So here we are on the third and final day of our main shoot schedule for GITW in sunny South London. We’re working with a skeleton crew of just myself, Alex and Johnny, as we’re only filming the single wide shots of Martin our jogger (Tom Bennett), seen in the first minute or so of the film and a larger crew just isn’t needed.
During the opening scene we see our jogger run through various rural landscapes deeper and deeper into the woods. To get the sense of isolation we’re using very wide shots on a Olympus 24 f2.8 lens moving closer and closer to Martin as the scene builds in pace. We’re also using cutaways of Martin’s legs, arms, and body as he’s running, and I thought this could be a handy chance to pass on a tip.
If you’re on a budget, and can’t afford steadycam gear, and just want to capture a few high energy running shots, set the tripod and camera up and ask the actor to run in circles around the camera. I know this sounds awful, and trust me, when you’re doing it, it can feel even sillier – but the camera only sees what you show it, and has no idea of the context of the running. If you’re showing an extended take then this may not work, but for a second or two of cutaway its perfect.
It’s also possible to set up the tripod so that it’s horizontal, then holding a leg, and extending the others to provide counterbalance you can run behind or alongside your actor whilst maintaining surprisingly stability. I would obviously encourage you to rent a Steadicam (and more importantly an operator!) if the budget allows, but if it doesn’t and you need to find an alternative, these techniques can work wonders.