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Bequeath us this Gift, Oh God of Continuity

A shot recreation system for video and perhaps film cameras.
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Basically the idea here is to have a sensor on every point that changes a shot's positioning or appearance. That's every extension point on the tripod's legs, the vertical and horizontal angle of the head, and how high it's raised up. In the camera focus, f-stop, shutter speed, zoom, in-camera digital effects, Frames per second--any damn thing you can adjust. The coordinates of the tripods feet or the dolly could be recorded with a laser measure. Level would also be taken into account. Once you've decided on your shot, your settings for all those factors and anything I missed are saved to a file on a small hard drive located somewhere on the camera or tripod. This file is labeled with the time and date. A small jpg file of the first frame of the shot accompanies each file also.

(There are already tripods that hook up to the camera; I use a tripod that has a multiple speed zoom control that plugs in to my GL2).

These files could be stored on one's computer for later reference. Then if neccessary, one of these files could be loaded up on the camera and you could match up the tripod and camera's settings. Likely the camera's adjustment would be automatic.

This system would be invaluable for continuity in general and in the editing lab specificially. It would be possible to go back to the location and shoot more footage for a time-lapse effect or to recall the earlier scene--though that's merely the beginning of the possibilities. I know I could use it.

Eugene, May 20 2005

jennifer fenech http://www.ukscreen.com/crew/jfenech
Continuity Supervisor.
[ato_de, May 21 2005]

[link]






       Sorry 'bout that--when you're so fascinated with a subject you assume everyone else is also. Corrected.
Eugene, May 20 2005
  

       Hang on, weren't you wearing a green bow tie in the previous paragraph?
Ian Tindale, May 20 2005
  

       That seems rather uncalled for...
Eugene, May 20 2005
  

       So, record all degrees of freedom available to the photographer. How do you know where to set it down? GPS? Perhaps have a small camera on the tripod that takes three or four pics from seperate vantage points before taking the camera shot. 3D reconstruction could serve all the necessary calculations for tripod height, angles, and the elusive absolute position. [+]
daseva, May 20 2005
  

       Wouldn't a more useful variant of this idea be: record the nodal centre of the optics, as an exact three dimensional co-ord, together with pitch, yaw and the other one, with respect to the focal plane direction.
Ian Tindale, May 20 2005
  

       That's basaically what I'm going for, [Ian].   

       [Daseva]--I guess I didn't make it clear--that's what the laser measure and level is supposed to be for. But your idea works just as well. It's all about absolute recreation, the details don't matter.
Eugene, May 20 2005
  

       I like the idea, I'm just a little slow and have trouble seeing how a laser and level will give you reliable coordinates for centering the tripod, and for relaying the exact location of those coordinates.
daseva, May 20 2005
  

       //then I got confused about the tripod thing and dark clouds began roiling in my mind...//
Oooolaaaaahhh!!
gnomethang, May 20 2005
  

       you need Jennifer Fenech
ato_de, May 20 2005
  

       There are systems for doing this and that can even recreate, with exacting precision, camera motion during a given shot. They're called motion control rigs and they generally also record shutter angle, lighting control commands, frame rate (exactly) and can operate both in real and non-real time. Both the British Mark Roberts (Cyclops) and the American Tondreau systems are world-class examples of motion control systems.   

       Smaller systems like the Ultimatte Memory Head precisely record camera motion, placement and camera attributes within a smaller set of variables.   

       There are also software systems that can, with visual analysis of a given set of frames, yield the exact focal lengths, exposures and film plane or imager locations in 3D space in relation to a known target coordinate in the images. These systems are known as "camera matching" systems and are typically used to recover physical camera coordinates and attributes in a scene so that the setup can be used to establish a theoretical camera for generating synthetic 3D CGI elements to be believably added, or composited, into a physical scene. This data can be used, however, to re-establish a physical camera's position and optical attributes, with great precision and they have been used for insert work during post-production to remedy a broken shot. Premier systems include those written by Real-Viz, Side-Effects (Houdini) and others.   

       Finally, cameras like the Z-Cam record meta-data, on a per-frame basis, that contains, in addition to the optical attributes, the 3D data about the physical environment of that which is being shot. Again, this data is typically used for synthetic, or virtual, set work but can be reverse-engineered to establish real-world camera placement.   

       Of course, none of these are exactly like your proposed system but are merely existing methods used in the quest for visual continuity.
bristolz, May 21 2005
  

       OK, so it exists already. Good to know, I'll make use of it someday. When I have the huge lumps of money these systems require of course.
Eugene, May 22 2005
  

       Well, you can build a motion control rig yourself, you know. There's lots of people who have at the hobby level. As robots go, they're fairly simple and there are lots of resources out there.
bristolz, May 22 2005
  

       Out of interest, is GPS useful in this scenario?
Ian Tindale, May 22 2005
  

       Even though I had no idea what you were talking about, it sounds pretty good to me. Too bad it was already invented.
hobbitcoat, May 22 2005
  

       Eugene's method is quite different from the ones I mention and mine haven't any geographical reference.   

       EXIF does provide fields for GPS coordinates but that is a still format, generally, save MJPEG.
bristolz, May 22 2005
  

       About the laser measure and level--it's just my crude notion for a way to recreate the actual position of the camera and tripod. GPS would be useful, yes--but the GPS units I've seen aren't as accurate as would be preferred. At least if the GPS position was recorded you'd be reminded of the exact location in which you shot. Well, almost exact.
Eugene, May 22 2005
  

       GPS is accurate to within about 15m. It could remind you of where you took the shot, but you'd need some finer method to be really reproducible.
Detly, May 23 2005
  

       It gets more accurate the longer the receiver is left in one place.
bristolz, May 23 2005
  

       Ah. I asked a pilot. Not something you can do in a plane.
Detly, May 23 2005
  

       Where do you usually ask a pilot a question?
bristolz, May 23 2005
  

       Well... they were wearing the uniform.   

       A uniform, anyway.
Detly, May 23 2005
  

       A uniform? So they could just have easily been a janitor?
Nice idea [Eugene]. I don't know enough about the subject to get technical but it all seems pretty good. Confusing title though. Didn;t know what to expect but definitely wasn't expecting this.
hidden truths, May 23 2005
  

       Well, it's just that as an editor it's your job to clean up any continuity breaks in the movie, and this would help that out in a major way. Also, recording all of that information would help you put it together in the first place. Poorly labeled footage is an editor's bane. You need all the notes you can get.
Eugene, May 23 2005
  
      
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