Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Double Tap

  Something happened today which gave me an idea for a post. Since I have a long turnaround (a week of days into a Friday night exterior) I find myself with a few hours to fill up while I try to force myself into nights. Anyway, the inspiration was an actor committing what I call a double tap. I was pulling back with an actor as he lurched toward, then descended a small staircase. We'd done a couple of rehearsals and at least two takes. No problem. He lurches, I start the pullback. and he stops. He Stops. For about a second, then goes into his descent down the stairs. By this time I was a good two feet further than I should have been, but there was nothing to do but slow down and keep going. This is a double tap, when an actor appears to commit to a movement and suddenly pauses before actually committing. It most often happens on stand-ups or sit-downs. He or she will lean forward, my fingers start to turn  the boom control in anticipation. The actor's knees tense. His head starts to rise. The knob turns and the camera ascends in perfect synch with his head. Then, he stops. He settles back, and shoots up in frame toward the ceiling. Except he's not in frame because we left him long ago on our journey upward. At this point I shake my head and fling my arms outward in frustration. I learned long ago that there is nothing you can do about a double tap. They are usually committed by relatively inexperienced actors and hopefully, after the second or third time it happens, the operator or DP will gently explain to them the situation. In any case, if you get double tapped, it's not your fault. Let it go until they get it right.
  I've been watching and enjoying Mindhunter on Netflicks. It's a beautifully written and shot show that reminds me of True Detective's first season, only a little less tedious and with a little more humor. The  dolly work by Dwayne Barr is stellar in addition to the operating by my old friend Brian Osmond. I  mean really flawless and my hat's off. Nice work!

  Ok, time for another cup of coffee as I head deeper into the night.



The Grip Works said...

The bane of every dolly grip and operators existence.

Michael Taylor said...

It's good to have you back -- and remember, no matter what happens, it's always the actor's fault...

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