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.
D

6 comments:

SOUTHERN GRIP said...

I HEAR WHAT YOU ARE SAYING . I ONCE WORKED WITH THIS OPERATOR WHO INSISTED ON WALKING EVERY SHOT.

IT WAS SO BIZARRE BECAUSE YOU HAD TO CONFIGURATE THE DOLLY TO COMPENSATE FOR HIS WALKING THING.

IT TOOK UP WAY TOO MUCH ROOM

IT WAS LIKE HE GOT IN SOME KIND OF VOOODOOO TRANCE AND COULD NOT GET OFF A SHOT UNLESS HE HAD TWO FEET ON THE GROUND.

WHY CAN'T THEY JUST BE NORMAL PEOPLE.

GHB said...

I've come to the realization that some operators can walk and some can't. But the ones that really want to walk when they can't are truly the worst. We all know that chassis position choice is a huge part of executing a great dolly shot and when you get it all set up and all the marks laid and then the operator tells you he wants to walk....well it's everything I can do to not beat him over the head with a seat riser. They of all people should know dolly gripping is challenging and when they want to switch it all up at the last minute like that always shows their true colors. I've been lucky enough to work with some of the best operators I've ever worked with in the last few years and they only walk when the shot calls for it and it never feels like they're there at all.

But I truly feel your pain when it's not going like that.

acraw said...

D, I admire your dedication to write anything at all in your situation. It sounds like you are on a bitch of a show and I feel for you as I'm sure everyone does. My only comment is that when I have an operator who wants to walk, my feeling is that it's his responsibility to stay out from under the wheels. While I never want to run into anyone, people who are around the dolly and know it's moving and where and when it's moving should also know enough to stay out of the way and if they can't do that it's their problem. I hope that doesn't sound too harsh and I hope your show gets better soon.

Anonymous said...

as a runner/PA just starting to get work post-college, I'm not quite sure what you mean by walking the shot. Do you mean the operator decides not to shoot from the dolly once it is all setup and goes hand-held? forgive my ignorance, but any explanations would be most welcome.

GHB said...

Anonymous: When a camera operator walks the shot it means he's walking on his own, still operating a camera that is attached to the dolly, as opposed to riding the dolly. Sometimes the shot calls for it and it's easier for everyone involved for the operator to walk next to the dolly, but nine times out of ten, it's much easier for us as dolly grips if they're on the dolly and creating one less hazard in the way of our wheels.

Like we've all said...some operators can do it without getting stuck under dolly wheels and some just can't.

That might be a cool topic: Famous People Whose Feet I've Run Over With The Dolly.

I know I have my list....

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