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when the director shay shake it


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#1 George Grammatikos

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Posted 08 July 2004 - 02:19 PM

Hi guys i have start a new tv serial project
the problem is that the director hate any locked frame
so imagine that even the tripod shots must be shake and NEVER lock the head
in the serial (85% steadicam shoots)when i must finished in a frame like an actor ,(here is the problem )ask for me to make litle pans and tilts so i never lock the frame )i steal him with litle track in and track out .
is this job big problem for me (i can not work in other productions ,bechause i work in this project five days a week for the next 6 months )
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#2 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 08 July 2004 - 04:51 PM

George,

Whatever the director wants, it's "his" show.

I know it's against everything we WANT to do as Steadicam operators, but I think we've all been there.
I've been on a couple shoots where the director wants a similiar thing. He'll say, "keep the camera moving at all times", or "shake it up a bit"

That's the worst, I always ask, "do you want to do it handheld then?"
And then you get the response, "no, I don't want that much motion, but I don't want it perfectly smooth either."

So, you do it on Steadicam and make it look like BAD steadicam.
I always ask for a disclaimer on that scene, something like, "Intentionally Bad Steadicam" flashing at the bottom. They haven't gone for it yet. :D

I actually had a show where on a few occasions they actually wanted me to rock the frame side to side to add "energy" to the scene.

What can you do really?
Sure it makes your work look bad, but if you want the work, you do what the director and DP want. And just hope nobody holds it against you, thinking you are unable to hold a steadicam STEADY.

My recommendation, unless they tell you otherwise, move the frame around enough so it's basically OBVIOUS that they wanted that. If you move it around just a tiny bit, it'll look like it was bad steadicam work. But don't move it around TOO much as to make the audience AWARE of the moving camera and sick from all the motion.

You gotta bite your tongue and just do it.
Have fun and good luck.
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#3 Fred Davis

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Posted 09 July 2004 - 12:20 PM

I always ask for a disclaimer on that scene, something like, "Intentionally Bad Steadicam" flashing at the bottom.  They haven't gone for it yet.  :D

Maybe a new credit: "Un-Steadicam"
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#4 Marc_Abernathy

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Posted 09 July 2004 - 05:38 PM

I always ask for a disclaimer on that scene, something like, "Intentionally Bad Steadicam" flashing at the bottom.  They haven't gone for it yet.  :D

Maybe a new credit: "Un-Steadicam"

or maybe a new Op term... "steadi-shake Operator"... <_<


when i see postings like this it always reminds me of the BTS footage i saw of a red hot chilli peppers vid. in one scene you clearly see the OP shaking the heck outta the Rig which was throwing himself off balance as if he were going to fall. the OP (bless his heart) was looking very silly trying to move his Rig and maybe a couple of secs of that actual video ever made it in the final video...
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#5 Larry McConkey

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Posted 10 July 2004 - 09:15 AM

The approach I use in these situations is to revert back to what started this whole trend which I believe was a style motivated by a desire to communicate great, somewhat undisciplined interest in the subject. Rather than arbitrary movement, which is what most of these copiers of the style have degenerated into, try being very interested in what is happening in the scene, and use what the actors are saying and doing to motivate responsiveness in your shot - look around with the camera as ideas occur to you or as actors divert their attention from one thing to another. Get a little too excited at times which can result in a geniune feeling of energy, somewhat amateurish and overcontrolled perhaps, but genuine in its intent. Try to find a reason and motivation for the movement rather than just random arbitrary movement. You may find an aesthetic that opens up new possibilities for yourself rather than feeling kind of frustrated at doing aimless movements. It's important to look beyond the simple directions that a director can often give you - why does he want the movement? What is he hoping to communicate? If you can't think of anything meaningful there, then come up with your own meaning for it... and then figure out how to translate that into the shot. At least you will be engaged in an interesting problem that way.

Larry
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#6 RonBaldwin

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Posted 11 July 2004 - 10:58 AM

I have worked on shows where I was asked for the dreaded vomit-cam. Dragnet was mostly handheld/steadicam, no dolly or sticks. To match the handheld we used crazy-long lenses on the steadicam (it was 16mm -- thank god -- but we were usually 50mm plus). It is challenging to deliver what we consider cool stuff on complex, fast moving shots on a 100mm or more. Better have a good focus puller. Don't forget that you can fake it to a certain extent, but they often can't. Go out of your way to help him/her out as much as possible because the assistants are really boned in situations like these.

It's a shame that the only people who really like to look at this crap are the directors and producers that do it. The audience is either changing channels or vomiting in the theater isles. It's hard to throw out all the skills you've worked so hard on for years. But atleast you're working...you could be sitting home on the steadicam forum like, uh, me.

Ron B
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#7 PeterAbraham

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Posted 17 July 2004 - 07:36 AM

I used to get asked to do this. Turns out, at least to me, to be a tricky thing to have to do all day.

Why? Because they wanted a shaky shuddering image with zero horizon roll. We've trained our hands to eliminate horizon roll, but usually with that comes very clean light hand work. Now we have to introduce more ham-fisted hand work- and still keep a clean horizon. It takes a lot of concentration, as it turns out. As Larry pointed out, there are ways to get through the day doing this where you are actively engaged in the emotion of the moment. Might as well be, because unless you throw all operating out the window, you are operating with great care, just not with great smoothness.

Peter Abraham, E.M.T.
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#8 George Grammatikos

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 04:12 PM

Hi Guys
Thanks for the advices, special thanks to Larry.

I use to make litle circle travelling (in an angle off 35degrees) and verry slow track in and out but the problem is that sometimes the time i must stay in the actor is much more than the track so i have to make again track out-in or travel back and i hate that bechause i dont like to make a movement and take it back (specially withaout reason ),for the moment i see it like a good workshop for very very slow movement,its a competition with myself for the slowest t and smoothest movement i can do
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