Movi on a Skateboard?

Discussion in 'Movi Technical' started by Rorick Edge, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    I’m thinking about purchasing a skateboard to film from. The idea is to sidestep the walking issue by using wheels. Surface will be NY sidewalks and streets. No fancy moves, just using a skateboard much like a manned dolly. Looks like I need a cruiser board with fairly large, soft wheels and good bearings.

    An electric board is much more than I’m prepared to spend, but it appears that I can pick up a suitable skateboard for US$160-$200.

    Has anyone tried this? Comments/suggestions?
     
  2. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    Go to YouTube and look up Casey Neistat. He probably is the best New York skateboard/boosted board pioneer and has something like 9 million + subscribers.
     
  3. John Chu

    John Chu Active Member

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    (Still thinking about the Steadicam operator on a Segway in the Olympics crashing into Usain Bolt.)

    How long of a duration walking tracking shot are you planning to do? Footsteps generally aren't that noticeable and especially if you are using a wide lens and following a subject? And as I have alluded to earlier, I cheat by adding Stabilization in Final Cut Pro X on clips that I have failed on.

    Maybe, Freefly will introduce a consumer version of their rovers? Kind of like a telepresence robot?
     
  4. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    Hi John,

    For long clips you need an electric board. This recent Freefly video, shot from a Boosted Board with a Movi, is a good example. However, the board costs US$1400 (see the Note below re the new Boosted Mini).



    I’m fine with a manual board because I envisage using it for short clips, both manned and as a ground level camera support. I’d like to avoid software stabilisation. I’m also not keen on lenses wider than 24mm (35mm equivalence). Besides, it looks like Apple may change its lenses, in the phones that will be announced in three months, to a three lens arrangement, so for me this is not the time to be purchasing third party lenses.

    I’m about to visit a local skateboard shop with a good rep to have a chat about what might work, and I’ll follow up.

    Note: The new Boosted Mini is still US$750. It has no flex, which apparently affects its ability to smoothly handle bumps. This is being glossed over in YouTube “reviews”, which I take with a grain of salt anyway. For example, Boosted Board and “reviewer” Casey Neistat appear to have a business relationship. Indeed, the Boosted Board website, under the URL blog.boostedboards.com/partners/casey-neistat (note the word “partners”), describes him as a “collaborator” and “advisor”.
     
    #4 Rorick Edge, Jun 20, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
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  5. John Chu

    John Chu Active Member

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    I sort of looked at a Steadicam Vest plus Arm deal (I can pretend to be Vasquez in Aliens) on eBay. but doesn't make sense for I'm doing as a hobbyist. Yes, that boosted board seems amazing for use in tracking shots.

    I also thought about an old office chair or wheelchair as a possibility.
     
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  6. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    I've now ordered a board, and I'm going to share some details as others may find them helpful.

    I called LandYachtz, one of a number of well-regarded longboard/cruiser board makers. Their head office is in Vancouver, B.C., but they also have a facility in Los Angeles and a good number of dealers in the U.S. in addition to Canada. I ordered direct, and shipping to New York, the order being over $100, will be free.

    I explained that I know little about skateboards, that I’m 1.8m/6’ and 91kg/200lbs, and that it is important to me to be able to use the board with a gimbal. The gentleman with whom I spoke, who was extremely helpful, recommended their Switch 40 longboard: http://landyachtz.com/us/boards/downhill-freeride-series/switch-40-owl

    This video explains the board's characteristics and talks specifically about the 40" version at the 2 minute mark:



    For filming, LandYachtz recommended, in addition to a longboard rather than a cruiser board, that I change out the Switch’s standard 70mm wheels for 73mm wheels and the standard trucks for a pair that were all of $4 more, and that I add a pair of 1/4" risers (also $4) between the trucks and the deck to help with damping/vibration absorption.

    There are definitely cheaper options, but I think that the guy that I was talking with knows what he's talking about, and he did not steer me in the direction of options (things like high end trucks and ceramic bearings) that would have meaningfully increased the cost.

    Looks like fun, but I won't be using the board this way in the near future:

     
    #6 Rorick Edge, Jun 20, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
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  7. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    I should add that while I have purchased a board from LandYachtz, I was also intrigued by DB Longboards from the State of Washington.

    This video, in which DB promoted its cruiser board with a video about filming someone on the board, caught my attention:



    Laid back but slick.
     
    #7 Rorick Edge, Jun 20, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
  8. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    Update...

    On its web site, Land Yachtz quotes 3-5 business days before shipping.

    I ordered Wednesday afternoon. My board, with custom modifications, left Vancouver on Thursday and cleared US customs in Seattle before noon today (Friday). It is now on its way from Seattle to New York.

    The more that I read/watch about skateboards, the more I realise that Land Yachtz gave me good advice, given my lack of experience and how I intend to use the board. Differences between board styles and hardware details appear to be quite a bit more complicated and significant than I realised.

    I think that there is a very real safety/personal protection issue, but I have gear from another sport that will work fine. As I gain experience, I’ll adjust the level of protection.

    I’ll be updating this thread once I give the board + Movi a try.

    If there’s anyone here who has used a board with a gimbal, I’d really appreciate her or his comments on making it work.
     
    #8 Rorick Edge, Jun 22, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018
  9. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    UPS had a delivery screwup (what they call an “exception”), so I don’t get the skateboard until Monday.

    In the meantime, Freefly has uploaded a video to YouTube as part of its great six week “learn the Movi” series that includes behind the scenes info on using a Boosted Board with the Movi:



    Definitely watch it. However, not having US$1400 - $2000 to drop on a Boosted Board (nor, as a motorcyclist and cyclist, believing that one can use one safely in New York City, where I live) I’ve been looking at YouTube videos that involve using regular skateboards for filming.

    I’m especially impressed with videos uploaded by a young Belgian named Hans Wouters. He is a skateboarder himself and films skateboarding, but I think that there is a lot to be learned from his videos about using a skateboard for general filming. His channel is at: https://www.youtube.com/user/LongboardsBE
     
    #9 Rorick Edge, Jun 30, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  10. James Hillstrand

    James Hillstrand New Member

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    Sweet man, I like this idea. We'll just finish installing the new rack and tonneau cover for kayak mount on the truck and I'll plan for skateboard filming as well. DB really did a great job there. Can't wait to see your works, Rorick. Have fun
     
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  11. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    Yes, their video has a really nice visual rhythm, plus inherently some good tips on how to use a board for filming.

    My longboard arrived this afternoon. It looks like a work of art, which is mostly going to make me feel guilty when I start scuffing it up.

    Apparently you’re supposed to have 13 year old friends who know all about assembling boards, because it came with zero instructions.

    Twenty minutes on YouTube addressed this, with the caveat that one needs to know that the trucks for this board, as for longboards generally, are mounted in the opposite direction to the trucks on a standard skateboard.

    First trial tomorrow. My principal objective is to avoid a visit to my local ER.

    If you see a guy in Queens wearing a motorcycle helmet, gloves and leathers on a skateboard, it’ll be me :)
     
    #11 Rorick Edge, Jul 2, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
  12. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    I survived.

    This is going to work and I think it’s going to take maybe an hour a day for a week to get comfortable with basic cruising, which is all I need.

    I think I know now why the standard Boosted Board is 38”. Very, very happy that Land Yachtz told me to go with a 40” longboard. It does a lot for confidence due to the board’s inherent stability and the wheels’ large contact patch, and the consequent ability to handle rough bits on the street/sidewalk.

    Plus, it’s fun.

    Looking forward to using it with the Movi.
     
    #12 Rorick Edge, Jul 4, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
  13. Zach Nagle

    Zach Nagle New Member

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    Dude, buy a Onewheel today.
     
  14. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    Hi Zach,

    I think that I’d buy a full size Boosted Board if I was prepared to spend ~US$1500.

    For the moment, a manual longboard, at about 17% of the cost of a Boosted Board or OneWheel, works for me.

    One of the things that I’m discovering about a manual longboard is that it can be used in ways that go beyond “skateboard” mode. For example, you can pull it, push it and sit on it, which adds a number of camera motion possibilities. I’m also going to try putting a piece of plywood on the board, large enough to fit the feet of a tripod.
     
    #14 Rorick Edge, Aug 3, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2018
  15. Deniz Ozgoren

    Deniz Ozgoren Support Mage
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  16. Dylan Glockler

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    I’ve been riding a onewheel
    around NYC for the last month and every time I ride down cobblestone streets or hit a patch of gravel or have to pop off the sidewalk into grass or ride down a wooded trail, I think about how any other board couldn’t really handle any of that. Oh, and I don’t have to fuss with a remote. My hands are busy enough with the MŌVI.
     
  17. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    Meanwhile, a OneWheel, depending on power and battery life, costs US$1400 or $1800. That is six or eight times the cost of a highly spec'd manual longboard by a top maker.

    I'm just getting a bit tired of the relentless pressure to spend serious money on gear that has questionable returns.

    Watching this video shot from a manual longboard, I have trouble understanding why a OneWheel is superior other than for really, really long tracking shots:



    Or this video, which is about shooting video from a manual board:



    And as I said a couple of posts up:

    One of the things that I’m discovering about a manual longboard is that it can be used in ways that go beyond “skateboard” mode. For example, you can pull it, push it and sit on it, which adds a number of camera motion possibilities. I’m also going to try putting a piece of plywood on the board, large enough to fit the feet of a tripod.​

    Like you, I live in New York. You can count the number of cobblestone streets (they are actually Belgian block, not cobblestone) on two or three hands. If you do a search on YouTube, you'll find that longboards don't have a problem with irregular surfaces, including gravel. That's the point, in part, of big wheels/a large contact patch. Woodland trails in New York City? Really? Not to mention, what electronic remote?

    Hey, it's great that you enjoy your $1400/$1800 OneWheel. They’re all the rage among YouTube "influencers", and I don't doubt that it's a fun toy. But, you know, manual skateboards have been used successfully as a film platform for a long time, long before electric boards were invented, and they are a fraction of the cost.

    P.S. That first video was shot by a young Belgian longboarder named Hans Wouters. If you want to get a sense of how a longboard can be used in filmmaking, his videos are well worth watching.
     
    #17 Rorick Edge, Sep 23, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
  18. Dylan Glockler

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    Sounds like you've already made up your mind...I'm not really trying to sell you a OneWheel. Yeah I'm a fan, because I live on a boat , don't own a car and I ride mine almost everyday - it's been far more useful and fun than any car I've had. If there's only a few cobblestone streets in NY, then so-be-it, but somehow I'm constantly finding myself on those streets - I guess because i'm staying at Chelsea Pier and they are in this area. Cobblestones aside, the street maintenance around here is pretty bad - been nearly taken out by two inch deep potholes numerous times. And yeah, woodland trails in NYC - central park - northeast corner near the blockhouse. Great riding trails.

    I've also ridden a manual longboard, quite a bit actually, and I love em. I think with practice you could get some good shots and at a fraction of the cost, though, speaking practically, not as the fanboy that I admittedly am, the control and precision you can get on a OW is far superior. You simply can't stop and start and change directions on another board, hands-free, without any movement on the upper body. The examples you sent are awesome - great work, but they're all skate vids, where the operator is moving in a single line, following another skate board. If you're doing something other than skate vids, something requiring stops, starts, etc, I think you'll find limitations. I can't see getting good control on a shot from full stop to motion having to kick a manual board.

    I hear you though on the relentless push to buy buy buy. Drives me crazy too. I'm playing the gimbal upgrade game right now - just sold my Zihyun Crane 2 for $280, paid $600 a year ago, but the joystick was just never granular enough for decent control and of course useable, single-hand replacement gimbal is, again, over $600 and I need something more mobile than my MOVI.

    I use my friend's fashion model in determining if things are worth it. She does a 'Cost Per Wear' analysis. She can buy a pair of discount jeans she doesn't really like for $50 and wear them once because she hates the way they look and the cost per wear is $50, or spend $300 on a pair she likes and wears them 3x a week for a year and her cost per wear is $300/(3*52) = $1.92/use.

    I've ridden my OneWheel over 500 miles since I got in June. That Cost Per Use is dropping fast.




     
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  19. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    Hi Dylan,

    Very helpful, balanced comment on the OneWheel. If I get to the point where I need the kind of precision that you're talking about, I'll consider one.

    The DB Longboard video that I posted above (second video) shows the guy with the camera making a lot of his shots with knees bent, quite low on the board. Can this be done on a OneWheel? If not, how would you get low shots, a longer grip to the camera?

    "the street maintenance around here is pretty bad - been nearly taken out by two inch deep potholes numerous times".
    Hey, show some appreciation. Our good Mayor spent $1.6 billion last year reducing the number of potholes to a mere 210,000. New York risks losing its title as Pothole Capital of the World.

    As a matter of curiosity (I've spent a fair bit of time ocean sailing), and if I can ask, what kind of boat are you living on?
     
  20. Dylan Glockler

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    You can definitely do that same kind of crouch with some practice, though an extended camera mount or low-mode, capable with most gimbals works well - just depends on how low you want to go. Those guys are accomplished skate/filmmakers from the look of it - they have killer skills to get those shots so well.

    We're on a 72-foot trawler with sails. One of a kind deal. The sails are intended to add range, the original designer estimated he could push the range from 4700 nautical miles to almost 6000 with the right winds. It really only sails in a solid down-wind situation, so we haven't had much opportunity to try it.

    There's more info on our blog wanderingwanderbird.com

    We're at Chelsea Piers if you want to try out the OneWheel sometime - like any board, it takes some practice and it's hard to even find a place to try one out. To be honest, I haven't even used it on a set yet. The last film I shot, a few weeks ago, was in Washington and the OW XR has too big a battery to fly with, otherwise I would have taken it along and probably used it a couple times with my MOVI.

    Right now I'm debating the DJI Ronin-S or waiting to see how the Zhiyun Crane 3 looks. I definitely feel I need an ultra-portable gimbal living on this boat. The MOVI is too much for me to carry around and I want to be able to gimbal my a7s ii. If FreeFly had a light gimbal that could support a mirrorless I'd probably aim at that - I do love their equipment and commitment to cine gear, even if it can be cost prohibitive. I've had the m5 for years and still use it regularly.



     
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