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#1 Philip J. Martinez SOC

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 08:11 PM

I just finished up a day on a reality TV show, they normialy have a Jib but the location was to small so they wanted a Steadicam.

My Titan Transvideo wirless system hardly worked at all. The controlroom had picture for 5% of the time I was rolling, I had the reciver in the room with me and a BNC running to the controlroom. Someone said wireless internet can affect microwave systems, is that true?

So no one was wataching my shot and no one was telling me what to shoot. It is reality and I have done quite a bit if it as a hand held op but this was the 1st time I used my rig on one. It was 2 people competeing, who was the better party planner and the rooms were rigth next to eachother. I did the POV walk through the party did some 360 but nothing was blocked so the timming was all off, I got lucky sometimes but more often then not I staeted a shot that just fell apart. Should I start blocking shots I might want to do at what point are you crossing the line and taking over the directors job (if I could ever get a job that had a director instead of a producer)

What do you do when no one is blocking the shot, say no to the job? I need the paying gigs but I feel like I made myself look bad and I really hope I did not let my friend down who got me the job.

Thanks,

Philip
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#2 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 05:52 PM

I just finished up a day on a reality TV show, they normialy have a Jib but the location was to small so they wanted a Steadicam.

My Titan Transvideo wirless system hardly worked at all. The controlroom had picture for 5% of the time I was rolling, I had the reciver in the room with me and a BNC running to the controlroom. Someone said wireless internet can affect microwave systems, is that true?

So no one was wataching my shot and no one was telling me what to shoot. It is reality and I have done quite a bit if it as a hand held op but this was the 1st time I used my rig on one. It was 2 people competeing, who was the better party planner and the rooms were rigth next to eachother. I did the POV walk through the party did some 360 but nothing was blocked so the timming was all off, I got lucky sometimes but more often then not I staeted a shot that just fell apart. Should I start blocking shots I might want to do at what point are you crossing the line and taking over the directors job (if I could ever get a job that had a director instead of a producer)

What do you do when no one is blocking the shot, say no to the job? I need the paying gigs but I feel like I made myself look bad and I really hope I did not let my friend down who got me the job.

Thanks,

Philip


Anything that is non-narrative (ie, event capture) is always going to be hit-and-miss no matter what the camera is mounted on. I wouldn't not take future jobs, but always register an audible request or concern about what may or may not happen without a little pre-planning. Once you do that, it's up to the suits to decide the parameters, so that if the shots are "off," you've at least warned them and can say "I told you so" afterwards instead of "I'm sorry."
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#3 Philip J. Martinez SOC

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 08:08 PM

Thanks for your reply

It was a fustrating day and I had far to heavy a weight cut for the camera, I made a P2 as heavy as a Sony F900
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#4 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 02:08 PM

Thanks for your reply

It was a fustrating day and I had far to heavy a weight cut for the camera, I made a P2 as heavy as a Sony F900


The majority of what I do is non-narrative, so after awhile, I guess you kind of find a "rhythm" as you attempt to foresee what the on camera talent may do next. Sometimes you guess right, sometimes not.

The "worst" I ever had it personally was for a reality show (the only one I've ever done) called Worst Case Scenario. If I remember correctly, I believe I had the rig up for 50 minutes straight :blink: as the contestants (firemen) ran through their challenge start to finish. Everyone was looking at the firemen with pity because of what they had to do, but I think I might have had it nearly as bad. One of the other cameramen for the day knew the deal and I got the sympathy I was looking for. ;) If I had to do it again, I'd figure out a way to break it up a little for myself.

But you know, "film" guys typically look at video operators and think that we have it so easy because the cameras are far lighter than a fully loaded handheld Panaflex. Sure, weightwise, it's no contest. But at most, a narrative film operator will have the thing on his shoulder for 4 minutes tops (typically) and then he dumps it off on an AC to take care of. Try having an F900 up for 30 minutes at a time or more. A fraction of the weight, of course, but more time can trump short-term weight easily. Ask my chiropractor! :unsure:
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#5 Charles Papert

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 02:20 PM

But you know, "film" guys typically look at video operators and think that we have it so easy because the cameras are far lighter than a fully loaded handheld Panaflex. Sure, weightwise, it's no contest. But at most, a narrative film operator will have the thing on his shoulder for 4 minutes tops (typically) and then he dumps it off on an AC to take care of. Try having an F900 up for 30 minutes at a time or more.


At this point, Bryan, nearly every film operator that I know has had to deal with video in some form or another, whether it's a film-style HD shoot or a concert shoot with the same configuration that you are referring to. There's no question that a long take is harder than a short one with heavier camera. What might be different is the degree of complication and finesse that is required on a film-style shoot; those 4 minutes are likely being scrutinized under a different microscope by director and DP such that the precision and timing involved is a far greater challenge mentally and/or physically for that time period, which is a major factor.

Without question, both styles of working present their own types of stresses.
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#6 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 04:04 PM

What might be different is the degree of complication and finesse that is required on a film-style shoot; those 4 minutes are likely being scrutinized under a different microscope by director and DP such that the precision and timing involved is a far greater challenge mentally and/or physically for that time period, which is a major factor.



To expand on what Charles said. I know that I'm more exhausted on a day that I'm doing shots on the 100mm lens for 3 mins a take then the days that I have done live events and been in the rig for one or two hours straight.
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#7 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 04:17 PM

But you know, "film" guys typically look at video operators and think that we have it so easy because the cameras are far lighter than a fully loaded handheld Panaflex. Sure, weightwise, it's no contest. But at most, a narrative film operator will have the thing on his shoulder for 4 minutes tops (typically) and then he dumps it off on an AC to take care of. Try having an F900 up for 30 minutes at a time or more.


At this point, Bryan, nearly every film operator that I know has had to deal with video in some form or another, whether it's a film-style HD shoot or a concert shoot with the same configuration that you are referring to. There's no question that a long take is harder than a short one with heavier camera. What might be different is the degree of complication and finesse that is required on a film-style shoot; those 4 minutes are likely being scrutinized under a different microscope by director and DP such that the precision and timing involved is a far greater challenge mentally and/or physically for that time period, which is a major factor.

Without question, both styles of working present their own types of stresses.



100% agreed! :) Except that my comment did come from actual conversations I've had with film Operators who like to tell me how much harder they have it than I do, until I remind them of the time element. Some film guys have crossed over, but in my experience, the vast majority of those who "grew up" in the film protocol have absolutely no clue what goes on with video/HD beyond believing that everybody out there is shooting news or for Entertainment Tonight. Look for an article in November's issue of ICG about the EPK Videographer (written by me) that will hopefully help to begin educating film-protocol crew about who we are and what we really do.

While I tend to enjoy the "freedom" that comes with the Videography world, at times it would be nice to have just a little direction from those who are getting the Directing credit. As many documentary cameraman would probably attest to, it is the Operator who is making the choices of when to turn the camera on and off, where to stand, which way to point, when to move in and when to back off. The non-narrative protocol essentially eliminates the need or usefullness of a third party Director standing over your shoulder making "suggestions." Things are happening on the fly and by the time a so-called Producer or Director tells you what to do, it's most likely over.

Part of the fun of what I do involves being thrown into sometimes seriously challenging situations, such as having to turn a white room that is too small into something interesting withing 30 minutes with me, my camera, 5 lights and a stick of gum. :D Although I do sometimes miss those days on set when we walked onto a set that was built for us, and time was given for blocking and proper setup.

In my own career, I've refused to shoot "down and dirty" news gathering. Sometimes full-on film production can be downright frustrating and honestly kind of boring a lot of the time. So I'm currently existing somewhere in the middle, where high quality is expected but with limited resources. Therein lies the challenge and the appeal, to make it look like a fully staffed film crew did it, but on an EFP budget.

The only question that really remains is when will Local 600 cover us? :unsure:
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#8 Charles Papert

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 07:18 PM

Well, it's probably the case that there are a certain number of operators who haven't been outside of the "bubble" by your definition. This being a Steadicam forum, I would say that within the subset of operators that specialize in Steadicam, perhaps we are more likely as a group to have crossed over at one time or another, being that calls come from all directions and even those who tend to work in features or episodic may also find themselves working on commercials, music videos, concerts and even reality shows--that's the nature of the specialty.

I guess my perspective as one who has bounced around through all of the above, and the white room/5 lights/stick of gum scenario as well, is that there are different but equal challenges in each and all. However the pressure in the high-end level of production is more than I've experienced elsewhere--knowing that a $200K production day with hundreds of extras hinges on the successful execution of a Steadicam shot is a pretty hefty burden, combined with having your frame under constant scrutiny with an expectation that you will not only get the shot "perfect" in just a few takes, that you can repeat it ad infinitum for performance purposes.

Outside of Steadicam, I think there is just as much to be said about the fatigue factor with handheld, since it is an unbalanced mass that is more likely to wear out individual muscles than Steadicam, all things being equal; plus the fact that it is possible to hold the rig steadier longer with Steadicam than handheld, where any little tremor will translate directly into the frame.

Anyway, between runaway production and NBC eliminating scripted television from the 8 p.m. hour in favor of game shows and reality TV, maybe a lot more of those snooty operators will be experiencing firsthand the scenarios you describe!!
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#9 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 07:51 PM

However the pressure in the high-end level of production is more than I've experienced elsewhere--knowing that a $200K production day with hundreds of extras hinges on the successful execution of a Steadicam shot is a pretty hefty burden, combined with having your frame under constant scrutiny with an expectation that you will not only get the shot "perfect" in just a few takes, that you can repeat it ad infinitum for performance purposes.



Amen Charles, That what I'm talking about when I say that I'm more exhausted doing scripted shows then the live ones.

Like you said when you have a high dollar day literally riding on your shoulders with a director that maybe you have to be a mind reader with the mental exercise can be exhausting.
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#10 Gus Trivino

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 01:42 PM

"...My Titan Transvideo wirless system hardly worked at all. The controlroom had picture for 5% of the time I was rolling, I had the reciver in the room with me and a BNC running to the controlroom. Someone said wireless internet can affect microwave systems, is that true?
So no one was wataching my shot and no one was telling me what to shoot..."

Hi Philip:
I don´t know what kind of location did you work, but somethimes, when the Director Monitor is far from the set and I have problems with the signal, I don´t leave the receptor on the rack of video assist.
I bring the receptor near to the Rig, where I am working.
Search 110V near to the set (or try to power the receptor with batteries- I made an Anton Bauer adaptor to power with 12V my Receptor), and from the receptor, a long bnc to the monitor.
This tip helped me a lot.
Best regards,

Gus.
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#11 thomas-english

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 06:12 PM

I find those scrappy shoots very very fustrating, I never "feel" I have nailed a shot, but you know what. It s their fault for wanting to do a reality type rubbish show. Just relax and shoot shoot shoot... It s what they want... peasants

I much prefer to do an intense 3 minute shot after another. funny though, I can handle solid steadicam music video s for 20 hours no problem with 2 minute take after another relentlessly but I really really feel the pain when doing a straight 50 minute live concert. My mind wanders because of my percieved lack of technical challenge/finesse and as my mind wanders the pain goblins waltz in as I start to hate the director and I have no control just to put the camera down for a glass of water...

We are built for different things. Those that society needs more are more attractive to the opposite sex, breed more and define the next generation of steadicam operators.
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#12 Matt Burton

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 08:26 PM

I did a feature film where I played the part of a reality show steadicam operator being filmed by the real film crew. Not only did I have the demanding reality stlye running around like a headless chicken to deal with but I also had the typical film stlye re-takes to deal with.
Good job I was with a 750 and the mk-v lite + 200 pole dancers B)
Posted Image
-matt
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#13 Philip J. Martinez SOC

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 03:51 PM

Hi All

Thanks for all the replys.

I guess it worked out, I just heard from the production company, they sound happy wit the shoot.

Thakns again,

Philip
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#14 Erik Brul

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 05:21 PM

Hi All

Thanks for all the replys.

I guess it worked out, I just heard from the production company, they sound happy wit the shoot.

Thakns again,

Philip


Good for you Philip !
At Matt, COOL Picture !

Erik
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#15 Kris Torch Wilson

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 11:14 AM

.

The only question that really remains is when will Local 600 cover us?

Brian.

what do you mean? If it's an IA shoot your covered. If you are waiting for our business reps to organize a job for you, you're in for a long wait. It is up to you/us not to take non union jobs or raise your non union rate 20%. This is how many of us have "encouraged" production to go IA

Kris
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