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When we say "Set!"


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#1 Ants Martin Vahur

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 03:13 PM

Hi, all!

 

As I find steadicam ops to be most intelligent on most questions regarding the shooting, I throw this question out here:

WHEN should a camera operator say "set"? Should we say it only when the frame has been set, or do we call the whole shot to be clear of every props, costume, mic in position etc.?

 

Here, in Europe, every discipline is different. Some crews demand, that I call "set", others just call "action!" after the stix. I prefer the version with the "set".

It makes more sense to me, that we call "set" when the whole crew is ready, because sometimes the 1AD or director or who ever is calling "action" doesn't see if everyone is ready and a boom  might sweep across the screen just as actors have begun.

Or does it make any sense in any other way?

 

Ants Martin Vahur

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#2 Alan Rencher

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 03:25 PM

I've heard the call-out, "set," used interchangeably with, "frame," and I've always used it to let the AD know that frame is up, and one ready for action. I suppose other crew members, like art department will let the AD know if they are or are not ready.

If I do see something in the shot that isn't supposed to be there that maybe went unnoticed by another dept, I'll usually point it out or ask if it needs to be addressed. You'll usually get thanks for noticing, and thus saving a take.
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#3 Jerry Holway

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 03:54 PM

I believe I've always said "set" when I was ready and I saw nothing else wrong; if a boom or actor or light or flying hair, etc., was not right, I'd make a comment.

 

On a similar note, I always liked the way the 1st AD Joe Ready (and others) would call "and... action" instead of "action!" - he would deliver it as a roll in to what was happening, and it would keep the actors and everyone else from jumping on the action word.


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#4 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 04:39 PM

I do like the and...action. I've had a lot of issues with young directors calling the action right after the slate and not waiting fro my "set". 


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#5 Alan Rencher

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 05:37 PM

I've had directors call action before we've slated.
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#6 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 10:15 PM

I'm a big fan of "set."  If they jump the guns at video village, I very quickly have a conversation with the 1st AD.  If that does not work, I go to the Director.  As a Steadicam Op, I've always been very bold about this and will play Alpha-male role making sure others are ready as well as my own department (within reason) and I will do the same if I'm on "A" Camera.  If "B" or "C" camera, then I rein it in a bit and am only responsible for my camera as I figure I am less privy to certain information.


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#7 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 12:31 AM

I'm with Alec on this. All the AD's I've had the pleasure to work with all understand the process and defer to my "Set" call. It's done that way for a reason, as the operator we are the last to sign off on the readiness of the set even to the point of the holding until the actor lets me know they are ready to go then I'll call it.


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#8 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 07:22 AM

AD:  Roll Camera

Sound:  Sound has speed or 'speed'

1AC: Nods to 2AC or says, camera speed or mark it

2AC: Slates

Operator:  Set (I don't say set until the 'set' is 100% ready for the actors to start acting

AD or Director:  Action


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#9 Ants Martin Vahur

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 12:34 PM

I think so too, that it makes more sense to call it when everyone is ready, not only the frame and the focus puller with his/her hand in that awkward position to pull from horison to a close up of an actor on a 100mm.

I've had also chance to work with genius directors, who call "action" before the slate is in, or then you have these guys, who say "action" just a fraction after the stix have clapped, and the slate is still in the picture regardless how fast the 2AC is.

 

On the movie I'm working now, it's actually the 1AC who calls "action". Which is quite rare, cause usually it's the director and even if it would be more convenient for a 1AC to call it, then most directors still wanna do it as if they are feeling that they are losing the power.

 

And since we are walking down this road already, I'm eager to know, what's the common practice in the States to call the slate? I usually say "mark" (or "mark it") and then I expect the 2AC to clap the slate. Some 2AC are a bit nervous and clap it immediately when they hear Alexa doing it's trademark beep. :) But are stix camera ops call or I've misunderstood it all these years? :)

I hope people don't mind me discussing on this topic, but I think I get much better results from this forum than from any "mommyboughtmeaRedImmaDP" forums or filmmakers books.

 

AntsMartin "set" Vahur


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#10 Bryant Swanstrom

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 02:59 PM

The last film I worked on the director would call action before the camera was even up.... So having them wait for a set seemed out of the question.


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#11 Ants Martin Vahur

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 03:59 PM

I worked once on a movie, where director said "action, action!" when the camera crew hadn't taken the camera even out of the box yet. And few times he tried to talk to someone's mobile phone like it was a walkie talkie. The movie didn't turn out very well either so I guess it didn't matter, as long as everyone got paid and have a funny story to tell.


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#12 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 09:25 AM

I worked on a Bollywood film in NY. The 1AD didn't speak English except for two words. "Ready, ready!" and "take take take!". I'm still not sure he knew what it meant... Neither do I...
Example we bring the cases out of the truck when suddenly "Ready, ready!". I arrive to set, DP still hasn't placed any lights. Actors are rehearsing, I hear "take take take!". *facepalm*


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#13 Ants Martin Vahur

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 09:55 AM

I worked on a Bollywood film in NY. The 1AD didn't speak English exempt for two words. "Ready, ready!" and "take take take!". I'm still not sure he knew what it meant... Neither do I...
Example we bring the cases out of the truck when suddenly "Ready, ready!". I arrive to set, DP still hasn't placed any lights. Actors are rehearsing, I hear "take take take!". *facepalm*

I thought film language is universal :)


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#14 Ants Martin Vahur

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 04:55 PM

Thanks, everyone, for the input!

I appreciate it! Today I felt much more assured when I said "set" :)


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#15 thomas-english

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 01:25 AM

I say "camera happy" when we are good to turn over and set when good for action. I don't bother with camerahappy if I am not on Steadicam. 


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