Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dollies Can't Move Like A Person

I should get a t-shirt that says that and wear it to work every day. By this statement I mean that you can't make upwards of 800 lbs of operator, camera, and machine change direction or stop and start as fast as a person can. Lately, I've had a couple of situations where I needed to start moving with an actor, cross a room and land with them. The problem was that they had four big steps to their mark and I had 9 feet to mine and they started off like they were shot out of a cannon. By the time I got good and going, they were already there resulting in an unmotivated dramatic push in on them at the end while I raced to catch up. Another hard trick is keeping your wheels set to hold an over- the -shoulder and going into that kind of move. You have to hold it as long as you think you can get away with before you start turning the wheels for your takeoff and hope they don't block themselves before they move. Usually actors are good sports once they realize what you need. I've never had one refuse to help out by taking a little speed off their takeoff.
I have a split at Warner Brothers tonight. It's going to be cold.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Comments About Comments

Hi everyone. I just got in from a freezing night in a canyon where I didn't have phone service. Thanks everyone for your comments. GHB- Nailed it as usual. Great insights. Southern Grip- Just cracks me up. Thanks for dropping in but you might want to check your caps lock. Acraw- Always has something good to say. It's great to have one of the masters on here (yes I know who you are). I know I've sounded really...cynical about my show and some of it is just exhaustion. I don't want everyone to get the idea that it's just drudgery though. I am working with a guy whom I consider to be just a phenomenal operator. He really is one of the best and we work really well as a team. The DP and Key Grip are also the tops and I couldn't ask for better. Most of the problems come from higher up the chain and just make everything harder. Top that with a lot of night work and a sub standard cable rate and I tend to get a little...crabby.
A lot of my posts arise from seeing something that makes me think of something else or reminds me of a situation I have dealt with in the past, such as the AC who wants to ride every shot etc. I got an email from an AC who took me to task a little about that post. I didn't mean that the AC should never ride. Every shot is different and sometimes there's no other way. It's the ones who want to sit on the dolly on a 24 mm with a 6' push who get my dander up. Sometimes the operator has to walk a shot. I just don't like it when they do it when they really don't need to.. A big part of my job is to make it possible for them to effectively do their job. It's when they unnnecessarily make my job harder that things start to break down. Oh yeah, Sanjay, I got your email and answered it but I don't know if it went through from where I was. Thanks for the tip. Allright guys, I'm turning in. Got another freezing night ahead of me, only this time it's really supposed to rain. Great.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Operator Interference

I hate it when camera operators walk. They drag the dolly, make moves steppy, shake the camera. I can't tell if they're slowing the dolly down because they want me to go slower or because they just can't walk fast enough. Then you also have to worry about running over them while also watching actors, looking for cues, timing the shot, hitting marks, and all the other crap you have to do during a shot. It's just added drama. This leads to some creative solutions to keeping the operator on the dolly when the dolly has to be on the wrong side, or you're doing some wacky Lambda head shot. There are a lot of times when I just wish we had a set of Hot Gears. For a while every show I did carried a set (probably because the operator owned them). My operator now owns every gadget you can imagine (and invented a lot of them) but no Hot Gears. Luckily, he dislikes walking a shot as much as I do. There are some shots though, in a 12 x 12 bathroom with a boom up and a 180 and a creep in that Hot Gears would really make both of our lives easier.
Posting is a little slow now because of my schedule, but I'm trying to keep up. Appreciate the comments, keep them coming and don't forget the message forum. I'm getting ready for a long night in the rain. Bleahhh.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Go To This Link I got this from Nathan over at Polybloggimous. It's hysterical.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Layout Board

I hate it. We spent the last three days shooting inside and out of a really big house in Arcadia, Ca. needless to say, I had the prerequisite talk with the site rep about the dolly wheels. I was told that I didn't need to have layout under the dolly as long as I used pneumatics. I tried to explain that the medium softs would do no more harm than the air tires but to no avail. Since we had gotten rid of the pneumatics for the peewee (in a bid to save money I was asked to send any dolly stuff I didn't need back to Chapman), I was compelled to roll it on layout board wherever it went.. So I switched the Hustler to all pneumatics but had to wait for what seemed like an eternity for the layout board guy to finish whatever he was doing and get around to laying a trail to get the camera to wherever it needed to be when I was on the Peewee. This added at least an hour to the day all told. And it was all because someone at some point in the past had told this lady (who was very nice) that all dolly tires but pneumatics would hurt her floor. I've rolled on everything from NBA courts to the bowling alley in the bottom of a Beverly Hills mansion and never left so much as a smudge. The misguided belief that the tires will hurt the floors drives me nuts, adds needless time to the day, and costs infinitely more money than whatever parts I can send back to Chapman to get off rental. My camera operator likes to say that layout board is the biggest scam in Hollywood. I don't know about that, it's probably good to protect floors from stands, muddy boots, etc. But all it does for the dolly is cost time.

Sorry for My Absence

Sorry I've been negligent in posting. A whole week of night exteriors in the rain will do that to you. I'll be back this weekend.