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director/ operators

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#1 keith mottram

keith mottram

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Posted 02 February 2005 - 10:15 AM

Hi I'm new to this forum, so apologies if i cover old ground. I'm gearing up for a short which I'm going to be directing (and hand held camera operating) and I would like to do my own stedicam work as well as the film will have quite a loose improv feel. Firsty I was wondering if there are any other director/ operators on this sight and there opinions and secondly if I was to do the Optex course is this feasable? I know that I cannot hope to become a competent operator in this way but I was hoping I could become competent enough for the purposes of this short. The short will be shot either anamorphic or 3 perf. Any advice is greatly apreciated.

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#2 Howard J Smith

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Posted 02 February 2005 - 11:16 AM

Hi Keith

If you are based in the UK then we do training courses at MK-V and we also have MK-V hire with full feature ready systems.
If you are interested we could teach you to do the type of shots you want to do (and some other stuff as well) and you would train on the hire system which you could then use for the show.
Just a thought, but I have done this a few times now and it has worked very well.

All the best
Howard J Smith
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#3 Charles Papert

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Posted 02 February 2005 - 07:11 PM

Taking instruction from an experienced operator like Howard or the Optex classes is definitely the way to go. And like Howard, I've been in the director/operator seat (sometimes director/DP/operator, and more times than I'd like, operator directing on behalf of a hapless director!). But it may be worthwhile to keep in mind that we are coming at this from the perspective of having operated long enough that the mechanical/mental skill and familiarity with the gear is second nature, freeing us up to focus on performances and the big picture. Nearly all novice operators are entirely consumed with the mechanics of the rig, trying to get it to behave in anything approaching a controlled fashion while dealing with the formidable weight on the body (2 red flags here: improv/documentary-style and anamorphic 35mm). You'd also need a really Steadicam savvy assistant who can set up, balance and troubleshoot the rig to give you maximum time to attend to the actors. Said assistant would actually have to be something of an ace, having to also be able to pull focus on anamorphics in a spontaneous setting!

My personal advice is to go ahead and do a 2 day workshop and get a feel for what a rig of that weight is like to wrangle, and that will likely make up your mind whether or not this is a route you would want to pursue. And considering the added weight, slower speed and more demanding focus that anamorphics present--I'd probably recommend the Super 35 route for this sort of project.
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