Saturday, February 28, 2015

Camera Operators (Because That's What We Are)

  I've been thinking lately about camera operators. These people we share so much of our time and talent with. I have been blessed to work with some of the best in the business. I've been priviledged to call them friends as well as colleagues. Here's the thing though, guys. They can't do our job. And we often are treated like second class citizens. Not by them, but by production. I'll never forget a job I was up for a few years ago. A camera operator friend of mine was going out of the country to do a movie. He was trying to get me on but was in a battle with production. The DP wouldn't go to bat for him and production said, "We have a local guy who is very good." I called him a couple of weeks after he started the show to ask how it was going. "Well," he said, "we started off with a Technocrane shot. He couldn't get it. Then we went to a dolly shot and he couldn't get that. The rest of the show has been steadicam." I've never understood why production will bring in operators and focus pullers but will trust the person whose job is at least one third of the shot to fate. Part of it is our fault, guys. We've allowed people who weren't ready or weren't qualified to assume a position for which they aren't competent. I've seen it over and over again and heard horror story after horror story. "Dolly grips" who can't hold an over or put the low mode on or do a compound move who are time and again entrusted to make a shot they can't make. It's not an entry level position. Until we conduct ourselves as professionals and call out those who aren't qualified, we will always be considered second class citizens. Anyway, that's my rant for the week. Oh, I just forgot, I started this post talking about camera operators. The good ones appreciate and fight for us. The shitty ones don't. That's where I was headed. Remember that.
The captain has spoken.


Anonymous said...

Ever heard of Richard Boucher from Montréal? He claims to be the best dolly grip in North America.... he must be good!

D said...

I have not. Generally, I chuckle when anyone says they are the best at anything. You are setting yourself up for a fall, your work should speak for you, and there is ALWAYS someone better. Im pretty good, but I know guys I consider to be the best. I would never put myself in that category.

D said...

But you know what? Maybe he is.

D said...
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