If you’re a sports fan you may have seen TV cameramen scuttling down the sideline, following the action with their camera mounted on a framelike contraption which is itself supported by a body harness. That’s a steadicam, a device designed to absorb the ‘bobbling’ motion imparted to the camera by the cameraman’s own movement. The result is smooth, almost floating, footage. If you’ve ever walked with a full cup of tea (anyone?) you’ll appreciate the challenge of keeping that liquid surface motionless.
I recently purchased a small steadicam, scaled down for my camera. What a fiendishly frustrating device! Right up there with the rubber frypan!! However, just the tool for transitioning the camera between ‘scenes’, or rooms in the house.
Have a look at the ‘walk-through style’ video below which consists mostly of steadicam sequences, along with a dashboard intro!
This one was worth arriving early for. Sun streaming in, heron stalking the water’s edge and the ‘bloop’ of little fish breaking the surface. Technically the challenge was to avoid distracting reflections in the windows, and mitigate the light fall-off into the room. Before the addition of two flashes, the right side of the room was seriously dark!
By ‘harm’ I mean situations in which wonderful things COULD happen. Dan May took this awesome shot at Whangarei Heads, NZ. He had tramped up to a high ridge overlooking the ocean where he camped the night and was awake at dawn to enjoy the interplay of light and weather.
Oh, and he had a camera on him!
This morning (5am!) I took part in a video conference call with 3 other photographers who are all at different stages on the video-for-real-estate learning curve. Participants were located in Melbourne, Seattle and N.Carolina. I mean…how great is the intenet…really! To be able to share ideas with such immediacy accelerates learning enormously. But THEN the nerdy-squares pulled out their iPhones and began comparing photography-related apps; a light meter, a database of lens characteristics, an almanac providing sun position at any address at any date and time (great for predicting the best time to photograph the street side of a home). I gotta git me one of them thar phones!
I’ve been having this little philosphical battle with myself – whether to back into a corner and shoot as wide as possible (in my case 12mm) so as to show as much as possible, or to zoom in some and capture more intimate scenes. Here are 2 shots illustrating the extremes…
Of course the answer is simple. Provide what the client wants. But there’s no harm in providing both and perhaps gently pointing out the pros & cons of each.
Scott Hargis ably illustrates them here. Briefly, overly wide shots stretch and exaggerate the size of objects near the foreground edges of the frame while reducing the apparent size of things near the centre. They make useful ‘documentary’ shots, recording the relationship and flow between rooms, although they can make a room look much larger than it is (a plus?). ‘Tighter’ zoomed shots are useful when one wants to capture the lifestyle value of a space – the feel of sitting in a couch while gazing out to the garden for instance.
Scott Hargis is an architectural and interiors photographer based in San Francisco, and has been a prime source of inspiration and ‘how to’ methodology for me as I’ve developed as a property photographer. Scott has made two trips out to Australia to run interior photography workshops, one of which I attended in a display home on Bribie Island. This video is from his own blog. Amongst other things, Scott points out good reasons why you shouldn’t always shoot as wide as possible.