L.A. Times photographer describes his Oscars GoPro "fail"
Sometimes, the most ambitious ideas don't work out. At the Academy Awards last week, Los Angeles Times photographer Jay L. Clendenin wanted to try something new—with a GoPro camera strapped to his forehead, Clendenin was going to capture a time lapse of the parade of movie stars down the red carpet.
His plans were foiled in the middle of the shoot when his GoPro lens got smudged and his "back up" DSLR kept getting bumped and blocked. With the help of his editors, Clendenin's photos were compiled to create a 1-minute, 26-second time laps video that captured some of the night's hottest stars.
Clendenin explained his "fail" on the L.A. Times photo blog:
At 5-second intervals, I started the GoPro shooting while we were in our hotel room at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in the Hollywood & Highland Center and let it run as I walked the path to my spot on the red carpet. Unfortunately, within 10 minutes of being set and ready to shoot on the carpet, the lens of the GoPro was smudged and for the remainder of the camera’s battery (roughly 2.5 hours), the pictures were unusable! A sad reminder to check, recheck and check again during this process.
On the bright side, my “backup” Canon camera did record the length of the carpet procession, so we could complete this multimedia piece. Sadly, this camera was “bumped” repeatedly, making the on-screen journey a bumpy one, forcing me to discuss a couple of important points where this time-lapse failed.
As any experienced time-lapse producer will tell you, you should have a very stable position for your camera. A good tripod is ideal, but when you can’t use one, then a stable, solid surface, possibly something to secure a super-clamp to. In my case, there was no such surface available (read: I was denied!) and I was left to mount a Bogen Magic Arm to a 1/2-inch barrier wall, at about waist level in front of me. Unfortunately, this wall was moveable, being continuously knocked by a line of photographers, as well as a roving video-cameraman who knelt below us throughout the three-hour period.
As this camera clicked away, it was repeatedly hit, causing slight changes in the view, which becomes jarring when 2,000-plus frames are edited together. One of the other key factors in a successful time-lapse is time. Not just the length of time gathering frames, but, possibly more important, time planning the idea. This year’s idea was hatched four days out. Had we approached the academy, say, four months prior, we may have been able to show several of our successful (space shuttle Endeavour, Carmageddon, SAG Awards) time-lapses and gotten our multiple-camera idea approved!
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