Monday, October 15, 2007

To Monitor or Not to Monitor

Now there's several schools of thought on the subject. Old schoolers will swear up and down that the only way to "keep an over" is by jamming your head up against the camera. Now this is mighty inconvenient. And asking the focus puller to "share" the onboard monitor is another pain in the butt.
I'm a convert. Let me share this by telling I started pushing dolly before video assist was the norm. Back when directors stood by the camera and they trusted operators (there's a great story from an SOC member about the use of video assist-I'll have to find that). Oh yeah and I was using Elemack (Spyders and Crickets)-easier to get everyone around the camera, but a pain to operate.
I've had to follow along with technology.As the cameras went digital, so did I. I found that I couldn't keep an over while crossing a courtroom on a long HD lens. Marks, hand signals and lasers are only so much help. I've found that if I'm able to see what the operator sees, then I''ll do a better job.
Too many times now-especially in episodic where there's not enough time for blocking, nevermind a rehearsal (first you hearse, then you rehearse...) they ask a lot. Now with a rehearsal it's easy for me to bang on all the time. We (when I say "we" I mean the operator, the focus puller and myself) are all in sync and there's no perplexed faces at the end of the take.
There's many ways to go if you want to take on the monitor. Something as simple as a Casio that's picked up off EBay, or as expensive as TransVideo LCDs and Anton Bauer batteries. Happy to discuss any options
Overkeeper? I AM the overkeeper!

Posted by Azurgrip


D said...

I agree, Dave. I only would add that I think it may be better to learn the basics first without a monitor, like so many of us did, so you develop an awareness of what the camera is seeing without one. Great post. Keep them coming.

Anonymous said...

I find the AC monitor to be better placed than any Pushbar mounted monitor because it sits at the camera where you often end up looking over anyway.

I try to look at the scene as often as possible, usually you can't feel the body language (cue) of an actor on a monitor as good.

So I use them for overs every now and then and to get an idea of the framing.

Greetz Dan