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#1 Lars Erik

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 02:17 PM

Hey there.

Bought my rig in December 2005, and had about 25 days of work with it so far. Have another 12 lined up, 5 of those days are on a feature.

I've done feature work before, but never on Steadicam. I used to DP a lot, but got interested in Steadicam and now do them both equally. On this feature I'm hired in as just Steadicam operator.

My question is a bit vague, maybe it is just a reaction of me being a bit worried since the feature came so fast. They know I've only been operating since December, but they say the shots aren't that complicated.

And I am getting better each day. :D

Anyway, is there like a certain advice you'd give to someone doing their first feature? Like remember to breathe or something... ;) As I said it's a bit vague but I'm probably looking for some words of comfort when I embark on this mission, quest, thing. Shooting on HD. (750)

Thanks for any comforting words.
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#2 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 01:35 PM

Don't F--k up!

No just kidding.

Ahh, the nerves of being a newbie. It can be intimidating.
Best advice, just relax as much as you can.
Give it 100% and know you are going to do the best job
you can.

Good luck.
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#3 Matias Mesa

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 09:35 PM

Don't b e a back seat DP. You were hired for steadicam, don't suggest any lighting tip to the DP. I've seen many of those steadicam/Back seat DP and they are a pain in the ass to deal with.

My two cents. Have fun, and relax, trust your basics.

Matias
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#4 Lars Erik

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 12:58 AM

Thanks guys. I'll be relaxed and not give advice on lighting and stuff. I'll let you know how I did.

LE
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#5 thomas-english

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 11:26 AM

Vis a vis back seat dp ing.

Definately don t back seat Dp but be attentive to the lighting situation. but it is your job to do a lighting check for shadows and the like before every shot. Don t make creative suggestions but I would always ask the Dp (quietly) if we can move a light a foot forwards or backwards to enable me to get a shot.

If in doubt speak to the Dp very quitely so nobody can hear, this way he does not feel like your publicly telling him what to do.

A back seat Dp is a nightmare but a polite thinking steadicam op. is very much appreciated.
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#6 jasondittmer

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 01:20 PM

Good Luck Lars,
Features are great as they tend to be longer projects and you get to develop a nice rythem and kinship with the crew.

My two cents. As on any job, make sure they don't have to wait on steadicam. If they have two bodies, great check with the AD and make sure you are ready to go when they call for you.

If they only have one body, then make sure you go to the prep. Throw everything up, make sure it works and is in the best configuration for you. Then.. make sure to mark everything so you know roughly where everything needs to be positioned to get a quick balance.

Finally and this is important, attitude is everything. If the shoot is going to hell in a hand basket and production is a junk show, and the negativity is buzzing around, remember how great this job is and how lucky we are to be doing what we are doing and try not to play into it. I think negativity shows in our work.

Again,

Good luck and keep me posted

Jason Dittmer
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#7 Gustavo Penna

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Posted 01 April 2006 - 01:20 AM

How old are you erick?

Just curious!!!!
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#8 geoff shotz

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 12:55 AM

erick- all the above is great advice, but the best is just remember to smile. you've got the job everyone else thinks is the coolest on set. and don't beat yourself up about small things. in the beginning, try to get past the gear and stay present and focused for the shot. every other dept. can blow takes or need another. you are no exception. about this movie, is it directed by petter naess or shot by svein krovel? if so, let me know. i'd love to send them a big hello. good luck.

geoff
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#9 thomas-english

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 08:36 AM

The other thing I make sure off on jobs like this.... I make sure that coming from steadicam to sticks is as fast as possible... super fast.. Like a race pitstop. Don t let the AC/2ndAC daudle as they do. Fast fast fast. going onto steadicam take your time and get things right not worrying too much if AD says "we are waiting for you" but coming onto sticks ..... get the sticks into position where the Dp wants them and that camera on it before he has time to think and light.

This way director/DoP never hesitate in going to sticks/dolly for a shot that needs it. Other wise you end up doing whole days where the director requests that steadicam static feel to it simply because he thinks its a big deal changing over.

If it s super16 or lightweight 35mm carry snap plates and request a lightweight follow focus. Change over 1 minute 30 seconds. Your back/knees will be pleased.

If its tape... have your own sony baseplate
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#10 jasondittmer

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 12:27 PM

Great advise,

What is a snap plate?

Sounds like something I would love to have.

JD
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#11 MarkKaravite

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 12:53 PM

A snap plate is basically an adapter that allows you to mount the camera on a head, without removing your Steadicam dovetail. I have the Baer Bel "Catgriller", which is a very simple device. It's great for speed when you are on a show with only 1 body. You're faster going onto sticks, and then back to Steadicam. Just don't try to use it for any insert car shots or situations where there may be vibration on a head.

For Lars, great advice above. Going to prep, even if they don't pay you for it, is a great idea. Get all of your equipment issues handled before you ever get on set. Then you can concentrate on operating, and not look bad taking too much time setting up. Here's a few feature tips:

1) In prep, talk to the 1st AC, and make sure they have all needed Steadi accessories: 100% video, low mode brackets, Steadicam mags, downconverters for HD, etc... Ask the AC his preference on follow focus. If you have a Bartech, and he prefers FIZ, that can be rented. Just make sure you have the correct mounting bracket & power cable.

2) Watch all rehearsals, even if Steadicam is not planned. Stay in tune with what is being filmed. You never know when the Director or DP will change their mind at the last minute, and decide to use Steadicam. You want to have your mind in the game for that call, not sleeping in the truck.

3) Sweep the shot. Before you rehearse with 2nd team, walk the shot's path. Clear the scene of any equipment in the frame, lens flares, camera shadows, boom issues, etc... Work with the gaffer, key grip & boom op to remedy these issues well before it's time to go. As wisely stated before, worry only about technical issues with the lighting, not aesthetic ones.

4) During lighting (near the end), do a couple rehearsals with 2nd team. Make friends with the AD, and let him know ahead of time that you would like 1 or 2 with 2nd team. This way, when 1st team arrives, their first take is your 3rd or 4th, and you have some muscle memory in place for the shot. Most people's first take is not their best.

5) Trust yourself. Even though you may be new to Steadicam, it's not your first week on a set. If you tell yourself "I hope I don't blow this shot", you'll blow it. If you tell yourself, "I'm going to nail this one", chances are you will.

6) If time given, get feedback from the DP between takes. Many DP's like to make little modifications to the shot from take to take. Keep what he liked from the previous take, and add his request into the shot.

7) You mentioned it was an HD shoot. Remember that a HD camera body is very long, and it's inertia pans slower than a film body. Anticipate any whip pans or quick moves with this in mind.

Enjoy yourself. Steadicam is not only perceived as the best job on the set, it is. Let us know how it goes.

Good luck,

Mark Karavite
A Camera / Steadicam Op
mkaravite@comcast.net
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#12 Lars Erik

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Posted 13 April 2006 - 03:35 PM

Hey guys,

thanks for all the replies. I had to turn down the offer due to different jobs. But the DoP is Ole Bratt Birkeland. I've posted elsewhere on the forum that they are interested in a operator w/rig. Check out the jobs forum.

Thanks for all the great replies.

Lars E
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