, but also professional cyclists were caught “on tape” during their training.
The preparations for this shooting started when one of the local rental company asked us if we are interested in cooperation in tests of the newly released gimbal – Movie XL. They bought this gimbal and wanted to test it in action with a really big and heavy camera system. The Sony F65 camera with Canon 30-300 lens fits perfectly for this purpose. First tests were made only with the gimbal and camera alone – hanging on truss construction in the studio. After successful testing next step was to find an appropriate place and event for shooting and the TV realization of “Automaniak” on Poznan Race Track was an ideal opportunity.
In order to realize the follow car shooting scenario three main components were required:
- Specialised car adapted for carrying and controlling film cameras
- Strong enough gimbal with specialised spring arm for camera stabilization
- 8K camera with long zoom lens and complete remote control
Starting with preparation on the shooting day it turned out that the camera was even bigger than expected so we needed to detach the battery and place in elsewhere on the gimbal. The overall weight of the camera with gimbal was about 40-50 kg.
After mounting and integrating all devices the joint-crew started to chase behind sports cars. It turned out that the sports drivers had to drive in “walk-speed”, because 120km/h was the maximum safe speed for the heavy loaded camera car with equipment and operators inside. Three operators were needed for full camera control and one driver. The camera crew are:
- Cameraman who operates the gimbal as a remote head (pan, tilt, roll) and also lens zoom
- Focus puller who constantly monitors the image sharpness
- Camera assistant who takes care of all other camera functions and record triggering
The next day was even more intense because the camera car changed to an off-road vehicle. It was driving along a start lane on an airport on bare grass. The car was a custom made vehicle which upper construction was a roll-cage. The gimbal with camera needed to be mounted to that construction. There was also only space for two people, so one driver and camera operator. To make it more interesting this vehicle had no windscreens and drove over 100km/h in bare terrain.
After two days of shooting all equipment survived without any loss or damage, did an excellent job and all objectives of the tests have been met.
Many nice shots were gained and a lot of parameters were tested (mainly stabilisation of heavy camera system and remote control). The weather conditions were perfect and the quality of recordings from Sony F65 8K camera allows to produce not only SDR but also excellent looking HDR content.
Finally the clips were released in uncompressed 8-bit TIFFs, 12-bit DPX and also encoded with SpinDigital Encoder to h.265 with 300Mbps bandwidth.
FollowCar UHD Preview, 7680×4320, 2:30
List of Equipment
8K camera – modified SONY F65 + 4x 512GB SR memory cards
Zeiss 28-80mm T2.9 Compact Zoom CZ.2 Lens zoom lens
Canon CN-E30-300mm T2.95-3.7 L SP zoom lens
Fujinon Cabrio 19-90 zoom lens
Digital Juice Spyder Pod car camera mounting
Orah 4K 360 video camera
Sony BVM-X300 color reference monitor
Chrosziel Magnum + Alladin wireless lens control
Movie XL gimbal
Eryk Skotarczak – Camera assistant, edit, color correction, coordination
Leszek Nowak – assistant
Maciej Stróżyk – assistant
Mirosław Czyrnek – coordination
Credits, special thanks