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Regular working hours on a set


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#1 Shawn Wang

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 04:14 AM

I just want to ask you folks that what's the regular amount of hour you have to work per day ?

Is 16-17 hour day a norm ?

Which kind of shows that usually cuts on 12 ?


Recently I just did a 18 hour day + 17 hour + 13 hour day and 50% of the crew were sick including me . Loss of voice + 39.5 degree fever. Since I'm fairly new to the film industry I'm just curious about the ridiculous amount of time you have to work per day, feels like you are trading your Heath for money.
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#2 Kareem La Vaullee

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 06:16 AM

Hello Shawn, welcome in Hell! (the new, frozen over one)

Food for thought:

 

Who Needs Sleep?

 

12on/12off

 

I remember a Music Video on which the producer stopped the shooting because I almost tripped over and crashed while running in a forest full speed in low-mode, we were shooting for 32 hours...

 

 

[Edit] Here it is, just found it on YouTube, there is only two non-Steadicam setups:

 

The "I almost crashed" shot is at 2:42, the bumps that the director kept as the ending shot where already a clue that I was too tired to keep going.

 

K.

 


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#3 Lawrence Karman

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 10:53 AM

Shawn, unfortunately what you have encountered is often the norm in this business. On US union film and TV productions the usual is somewhere between 12 and 14 hours a day not including a 1 or 1/2 hour lunch break. Occasionally it is shorter and more often it is longer. Commercials sometimes stay at 10 hours but more and more they shoot for 12-18 hours as budgets are reduced and they try and fit more shooting into one day rather than add more days of shooting. Music videos can be limitless. It's criminal and it endangers the health and safety of the crew. The longest day I have worked was 23 hours. Outside the US, when not working under a union contract, all bets are off. I have heard from a Mexican DP that in Mexico crews often work 36 hours straight on commercials. While we are well compensated for these long hours, it's not worth the toll on our health and safety.


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#4 RonBaldwin

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 11:02 AM

here is a link to Haskel's documentary Who Needs Sleep -- it's really well done and kinda scary (and also a bit of a slap in the face for producers and the IA)

 

http://www.theblacka...s-sleep-wexler/


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#5 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 02:52 PM

I watched this documentary 2 days ago and it really got me thinking. I recently did 10 days of a Bollywood where we ended up with two 25 hours days (not back to back) and they wanted to push for a 7 day week with turnaround invasion, the whole crew refused to show up on sunday.


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#6 Aaron King

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 03:33 PM

The work hours really depend on what type of production your on, and the budget level.  Like Lawrence said, most union shoots for film and television you can expect to be on set somewhere between 12-14 hours.  They do go over from time to time, and some shows seem to make a bad habit of notoriously going over far too often.  

 

Most of my work usually ends up being music videos, and those hours can sometimes be ludicrous.  The directors have these huge visions of grandeur, the budgets keep getting lower, and you only have the artist for one day.  Very early you realize that you aren't going to be home in time for dinner.  I guess producers find that it's cheaper to just pay the crew the overtime than to pay for two days rental on all the gear.  My longest day on the clock was 23 hours, but most of that was the result of extreme weather delays.

 

Luckily, the last few jobs I did at the end of 2013, the Producers were very tight on the Directing team to wrap up on time and I was usually packed up and leaving between 12-13 hours, and that was with lunch in the schedule.

 

Like I said, the hours vary from job to job, but 12 is always a good staring point for how long you will be there.


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#7 Shawn Wang

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 05:13 PM

oh no...

 

is LIVE TV Steadicam works better on hours? 


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#8 Daniel Stilling DFF

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 05:52 PM

Prepare for some long fraturdays...


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#9 Shawn Wang

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 09:01 PM

In fact health isn't my biggest concern, my biggest concern is more about family. If I don't see them often then whats the point for making all that money ? 

 

Directors & writers and sometimes DP takes over all of our credits and that glamorous part literally belongs to them, not us, the operators. 

 

feels like we are withdrawing our retirement money for nothing ( we get to live shorter cuz of all this, maybe some lucky ones could live long but I bet most of us won't ). No offense but sleepless is a really health problem. 

 

yes, true that we are getting more money for overtime, but if you count all of your overtime money, its not even gonna pay the hospital bill (hopefully none of us gets this). 

 

sorry guys for being real harsh, but we have to do lots of predictions before we do anything, that could be one of the consequences of our career. 

 

 

btw Ive watched that doc today and its exactly what im talking about. but its been 8 years since its release and the situation only gone worse. 

 

LOL Im trully speechless.


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#10 Sanjay Sami

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 09:30 AM

I have not worked longer than 14 or 15 hours in the last 10 years or so, and have fortunately had Directors and AD's who have seen the benefit of having a sane crew on set.

My longest day was 27 hours on a movie in Namibia, in the Namib desert, about 16 or 17 years ago. At some point I had no idea what I was doing. My legs and arms were moving, but my brain had checked out a long time ago. The Gaffer was evacuated to Windhoek with extreme heat exhaustion.


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#11 Stefan Baltz

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 03:05 PM

interesting topic...I'd love to hear more stories about that, esp. from german operators :)

I just finished a low budget feature as 2.AC, where they told you the usual stuff before (relaxed crew, less working hours) but we ended up almost everday 2 or 3 hours more than planned on the call sheet. And there were also some horror days with around 17/18 hours!! And no extra-pay for the extra-hours!!

 

Is this also regular in germany, even at "tarif-sets"?? The "Ruhezeiten" (rest period defined by law) were also undercut sometimes.

 

I really love the job, but under these conditions???


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#12 Markus Kuballa

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 11:06 AM

In my experience the rest periods in Germany are usually as defined by law at around 11-12 hours in between work times. The length of the day varies a lot though. Usually for me it's at least 12 hours on set and 15-16 at the most. But I also had a music video shoot as a day player where we worked 23 hours with almost no break of wich 20 hours were only Steadicam. Needless to say at the end of the day my fatigue showed in the footage but the director didn't really mind.
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#13 RonBaldwin

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 12:33 PM

This biz thrives on people early in their careers willing to do anything for a job, some footage for their reel, or a chance to work with someone they might admire in some way. Like most have said, my experience is pretty much always been 12 hrs work plus a half hr lunch...and at least a 10 hr turnaround (which isn't much really after commuting, grabbing a bite to eat, showering (at least once a month) and hitting Jumbos).

It is important to realize how dangerous long hours, short turnarounds and changing sleep patterns are to you and others around you. It's a fun job we have, but remember it's just a job, not your life.
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