Building a turntable for actors
January 20, 2010 9:55 AM Subscribe
I plan to put 3 actors on a 6' wooden turntable (which I will build myself) for a video shoot. Have you done or seen something like this before? Is my turntable design workable? Is there a better/simpler/safer way to do it? Details follow.
posted by Artifice_Eternity to Media & Arts (20 answers total)
I'm planning a music video shoot that involves sequences of stills that create the effect of the camera "orbiting" around the actors. This will be shot against a greenscreen, with background imagery being added in post-production.
At first I was planning to keep my actors stationary, and move the camera around them. But I was concerned that doing so many different camera setups would create choppy, inconsistent results. This is ultra-low-budget, and will be shot in a very confined space, so a camera dolly and curved track is not really an option.
The solution I'm looking at now is putting the actors on a turntable, and simply rotating it slightly for each shot. (Again, I'm shooting sequences of stills, not continuous video.) I think this would ultimately be simpler in terms of camera setups, lighting, greenscreening, etc.
Here are my plans:
- The table will be 6' across. I figure I can build it from a couple layers of wood planks, with the top layer attached at right angles to the bottom one. Alternately, I might have the 2 layers of planks parallel to each other, but with a layer of spaced 1x2s in between, at right angles to the planks. I'm not sure which of those 2 options would be better. The table will need to be sturdy enough to hold up to 3 adult actors, but some scenes only involve 1 or 2 people.
- I'll cut a hole thru the center for a hub or shaft, which will be firmly attached to the floor, and will project up thru the turntable.
- I envision resting the turntable on a dozen or so golf balls, which will function as bearings. Each ball will be confined within a "housing" attached to the bottom of the turntable, which will be a small piece of 3/4" thick board with a hole cut in it, just large enough for the ball to rotate freely.
- I may build some kind of bracketing piece(s) along the rim, attached to the floor, that will be designed to ensure that the turntable stays level. Also, I will need some kind of simple, quick locking mechanism, to keep the table still and secure for each shot.
So, does this sound realistic and reasonably safe? Am I overlooking anything important? All suggestions welcome.