Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Inexpensive Remote Camera Set Up

No pictures to go along with this post yet, but they will be coming soon.

So, you want to shoot some remote shots this summer of baseball or soccer, maybe some track and field but have no clue how to do it? Well you can for around $10,000. Whoa....I know what you are saying. "I thought this was suppose to be inexpensive!" Well, just wait. The ideal remote set up would be a 1Ds series camera, a lens (depends on what you shoot), a floor mount and ball head, triggering wire, pocket wizard, maybe a dust cover or rain cover. You want the 1Ds series for the wide angle. Low angle shots look great with a wide angle lens. Just think of a camera right at the back of a soccer goal capturing a laid out goalie reaching for a ball with the shooter and defenders in mid action, or a long jumper taking off from the line exploding for a huge take off. Set it up, prefocus, hook up a pocket wizard, set up in your normal shooting position and fire away. Shot comes up in your remote location, grab the pocket wizard and trigger the camera. Bam. Easy, huh?

So you do not have $10000 to drop on a remote set up? about around $1000? Less than that if you already have a second camera in your arsenal. Taylor this to your own needs, but this is what I am am using for a remote camera set up.

One Digital Rebel Xt. Not a full frame camera, but it is small, light, and cheap as DSLRs go. For a floor mount, I am using of all things, a small wheel barrow wheel. Wal-Mart sells these for about $3. I picked up the axle bolt that goes along with it for about $1 more. This bolt just happens to be the same size as a camera tripod ball mount socket. 1/4". put this together and you have a pretty sturdy mount for a camera at about 8" to 12" off the ground. On the Rebel, depending on the sport, I will mount a 17-40 up to a 70-200 lens. You could get away with using the 10-22 EF-S lens if you have it. Ok. The camera is, how do I trigger it? I am using single channel radio slaves I got from ebay. Spent about $30 on them. They are not the best, and now come in 4 and 16 channel versions. The receivers are about 3.5" long and around 1.25" wide and run on 2 AA batteries. Plug the phono plug into the miniplug adapter and plug that into a miniplug to 3/32 miniplug adapter. Now prior to hooking this to your camera, you need to make sure your camera is set up to shoot. Shoot in manual (hand held meter is handy to set exposure) have the camera set to "burst" mode and set the focus. Put the lens into MF mode. Now, plug the 3/32 plug into the cable release port on the camera, and you are good to go. Not the range of a pocket wizard, but if you have the camera set up at home plate looking up to 3rd base and you are shooting from around 3rd base or 1st base, you should be able to trigger it no problem. Even though the camera is set to "burst", it will only shoot one frame each time you trigger it. Holding the transmitter button down will not keep shooting. However, if you are shooting with a second camera, and do not mind a lot of extra junk frames, put the transmitter onto your hotshoe and every time time you take a picture, the remote camera will fire. Now if you are shooting with a 1D series at 8fps and using a Rebel for a remote, for every 8 shots you take consecutively, the Rebel will only shoot at 3fps.

I will be posting some test shots this weekend. I will be using this set up for a special feature assignment. So more to come.

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