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Old January 17th, 2007, 11:45 PM   #1
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On the set of "24"

So there I am running late because of freak weather in California. I pull up in the rain at the gard shack and is promply told to unload and then park on the street with the rest of the riff-raff.

Fast forward we set up in record time because of the great set lighting already in place. So fast I could not push the record button on my camera for the wide shot. So Jonathan Ames did it himself. Just call him"Director/Camera Op."

Then Rodney Charters the D.P. of "24" begain to speak, O.M.G. as they say the man conveyed so much wisdom in the short break from filmming. "Yes they use film on 24" It was, simply stated one of the best interviews I've shot/seen.

Picture this we are in the board room there. We are told we can only shoot from one direction. "The whole set is copyrighted" But as I stand there looking around, we are in the world of "24" How cool is that!!

Then after the interview Rodney takes us onto another set to see there cameras. I don't want to brag but we at www.2nd-unit.tv get to use the the Fuginon George Lucas 10X100 lens. Costs about $68.000 give or take.
So Rodney shows us the Panivision Camera with a $200.000 lens. "O.K.we don't have as big a budget"
According to Rodney shallow D.O.F. is everything. "I agree"

So check out the interview in the upcoming season of www.2nd-unit.tv.

Please give us a review of what you think.We are here to learn also.

Thanks so much,
Scott C. Chambers

Last edited by Scott C. Chambers; January 18th, 2007 at 04:27 PM.
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Old January 19th, 2007, 10:55 AM   #2
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One thing that comes out from the video, that will be posted today, is that Rodney Charters is not only a master at his art but he has the relaxed demeanor of a person who has a deep knowledge of what he talks about. Cinematography means a lot of different things to a different artists. For Rodney selective focus is the tool of choice in telling a story. It's fundamentally important and that's why they shoot "24" on film. He is not a film bigot by any chance. In fact he embraces high-end digital cinema, with Panavision's Genesis, or even DV-quality video when appropriate. He uses the tool of choice based on the need and his open-mindness and skills are what we should all aspire to achieve.
Case in point, after the interview he spent a couple of minutes in looking at our XDCAMS and lenses.

Jonathan and I love to disect TV shows and pick on the choice of camera movements and lights. There are shows out there, on prime time TV, where the focus, on standing subjects, is lost regularly, where cuts are made, inside a court house, just to show a pretty female face, with no motivation whatsoever. Where lights get misused and misplaced.

Seeing how Rodney keeps the show honest how he makes use of light, even natural light, and how the cameras are moved and kept sharply in focus even when hand-helded, is quite amazing.
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Old January 19th, 2007, 02:40 PM   #3
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Hi Guys

I look forward to seeing this... I've been checking in daily for updates and while the info on the F350 was cool... I'm never gonna be able to afford one...

So back to the nitty gritty... great stuff .. keep it up..

If I ever to cross the pond to California I'll take Jonathan up on his invitation from last year to visit you guys...

Cheers
Gareth
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Old January 19th, 2007, 05:14 PM   #4
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Never say never Gareth. 6 months ago I didn't think I would end up using this equipment. You never know.
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Old January 20th, 2007, 01:11 AM   #5
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I am getting very itchy

Come on guys I am getting very itchy to see the Rodney Charters interview. I love 24 Hours and find Rodney Charters work really fantastic. There's a good doco on the box DVD set of Season 5 of 24 Hours which looks at the camera people and work behind 24 Hours and Mr Charters gives a real down to earth great exchange of information and passion for what he does. Plus he's from my part of the world New Zealand even though I'm Australian. But thanks a thousand to you 2nd Unit guys great site and great info.
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Old January 20th, 2007, 12:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paolo Ciccone
Seeing how Rodney keeps the show honest how he makes use of light, even natural light, and how the cameras are moved and kept sharply in focus even when hand-helded, is quite amazing.
Perhaps you can answer a couple of questions about this?

Do they use a focus puller for handheld shots? Or does the camera operator do this? In either case, how is it handled?

How does the focus puller work with the steadicam operator? Do they use a Bartech? Or what equipment do they use?

Do they use any special techniques for pulling focus you wouldn't normally see on a movie set?

Do they measure focus for all the shots? Do they use an infrared device to get the distance? How do they set up the shots where one actor is in closeup and another actor is in a med. long shot?

Thank you for any info you have!
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Old January 20th, 2007, 01:23 PM   #7
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Rodney talks about this in the interview. But I'll tell you what I saw when Rodney took us into the Bunker set.

1st They had a hand held Panavision with distance radars on top and a handheld remote focus, Complete with tiny screen. Did not notice the brand. I'm sure its the same setup they would use for a Steadicam. Speaking of that Rodney showed us this glorified office stool with 8 legs on casters. That they use alot where the camera op sits on it and pushes himself around the set with his feet. We were told the seat can be raised and lowered and they use it more than a Steadicam.

2nd another Panavision camera again with radars on top. Mounted on a two seater dolly one seat for the camera op and the other for thr focus puller.

3rd we did not get to watch anything being shot.
But the way Rodney talked about the importance of the actors hitting there marks. I'm sure they pretty much measure every shot. Rodney was stressing how important focus was to the look of "24"

Hope this answears some of your questions,
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Old January 20th, 2007, 01:27 PM   #8
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Jack. They use a handheld camera, on the shoulder of the operator. To smooth it out while keeping the "handheld" feel they use "creeper" simila to the Pootie Skootie seen in "The Office". Focus is done with a Panavision radard remote unit. The unit, which looks like a set of Opera binoculars, measures the distance to the subject, this number is shown on a remote unit that the focus puller holds. He then turn a regular focus wheel where they marked all the distances. Rodney said that they extensively mark all spots on the set. They do extensve preparation before every shot.

Hope this helps.
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Old January 20th, 2007, 01:29 PM   #9
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Simon, I'm working on it now. It should go out today. I'm sorry for the delay but we are gearing up for the latest shot of "El Papel" (BTW, trailer at http://www.elpapelthemovie.com ) and yesterday we demoed it to possible buyers so we had to shift our schedule a bit.
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Old January 20th, 2007, 06:47 PM   #10
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Just saw the trailer and it looks like a interesing movie. Were the color effects done in post or did you shoot some scenes like at the beginning with a bleach look to it?
I thought the beginning could have been a little tighter but otherwise excellent job.
I hope to meet you guys soon I plan on heading over to LA in Febuary and love to help out on 2nd unit.
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Old January 20th, 2007, 06:55 PM   #11
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Thank you Joe.

Opening scene has no color correction, the gangsters fooling aroudn and trying to give to Juanito a machine gun had a Bleach Bypass grad, the bedroom scene is camera-only, no postprocess.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 11:08 PM   #12
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Ready

All right, it's on line. Sorry for the delay but we had a solid 14-hour day of shooting on "El Papel" yesterday and we were all exhausted today. It went very well, I got to do my first 360-degree shot with the Steadicam and it was a lot of fun.
The wisdom of Rodney Charters is now available in the first of a two-parter episode. As usual, available at www.2nd-unit.tv, click on "Current episode"

Enjoy!
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 09:07 PM   #13
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I was kinda laughing about this.... When I saw the trailer to El Papel, It has the line on there "Freedom as a choice" - I thought it was some quirky saying because you have the choice of 3 different ways to play the file....LOL
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 10:51 PM   #14
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Just for clarification, the "opera binoculars/radar" system is the Panatape, which uses sonar to measure distance. It can deliver the results to large LED readouts that are placed on the camera, or sent wirelessly to a remote readout or to the RDC unit which is Panavision's version of the remote lens (focus/iris/zoom) controller. Since the hand unit was described as having a tiny screen, it could be either the RDC or the new version of the Preston FIZ controller which just came out, replete with--tiny screen!
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 11:01 PM   #15
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Hey Charles thanks so much for the clarification! Long time no talk to, how are those 72hour film contestests going? Oh I almost forgot you would know me by my nickname over at DVXUSER is "Elvis" You know I work with 2nd unit now. Maybe we could do a show about you and your steadicam experiance's. For those of you that don't know, Charles is a mastor Steadicam Op. and has worked on all the top shows.
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