Tuesday, October 02, 2007
This is the one that may take time to develop. It's repeating a move exactly on every take. This mainly comes into play when timing a move to dialogue. The director may want you to leave on a certain word and land on a certain word of an actors speech. First, get a set of sides. You should get one every morning anyway as a matter of course. If you have any doubts about when an actor speaks or moves, remember ,the script supervisor is your friend. Ask them. After that, it's all about watching and listening. You will generally need do the move at least once to time it out to the dialogue. Then you know by what part of the speech you land if you need to go slightly slower or faster. Sometimes, you can just feel at what point you should land and this will often turn out to be right. Sometimes the director will have a different part of the dialogue in mind and he/she will give you a different word to land on. Once you've seen it and gotten an idea of your proper speed, you should be able to nail it every time. I generally know where I should be at the halfway point of a speech and then I can guage how I'm doing and may have to add a half percent of speed or take some off. If you see that you are going to land slightly early, fudge it in the feathering. Generally no one will know but you. If there's no dialogue, you just have to go by instinct. A good dolly grip can repeat a speed almost exactly every time, once he chooses a speed. I often zone in on a wheel and stare at it as it turns. I can match the speed of the move by remembering how fast the wheel was turning before. It's all in a feeling and is developed over time. I once repeated a 40 foot effects plate shot, matching to the live action I did just before it and at the end was a half second off. This isn't to blow my own horn, any good full time dolly grip could have done it (and some may not have missed it by a half second), but it's to show you what I mean by consistency. You will eventually get to the point where you know what the director wants before he tells you. If you weren't a fan of movies, you probably wouldn't be in this job, so take what you know from a lifetime of movie watching and use it, something probably no other occupation can do. You eventually will develop a feel for dialogue and camera moves that is second nature and will know what to do before you are told. THAT"S a dolly grip.
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