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Rolling/Tracking shots... A "How to" of sorts..

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Rolling/Tracking shots... A "How to" of sorts..

Postby thelumpya2 » 15 Jul 2008 13:37

I get asked about rolling (tracking.. for you brits) shots usually at least once a day by somebody..

I had included this little tutorial in another thread and often find myself referencing the thread, or linking people to it, so I figured it deserved a sticky of its own..

hell.. I learned everything I know from asking other people.. so who am I to keep the knowledge I have hidden away :)

here it goes..

Optimal Conditions
Your best bet is to get on a somewhat vacant, double laned stretch of road with a speed limit of 55 or above so you can do at least 65-70 mph..

It really helps if the camera car and the subject car are moving at the same speed. So a camera car that has Cruise Control is a big help, becuase then the driver of the subject car simply has to match the constant speed.

Also, try and shoot the car about an hour or 2 before the sun sets, and make sure the direction you are going on the road, has the sun lighting up the front 3/4 side of the car so you don't get any funky shadows.. although if its an overcast day, this is not as much of an issue.

keep in mind.. what I have described above are the "optimal" conditions under which to shoot rolling shots, but we all know that everything doesn't work out perfectly every time, so make due with what you can :)


Camera Settings

Everybody has a differnet preference, but I prefer to shoot rolling shots in Shutter priority mode. This way, I can set my shutter speed exactly where I want it to produce the motion blurred background that is desired when trying to capture a motion shot.

Once the camera is in Shutter priority mode (Tv), you can use your aperature button (on most canon's, I dunno about nikon) to set the camera to automatically over or underexpose the shots by holding it down and scrolling the setting wheel. We all know that the internal light meter on most cameras doesn't always expose things perfectly when set dead middle, so use your best judgement on this. Generally, if i'm shooing in bright sunlight, I set it to underexpose a click or two. But on grey days (overcast) I usually leave the exposure spot on, if not a click above.

When shooting rolling shots, the idea is to shoot at the lowest shutter speed possible, while still capturing a crisp image of the subject car. That is why its very helpful if both cars are moving at the exact same speed, because you will produce more quality shots. I usually start with a 1/10 shutter speed. I try to remain as steady as possible, and shoot between bumps in the road so my arms and camera aren't being jarred as I push the shutter button down. I shoot somewhere between 25-50 shots at 1/10th depending on how smooth the road is and how good the conditions are. If you can get a crisp shot at this speed, the results are usually quite awesome. I then click up to 1/13th and fire off another round, then work my way up doing the same until I've reached 1/25th. I usually don't shoot any higher than 1/25 for rolling shots, so that I'm sure to capture the motion well, but for those of you who just can't seem to get it, you can try moving up to 1/40 even 1/60 and you'll still get some good blur. Also, the faster the cars are going, the better chance you have of getting motion blur at higher shutter speeds.


These are all the technical aspects of shooting rolling shots that I can think of. Everything else beyond that is your own creativity. Angles, Composition, Lighting, Location... ect. And most of that stuff is a matter of opinion and interperatation.

Hope this helps.

Happy shooting 8)

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Re: Rolling/Tracking shots... A "How to" of sorts..

Postby Digital K » 27 Jan 2009 16:17

Great post :) Wish every budding photog could see this so we could stop getting this question ;) haha :worship:
I take pictures of cars.

http://www.motionblurphoto.com
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Re: Rolling/Tracking shots... A "How to" of sorts..

Postby oldskoolmk2 » 27 Jan 2009 16:23

nice write up randy. good stuff!
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Re: Rolling/Tracking shots... A "How to" of sorts..

Postby ndub » 01 Feb 2009 22:23

great post. the pic of the 240 is sick. what camera body do you use?
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Re: Rolling/Tracking shots... A "How to" of sorts..

Postby ShadowGLI » 16 Apr 2009 15:40

Those rolling shots are fantastic. In those shots are you using an IS lens or standard? I just feel like two moving objects at 1/10 would leave the subject a bit blurry but your cars are incredibly crisp...

Are these handheld or are you firing off of a "rig"?
:thumbup:
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Re: Rolling/Tracking shots... A "How to" of sorts..

Postby nathan k » 22 Apr 2009 20:54

freakin awsome shots :worship:
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Re: Rolling/Tracking shots... A "How to" of sorts..

Postby thelumpya2 » 04 Jun 2009 15:16

ndub wrote:great post. the pic of the 240 is sick. what camera body do you use?


I'm using a Canon Rebel XT..

ShadowGLI wrote:Those rolling shots are fantastic. In those shots are you using an IS lens or standard? I just feel like two moving objects at 1/10 would leave the subject a bit blurry but your cars are incredibly crisp...

Are these handheld or are you firing off of a "rig"?
:thumbup:


thanks :)

I'm using a standard lens, Sigma 10-20 wide, and all my rollers are handheld ;)

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Re: Rolling/Tracking shots... A "How to" of sorts..

Postby Shawn » 26 Jun 2009 21:23

Rando I was just thinking I miss my 10-20 only for rolling shots.
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Re: Rolling/Tracking shots... A "How to" of sorts..

Postby onelegout » 07 Aug 2009 21:47

Great tutorial! I've got a sigma 10-20 also; this makes me want to go out and take more pics!
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Re: Rolling/Tracking shots... A "How to" of sorts..

Postby LOWR1D3R » 17 Aug 2009 20:22

Nice shots you got there!
Here´s a riggedy rigshot of my longroof :)

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and another from the other angle with different wheels.

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btw. 1st post so far. hello all wheelwhores out there :love:
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Re: Rolling/Tracking shots... A "How to" of sorts..

Postby baz » 14 Jan 2010 11:57

great advice ! makes me wanna go out and shoot some rollers - shame about the weather :x
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Re: Rolling/Tracking shots... A "How to" of sorts..

Postby andyp.com » 03 Feb 2010 23:40

nice.
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Re: Rolling/Tracking shots... A "How to" of sorts..

Postby Zeus » 17 Feb 2010 23:48

What tips do you give for tunnel pics? Mine usually end up grainy:
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Here's my first attempt in daylight a few monts back, we were travelling at 20mph. Is that too slow or do I just need to hold the shutter open longer to get more motion?
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Re: Rolling/Tracking shots... A "How to" of sorts..

Postby boligrafo123 » 21 Feb 2010 13:51

Great write-up!
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Re: Rolling/Tracking shots... A "How to" of sorts..

Postby Dnns NL » 25 Feb 2010 17:04

Last summer made some driving pics..

With a Sony Alpha 350 with a 18 - 200 Tamaron lens.

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