Saturday, May 26, 2012

What's on tonight?

This question was posed to me recently: What am I watching?

I'll admit. I'm one who uses a monitor. I feel in this day and age of high page count and long work hours that anything that can help me go out quicker and less takes - I'm all for it. One can't always get close to the camera when there's two (or more) camera crammed against each other and assistants all over so, one feel a bit removed. The monitor really helps and I feel that I'm more "synergistic" with the operator.

Having the right tool for the job is more than ever important these days. One can't always get by with a little 3" Casio wireless anymore. It's a big decision whether to spend big bucks on something that you may not even get the kit rental on. I purchased last year a Marshall 7" HD monitor. Not top of the line, as I'm not pulling focus from it, but something that has reasonable brightness to see in the outdoors (with the help of a hood).

Are you using a monitor? And if so, what are you using?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Double headed Dragon - Pure Brilliance or Sheer Panic?

This photo is from doing "Double Headed, Hand Held Walk and Talks on "Covert Affairs' season two.

I did a daily on what was called a "webisode" for a already shooting television series. This is more and more common these days. Get in a couple off day actors, spill some crew over from main unit and get the writers to come up with some witty 2 page scenes. Sounds simple. HA! Never is. Add a a bunch of these "scenes". Mix in a few set shifts and you've got the makings of a long day.

These guys had brought in two camera teams, but only one dolly. Invariably the "blockings" of these setups generally had both cameras on top of each other with "A" camera edging "B" camera and ruining choice moments. Panic ensued… "Let's just put "B" on with "A" and that will solve everything!!"

I know that script people get a rate upgrade with more cameras - can that happen for me too?

We got the shot, then out of panic the rest of the day was setup that way - as Double Headed Dragon. I can understand in certain circumstances that it would be helpful, but so many times, one camera wants to go one way when the other camera wants to go the other. Then, due to lack of space, the focus pullers can't ride and now they're crying and tripping over themselves.

Is this the answer? Are locking two cameras together the answer (not including 3D here)? Or is this just panic?

Speaking of 3D, I did have a chance to see "The Avengers" over the weekend. Bloody great movie! To all the grips on the show: you should be very proud! It's been a long time since I was part of an applauding audience in a movie theatre!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Coming back to the "real" world?

Where have a been all this time? I've just finished working on a feature film.

Well, thanks to Non-Disclosure Agreements that I've had to sign I can't really say… and as the NDA is still in play I still can't say anything till the movie is released next summer.

However, I can say that I've been working on the largest project to be shot in Canada. I was working as the "B" Camera dolly grip. Up to four cameras every day. I worked with different operators, depending on the situation. Most of the time on headset with the director. Days with 300 extras. Days of SteadiCam. Days of two telescopic cranes fighting for the same spot. As big as the scope of the movie was, the rigs weren't big. Its seemed we were either on Steadi or crane and the moves weren't complicated. Always 1 to 2. The director was very prepared and knew exactly what he wanted, but at the same time, camera work was figured out on the day. We generally shot the first rehearsal and worked from there.

For me, I was an odd duck on the crew as it wasn't my regular crew, plus the out of town Key Grip was working with a new crew for him. They left me alone to do my job, as I worked with camera operators and the director.

It was a long seven months. Not many long days. Good turn around. Rarely did we go late on a Friday night (the Friday Five Dollar Draw stories is a post unto itself!). It was a paid vacation.

Now, after a couple weeks off, I'll be returning to the meat grinder of television series work. Mondays to Saturdays.

Every year I wish I could make it down to L.A. for the J.L. Fisher open house and CineGear Expo (and the Chapman BBQ?). Please let us know if you're going and what you saw that interests you!