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#1 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 04:24 AM

Just watching the first series of E.R on dvd at the moment and its very interesting seeing the difference in the show's use of steadicam after they switched operators half way through. Its also quite cool watching Guy Bees work progress from episode to episode. He even gets a mention and an interview in the doco. crediting him with saving the show, and allowing it to take on the style it is known for today.
Its funnny how "slow" the first half season episodes are by comparison to his work in the second half: even though they did make extensive use of the steadicam the way in which the scenes are covered by Guy had far more pace (and a way more solid frame). Interesting stuff.
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#2 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 10:20 AM

Very nice of you to point out.

Probably another reason Guy has gone on to have a very successful directing career!
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#3 TJ Williams

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 11:29 PM

Guy N. Bee is sure a phenom of an operator. of course the show also credits:
David Chameides, Bill Drummond, Dan Kneece and Charles Papert in 1994.
all of whom have done a bunch of excellent work. The fluid use of the steadicam
sure increases across the life of the series. I had always thought that this was due to the producers coming to trust the tool more and allow more interesting, complex, and fluid shots not just covering the movements from one part of the set to another. Was this difference actually so much the work of one operator as opposed to a more systemic change?
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#4 Charles Papert

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Posted 26 September 2004 - 12:27 PM

TJ, you might have seen that on IMDB--the cast of characters you listed (including myself) worked on the show at various times after the first season, but they only show the first year it was on, '94.

I think it safe to say that Guy brought a mentality and skill set to the table that inspired the directors to be more aggressive with the Steadicam, as opposed to trying to keep it simple to get through the day. The big players on that show were/are:

Guy Bee (seasons 1-2)
Dave Chameides (3-5)
Terrence Nightingall (6-present)

There's been a little pile of us who have day- and week-played over the years, in addition to those listed (I should correct Drummond to Brummond on Bill's behalf), Tommy Lohman and the ubiqutious Ron Baldwin.

There was an interesting stylistic progression through the years, in that the skill and stamina of Guy and Dave allowed the boundaries to be pushed to the point where the camera hardly stopped moving. Eventually the producers realized that doing endless roundy-rounds of a quiet dialogue scene was overkill and the Steadicam was toned down a bit.

Terrence has, delightfully, laid down the law of good sense over his tenure and the Steadicam is only used when needed; as soon as reverse coverage is up the dolly is wheeled in automatically and the dreaded "let's just keep it on Steadicam--y'know, for the look" phrase is rarely, if ever, heard. They are also using a custom Vidstick arrangement with transmitter, so that "suiting up" is only necessary for possibly the last runthrough (which often morphs into "shoot the rehearsal!"
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#5 RonBaldwin


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Posted 27 September 2004 - 10:02 PM

I have been doing b-camera on West Wing as well as ER lately, and I've got to tell you it's really cool to see other steadicam operators work. We really only get to see each other at the bar (or off-road...but that's another story) and never get to check out others' gear or operating style.

Chad is one smooth op (but still evil) and it's fun to watch Terrence fly around the trauma rooms.

I've had the opportunity to step in and do a few days of steadicam on the next episode of ER while the main unit is away on location finishing up the current episode. It's really fun and challenging -- some of the "oners" are more than my tiny memory can handle, luckily the actors make it easy for me.

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#6 JakePollock


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Posted 28 September 2004 - 12:55 AM

i had never seen e.r. until i moved out here to taiwan. i saw the first series for sale on dvd and figured, what the hell... if nothing else, it'd make a good steadicam reference to show directors here.

i was totally blown away by some of those oners in the second half of the series. and the frequent mention of guy bee's name in both the first and second series' behind the scenes docs was a great and well deserved nod.

but the thing that really got me was that my girlfriend never noticed how the camera didn't cut. she was just totally swept up, trying to pay attention to the characters and the story. and, on one level, that's what moving the camera is all about.

jake pollock
taipei, taiwan
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#7 Marc_Abernathy


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Posted 02 October 2004 - 07:59 PM

speaking of Mr. Bee,
heres an old historic image of Mr. Bee i posted earlier(~1988). seems to fit the topic here...

Posted Image
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