Sunday, April 27, 2008

Just Checking In..

Hi everyone. I'm just adding some pictures to show a little of what we've been up to. It's all going well so I've got no complaints. Internet access is a little sketchy so I haven't been posting as much. The grips and a camera operator all got a beautiful house on the ocean and moved out of the crappy hotel, so at least we have a nice place to stay now. Everyone stay safe and send along any questions/comments.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Endless Scene

We've all had them...the scene that comes last in the day that just goes on forever. It usually involves dogs or cats or some special effect. Yesterday, mine was a three sided mirror. We shot the master from one side. Two actresses standing in front of a three panelled mirror in a twenty by thirty room. We did a slow push in on them, switching from the mirror to them as we crossed their profiles. After two hours of endless miror tweaking and lighting, we switched to the other side to do a complementary push in ending in a complementary over. More mirror tweaking. The catch was that the room was smaller on the other side so we couldn't get as much movement in before blocking our lead actress before we were supposed to cross. Add timing all this to dialogue and you have yourself a recipe for a meltdown. We got it, though. At the end of it, the operator and I were pretty much done. The director (a great lady) came in and gave me a hug. I needed it.
Keep the comments and pictures coming. Going out to dinner with the boys.
Later

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Update and New Pictures

We've been getting our asses handed to us for a couple of days so the posts have been a little few and far between. I've added some new pictures from the last couple of days work so you can see what we've been up to. Cranes, water, insert cars, and 9 hour turnarounds are pretty much the routine we've fallen into. It's cold up here too. Especially on the ocean trying to muscle a Phoenix crane around on a boat at high speed. Anyway, I'm tired and turning in. By the way, one of my hard track wheels fell apart (the bearings fell out as I was changing tires around) and one of my pneumatics has a leak. The hits just keep on coming. I'll catch up with everyone when I get a chance.
Later,
D

Friday, April 11, 2008

And The Brake Sucks

That pretty much sums it up.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Man and his Dolly


Usually, a Dolly Grip relies on his big dolly. It's the one he always goes to as his main platform. Not so much on this one. Because of space considerations, I've been using the Peewee more. The arm on it is sweet. This disappoints me. I always try to get the biggest dolly into the space if I can. It's more stable, I can get the operator more easily situated to operate, and usually, the arm is better because this is the one I pay attention to. Not so on this one. While the arm on the Hustler is ok, I'm still suspicious of it. I'm a little superstitious, but I just don't trust it. The relationship between a Dolly Grip and his machine is almost like that between a cowboy and his horse. You depend on it. It'll carry you through. The fact is that I don"t like this dolly. I don't trust it. If you find a dolly you like, when you go to do a move...especially a compound move, you don't even think about it. That's what makes it a good dolly.
I think about this one before every move.
That's why I don't trust it.
The tech assured me it was a good dolly, had just been moved from LA to Orlando and had had a good history. I think....bullshit.
I don't know much, but I know a good dolly when I turn the boom handle, and this one has no finesse. It'll work, I can do the shot on it and no one else will know. But I do.
Or maybe my medication has worn off.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Week One Over


Week one is over! The first three days were a little rough due to some equipment issues but since then, I've found my rhythm and it looks to be a fun show. This DP (who is a complete gentleman) likes to work the dolly. We use a lot of dolly and boom shots which I like. The operator, Jimmy, is first class. One thing I like about this cameraman is that he doesn't turn dolly shots into Steadicam shots because he thinks they're faster (see "Steadicam is Not Faster" 11/24/07). Dolly shots are dolly shots and that's how we do them. In answer to a question from earlier this week, I have used the cedar shingle shims. I think they're fine. It's more a matter of what works for each person. I have a pack or two of shims that I keep with me in case a crosstie is too low for a wedge (esp. on carpet, the weight of the dolly makes them kick up and hit the wheels). They're not the wide shingles, though. They're about 2" wide by 6" long. The wedges we make ourselves (or have made by someone).
I know the blog has been a litle sloppy and sparse lately. I'll try to get more done when I can. Azurgrip asked earlier this week what those of us who go on location a lot take with us. I think it's an interesting question, so let's see some answers. (This isn't what Azurgrip had in mind, but I take my Xbox 360)
I hope all is well where you are. Stay in touch.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Checking In and Laying Dance Floor on Carpet


Hi all. It's been a rough couple of days. I finally got my dolly issues taken care of. Chapman sent a tech out from LA and he tweaked the arm. It's pretty good now. At least I can tell where the detente is (the neutral space in the arm between up and down). It was non-existant before and the up has been taken off hair trigger. It's still slightly "on-off" for my taste but still night and day from what it was. We also are shooting in a large office with uneven floors and thick carpet. Normally (always) you double lay the plywood when on thick carpet and screw the top layer into the bottom.. Our dance floor moves were so large that we didn't have enough plywood for two layers, though. So after a couple of attempts (the plywood layer "walked" about 10 inches after only three or four takes) so we had to go to Steadicam until a shipment of ten more pieces of ply showed up today. The first shot, before the ply showed up, which we were able to do was a push in and turn through a 30" doorway chasing our lead actress into an office and then dancing around some more in there. It was a little tense when the plywood wouldn't stay in one place even after spiking it into the carpet with screws and simpson plating it together as much as we could. We managed to get the shot though. So the two headaches of the first day have been resolved and everything's starting to go better. There's nothing like that feeling that you can't give the DP what he wants (even though it's really not your fault) and everyone's looking at you. Unfortunately in this line of work it happens every now and then and there are some tense moments. It all worked out though.
I hope you all are doing well and working. I know Gil is working and Azurgrip is starting a pilot. Hope all goes well.