The Feeling of Motion

There should be relative motion between the camera and actors in a moving or stationary but simulated moving vehicle, especially on a rough road. If the camera is hand held, on a camera car or separate vehicle there will be some movement. If you use a long lens too much movement can be distracting. A perfectly smooth shot will look fake. It is hard to judge the right amount of motion in the eyepiece. Use a video assist monitor.

There are methods to give the feeling of motion where the actors don't move much around in frame but the camera moves in relationship to something close to the camera such as the window frame or the hood. If the camera can bounce on a vertical, spring loaded captive dolly or on a spring supported lever that pivots near the actors, a very believable effect is accomplished. It helps if you add extra bumps and motion to the shot when the road is smooth.

I have used both bungie supported vertical camera dollies and cameras on a pipes in front of the hood pivoted behind the actors in pickup trucks. I have also used the natural springiness of 1-1/4" 6061-T6 aluminum pipe. These methods need lots of testing and have the potential of wrecking cameras and vehicles if done wrong. Making and mounting vertical dollies is no small chore.

Vertical Captive Dolly

If you add bumps to a shot they should simulate real car motions. When a car hits a bump it has damped after shocks. Wait for a few seconds before the next bump, real or added. I have asked experienced drivers to hit bumps of the right size and to avoid the ones too big that would bounce the camera and rig too much. With less than very experienced drivers on rough roads, the car should be towed or carried on a process trailer.

You can test different mounts with a video camera with weight added to equal a film camera. Many video cameras do not have as wide-angle lenses that equal what you might shoot drivers with. Consider wide angle attachments.

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