Here's a topic I really haven't covered because up until recently it hasn't been an issue. Most of the time a Technocrane is used for big sweeping shots over a crowd or big pullbacks or push-ins, never really getting close to actors except maybe just staying on it for closeups or overs because you're already on it. Lately, though, I've been asked to do rather aggressive moves in among the actors in a scene, which can lead to sticky situations.. I covered this to some extent in an earlier post. The job I'm on now, though is a different animal. It's an action movie which generally means I'm waving the arm around like it's on fire and I'm trying to put it out. Only now, the directors (we have two) and the DP want to do it among and in close proximity to the actors. This makes for some nerve wracking shots. A couple of weeks ago I had a shot with a 45' Technocrane in a van (a VAN) that started with the Oculus pretty much in number one on the call sheet's lap. One thing I've realized is that it's very important for the actors to know what the camera is going to do and exactly where it's going, because often, they don't. In these cases, whenever possible, I try to operate the crane from the head. That way I can keep a close eye one the actors and see if someone is getting into trouble. It's also imperative that you as a crane operator take charge of when and where that crane moves. If you are unsure about an actor's movements or you think an actor is unsure of what happens next, stop everything. I always make sure that if I'm doing an aggressive move that I take a moment to let the actors know exactly what I'm doing and that I'm keeping an eye on them and will stop the action if I think it is becoming unsafe, Communication with the 1st AD is essential. Don't be afraid to stop the action or ask for a minute if you need to assure someone's safety. Remember, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Leave nothing to chance.
Friday, March 08, 2019
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