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I have an upcoming shoot where I will need to capture a restaurant scene in first person point-of-view. It seems pretty straight-forward, but I want to make sure it truly looks like the subject's point-of-view. At first, I thought a steadicam would do the trick, but wasn't sure if that would actually look like first person point-of-view. Then I thought about mounting the camera to a helmet, similar to the one here... https://www.journalism.co.uk/news/new-approaches-to-online-video-at-the-wall-street-journal-/s2/a553636/

Does anyone have experience with these kinds of shots? How did you capture them? What camera and lens did you use? I'd like to be able to get as much as the scene in the shot as possible, so going wide would be ideal. However, I don't want to go too wide if it doesn't look as if we are viewing the scene through the subject's eyes. Any advice?

  • what kind of kit is already available, do you want to hire or have access to hire in? do you need to have the whole walking in, sitting down, eating bit or is it just a conversation where it will be static etc – Adam Mann Pro Jun 29 '15 at 14:58
  • I currently don't have any equipment available besides a DSLR, but have access to mount and lens rentals. We want to do this shoot in-house though, as we will need to reproduce it many times in the future. Most of the scene will be eating/talking at a dinner table while sitting, but I want flexibility to move around as well. – Calvin Gaunce Jun 29 '15 at 16:48
  • Where is this going to be shown, is it aimed at selling something, or will be be more like an internal training video. all depending, internal training video I would experiment with a "Action Cam" like device on a helmet or you could have a camera over the shoulder of the actor (assuming there is room behind) and the camera man can act as his head with direction from the director to pan, tilt etc – Adam Mann Pro Jun 29 '15 at 16:52
  • This will be part of an online training tool where the user is supposed to be the subject of the application, so the view of the camera is the user's eyes. We will need to show the camera operators hands on camera so I don't think it would work to have an over the shoulder shot here. – Calvin Gaunce Jun 29 '15 at 17:53
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A lot of it depends on your budget. Are you a low budget film or do you have some money to work with. Even renting can get expensive if it's a multi-day shoot.

A dolly shot or stedicam seems to be the most obvious because you don't want the up-and-down motion that comes with walking with a camera (unless you are going for the hand-held style).

A lot depends of the actor that you are trying to replicate. Are they short, tall, hyper, depressed, drunk etc.? Choose your lighting and lens to reflect the mood. There is no single answer for that.

As for getting the shot... if you don't have a budget then I can give you some suggestions for what has worked for us as far as getting great POV shots.

If filming the POV of a child, put your DP or cameraman into a wheelchair and have a PA push him. If it's a medium size adult put an apple crate onto the wheelchair seat and have them sit on that. Makes for a surprisingly smooth shot.

If you need more height, put your DP into a shopping cart.

We've even had the DP stand on a skateboard while he was carefully held and pushed when we needed a POV of a drug addict that was high.

Just keep in mind... Larger wheels like a wheelchair will give you a smoother shot than smaller wheels like a skateboard.

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If it was me, I would do some testing, first I would try putting a "action cam" like a GoPro or similar (eBay do some knock offs which are like £35) and attach it to a helmet or head strap to see if this is what is expected as this way the "actor" can act normally (looking around, shaking their heads, nodding etc) but in the end you might not like this style and opt for trying a different way.

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