View Full Version : Busy Times for 2nd Unit
June 30th, 2006, 10:58 PM
JL- First, congrats on the move. You guys and your work deserve it. Second and the most important part. I saw your re-cut. If you meant to teach me a lesson, it worked. Your friend Paolo I understand is an FCP user and you turned what you did over to him with Adobe Premiere and asked him to recut your "lousy attempt at editing". When you and I first met, you played down your talent, your role and just about every other thing about yourself and said, "I'm just a producer trying to make good shows that make a difference in peoples lives." I'll never forget that. It was at HD Expo. I have to tell you Jonathan, what you and Paolo are doing, what you stand for is everything this industry should be. The second version that Paolo did took into consideration every recommendation people on this forum made and I for one appreciate it. Your version wasn't that bad but you'll never berlieve that so all I can say is what Paolo did is simply amazing. I for one will be back every week to see what your guests have to say. Thanks Jonathan and Paolo and if no one else says it, let me. You guys are a class act. And if Paolo can make that much of a change the first time out with Adobe Premiere, I'm sold. You probably did more to sell Adobe in one week than all their magazine ads did in a year. You're a class act guys.
June 30th, 2006, 11:19 PM
Thank you Joyce, much appreciated. You know, once and editor, always an editor :)
FCP and Premiere have their own strength and weaknesses, the programs are pretty similar and I like that they standardized some of the keystrokes.
I particularly appreciated some of the audio effects of Premiere, particularly the ability to fill one channel with the other channel (Fill Right/Left) and to conver tto Mono without having to use an external program.
July 2nd, 2006, 05:05 PM
I made an omission in the credits for Episode 1 and 2. Sound for the George Spiro Dibie videos should have been credited to Tip McPartland. Tip, I'll rectify this asap, I had it in the card but I didn't save it before exporting the video. Just a dumb editing mistake.
I apologize for that.
July 2nd, 2006, 07:17 PM
We have scheduled Paolo for a whoopin' Tuesday from 0900 - 0930. Tickets go on sale Monday!
July 3rd, 2006, 05:07 PM
I just received the video piece from VMS, Joyce, Kathy and Company's company who took it on themselves to produce an entire episode for us. These are people of DVInfo who have struck out on their own and are starting with a Rolodex comprised of 13 years or so of working at Warners and two good clients. They did it because 4th of July weekend is a long one and we did not want to interrupt anyone's family time with a regular shoot. But they insisted that it was a good idea to keep the shows debuting on schedule and I reluctantly agreed with them. From Saturday to today they shot, edited and delivered the first cut of the show on Polarizing filters, HDTV filters and Warmking filters typically called 812s. This is a credit where credit is due site and I wanted to make special note of their efforts and thank them for the hard work it took to put this together. It'll be debuting Wednesday at 8:00pm as usual and I'm pretty certain Paolo's nailing down the QT files and I'll be handling the fully downloadable ones. Next up is the i-Pods so please be sure and take a look at Wednesday's show on Polartization. I guarantee you one thing, you'll come away with a mucg clearer understanding of filters in general and polarization specifically that you'll be able to use to help get more out of your camera. So again, thanks to VMS for their work this week.
July 3rd, 2006, 06:06 PM
Man, I can't look away for a day or two and you come up with another episode. Very cool, can't wait to see it.
July 4th, 2006, 11:14 AM
I received this message via e-mail and thought it important enough to post. It's from a long-time DVInfo member and serves to illustrate just what a family Chris Hurd has built here and what we're all about. I've omitted his or her name until he or she contacts me and says it's OK to post that but the importance lies not in who sent the message but in the feelings it conveys. Add another member to the family of 2nd Unit.
I noticed that you used one of my postings from DVInfo on your web page. To be honest, at first I felt like a bit of an [*##*@$#] much the same way I felt the day after rereading my post to you. I know honesty is what you want and I felt, minus a few harsh words, that is what I gave you. The truth is I want your show to be a success and it is with this wish that I would like to offer to help, if you want it. I am Location Managing a TV Movie for Marvista in Vancouver, currently, and was wondering if you would like me to shoot some interviews with our Lighting Dept. and some B-Roll of their set-ups for you to use on your show? I shot their EPK on the last show I did for them and they were real happy with it- especially cause I did it for free, which I'd be happy to do for you. If you are interested send me a list of the kinds of things you would want me to shoot and maybe some questions you'd like asked. If not, no offense taken and perhaps another time in the future.
It's people like this that serve to keep me in this business because anyone who knows the entertainment industry knows that, for some weird and messed-up reason, it seems to thrive on destroying people and their repitations, most times just for fun. So to this person I say welcome aboard and I know everyone else working with us joins me. We should be geting some great, candid stuff from "Mr. or Mrs. Smith" in the near future and I thank him or her wholeheartedly for his or her candor and time in thinking about us and what we're doing here and in writing to me. Time is short on a show, believe me, and the mere fact he or she took the time to write never ceases to humble me.
July 5th, 2006, 04:41 PM
We finally managed to finish a first round of tests and compression settings for QuickTime and we have Episode 2 online. Just go to the page, a new link is available that delivers a high-quality QuickTime, H.264 video.
As with much of 2nd Unit, this is pretty much esperimental so, please, let us know if you have any problems in playing this file, so that we can improve the show.
For this file you'll need QuickTime 7.x. If you have the current version of iTunes installed, Windows or Mac, you're all set.
July 6th, 2006, 08:21 AM
One of our friends, and earliest supporters, Rodney Charters, gas been nominated for an Emmy this morning for Outstanding Cinematography in 24. How great is that? Rodney will be on the show later this month when he returns from Toronto and his current shoot doing Kiefer Sutherlands Rock Band video.
July 6th, 2006, 08:56 AM
One of our friends, and earliest supporters, Rodney Charters, gas been nominated for an Emmy this morning for Outstanding Cinematography in 24. How great is that? Rodney will be on the show later this month when he returns from Toronto and his current shoot doing Kiefer Sutherlands Rock Band video.
Very cool! Don't know him yet but... Congratulations Rodney!
July 15th, 2006, 04:17 PM
Next up in the 2nd Unit schedule is David Tatersall and his team from Con Air and Star Wars. We're shoting that show this coming Wednesday at 2 and we're looking for assistants so anyone interested in working the shoot, please PM me and we'll work you in. I mean, hiow often do you get to work with a legend so let me know who wants to shoot this and I'll make arrangements. Again, it's set for Wednesday at 2 in Hollywood. 2nd unit is all about bringing shows to those who can't make it to Hollywood but also it's about introducing indeendent filmmakers to the giants of our industry by allowing them to work with people like Tatersol and company. I look forward to your responses.
July 17th, 2006, 01:18 PM
Long time filter manufacturer Tiffen has just notified us that they'll be joining 2nd Unit as a full sponsor of the show. Why is this important? Two things. One, Ira Tiffen wrote the book on filtration...so much so that the Cinematographer's Bible, the "American Cinematographer Manual" carries a full chapter on filtration written by Ira which shows the depth of this company's and this individual's knowledge and commitment to quality optics; simply stated, Ira wrote the book on filtration and everyone turns to it. We certainly did well before they became a sponsor. Second, the company is fair. If you recall, in Episode 3 we did a piece on filters that said, "Filtration is a personal choice and you don't need to select Tiffen as your choice. They're simply ours." Letting us use their filters, review them very, very publicly and allowing us to be honest about the results all shows the honesty and integrity that permeates the company. They said, "Here are our filters. Use them, abuse them, return them and let us and the world know what you think." Now that's professionalism.
2nd Unit is committed to educating the filmmaking public on filmmaking. The selection of tools is completely up to the viewer but you can't pick the right hammer so to speak for the job if you don't know as much about the hammer and the job as possible. That's our job; to explain the issues that are filmmaking and the tools that are available to help you get the job done and let you make the decision. Our decision to move to Sony and Mac as an example is our personal decision and we'll be reporting on all the reasons why. Whether you move to or select Sony and Mac is up to you like it is with Tiffen but, through 2nd Unit and people like Jody Eldred, at least you'll know what the Sony 350 and 330 and the Power Book Pro are all about.
So that's it. Exciting news that a company with Tiffen's standing would elect to sponsor our show. We're raising our sodas right now around here in a toast. At 5:01 it'll be a beer or something!
August 14th, 2006, 10:40 AM
Usually I don't post things like this because so many DPs, directors and the like in Hollywood view 2nd Unit weekly but Rodney Charters, well, he's different. A wonderful person I had the priovilege of meeting through a guy by the name of Taylor Wigton a few months ago, Rodney and I have become good friends since that first meeting in Canada... to the point that if it's crap he'll say so without fear of offending me. Rodney's a good one for not pulling punches and that's exactly why I'm posting this. We must be doing something right! And for those of you who think working a show is all glamour, check out the fact he's working 'till 3:30 and 4:30 IN THE MORNING on "24"!!! That's insane but that's the business.
Subject: Re: Re:
Date: August 14, 2006 8:29:33 AM PDT
Jonathan Hi we all went off immediately after I emailed you and yes we did make it to the Grove but I did not get to your email until monday morning. We were thrown off the train an hour early 3:30am instead of 4:30am on saturday and today will be much scambllng to decide how to proceed. Next week on saturday is the Creative Emmy's with a Kodak bash on Friday which I am trying to get to.
I have watched more of the interviews online. They look great and are stuffed with useful information even for me. great work getting this thing going.
August 17th, 2006, 10:34 AM
2nd Unit will be shooting at Birns and Sawyer tomorow, Friday, August 18th from 9:30 to about 6. The show's topic is the Tiffen Steadicam and will include noted pro operator Peter Abraham whose class on the unit is scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday, August 19 and 20. If you're in the Hollywood area around Sunset and Vine, stop in and say hello to the crew and see why Birns and Sawyer has been Hollywood's leading equipment supplier for more than half a century. We'll be at their brand new building at 6381 De Longpre Avenue which is one block South of Sunset and one block West of Vine.
August 20th, 2006, 09:17 AM
I was recently asked for some advice which isn't new but this young filmmaker really has his stuff together. He asked for help, not for a handout and that's rare (except here on these forums where I truly get 4 times the e-mail than we do the postings because of "personal matters" they want to know about). Everyone who's read this one wants me to post my response and so I will because it's the story of all of us. I hope you all get something out of it like I do this forum.
That's the spirit...the spirit of a true entrepreneur filmmaker. You MUST remember those convictions and keep them close through your journey. I don't want to sound like some old swami but I've been in this business along time and I have to tell you the overnight success doesn't happen. You must stay working and let the results speak for themselves but you need to toot you own horn, with a towel stuffed in the end, every once in awhile. I want you to get a mental picture of a prairie dog hunkered down in his hole working, working, editing, working, work-work-work. And very once in a while, he whips out a bugle, stuffs a towel in the end, pops his head up out of his hole, blows an alert and quick, ducks back dow. Then he pops his head back up out of the hole and looks around to see if anyone notices. I want you to take a moment and get that mental picture because your idea of getting a PR firm and they do all the tooting and you do all the working worries me. You have to do both. Always. And don't let some PR firm define you alone. Get big, get a firm if you want but own your destiny. But before that happens, you have to work, refine, work, refine, light, shoot, scrap, re-light, shoot, re-scrap and always keep popping your head up, blowing your quick tune to see if someone notices and then get back to work...even when you see someone turn around and notice you. Chances are someone will. Then they'll walk over, look down the hole, see you typing away on a script and say, "Hey, look what I found!!! It's a script-writing, movie-shooting, prairie dog. Don't kill it. Let's put it on stage. People will pay to see this thing!" And then you're off. It sounds silly but I'm deadly serious. Stop smiling, think about it seriously for a minute. OK, no go back to smiling because it's funny and you remember funny things and I want you to remember it. Just think of yourself as that little prairie dog. And unless your uncle or father heads a major studio, we're all prairie dogs throughout our career. The only thing that changes is that the holes get bigger and the light gets better. And we better keep on thinking of ourselves that way and producing or pretty soon, we'll be of no entertainment value to the farmer who found us because if we ever lose value to that farmer, it's wham!..back out the door we go to dig out own new hole. And then what happens? The answer is, "Start typing." You're in a new hole and you need a new script!
August 22nd, 2006, 10:46 AM
The business of 2nd Unit is to separate the wheat from the chafe so to speak and help the independent filmmaker get the most for his or her buck. Such was the case here where last weekend, Paolo was sent to the Steadicam school by Tiffen, a major sponsor of 2nd Unit which, if I may boast a little, really understands the value of 2nd Unit. In addition to all the other support we receive from them, as owners of the Steadicam, they are providing us with a complete unit and sent one of our guys to school last weekend which, as I found out, is an indispensible tool if you're going to have success with the Steadicam shots. Here then is the e-mail I received from Paolo today who took the class and reflects on it...uncut and uncensored. It is what it is.
So the class ended with a great array of exercises, from the outdoor shoot that you saw, to some scenes that we tried inside with switches while filming and movements to follow the "actors" as they sit down/get up, walk toward you etc.
The Steadicam can do miracles but there is no way you can master it without the workshop. Or, to be more precise, there is, but you probably don't want to spend 10 years just tring to figure out what people know nowadays. Keep in mind that the acceptable standards have evolved since the first shoot on "The Shining". What we expect today from the Steadicam is shots that are almost as smooth as dolly shots but with the added flexibility of going around tight corners, something that you cannot do even with a careful planning of dolly tracks.
Peter is clearly a master, not only in using the device but also in designing the shots and it was a pure pleasure to see a pro at work.
One of the attendees, Tom, told me that he worked for about 12 years as camera operator with George Dibie. At the end of the class we all took a test. The test was a planned shot that we all had to learn and execute. We had one walk-through and one chance to do it. We taped all shoots and then watched the tape all together. Equal level of embarrassment for all :)
Actually Tom commented very positively on my shot and I have to say that it was, surprisingly, one of the "cleanest" of the series, something that makes me feel pretty good since all the other attendees have a lot of experience. Framing and horizon where there.
It's pretty clear though that no matter how much experience you have as a cameraman, when you are overwhelmed by the multitude of things that you need to control with the Steadicam, even the pro gets the subject out of frame, looses the horizon etc. It was fun but quite the humbling experience for all of us.
My take on this is, if I had to pay $500 of my own money for it, I would have felt that that was one of my best investments in my ongoing career as a filmmaker. The 2-day workshop should be a required class for every DP, cameraman and director. Just to understand what the Steadicam can do and to give you a clear appreciation for the amazing skills that a master Steadicam operator has.
The Peter to whom he refers is Peter Abraham who is a master Steadicam operator with tons of professional camerawork for big name studios under his belt. If you're considering using the Steadicam, consider investing in his class. Our take on the issue is this; With tons of inexpensive HD cameras on the market, everyone is a filmmaker these days. Your film needs something to really set it apart from the rest. That unit, the shots you get with it and your experience after the class will separate your film from the masses so quickly it'll make your head spin...literally.
The Steadicam Workshops
6 Lake Street - Box 164
Monroe New York 10950
August 22nd, 2006, 12:36 PM
Wow, just when I was thinking about posting something about my Steadicam experience, Jonathan beats me to it.
One thing that I'd like to add is about cost considerations for the budget-conscious filmmaker. I know that there are other solutions out there and in fact, during Cinegear, Jonathan and I tested some Steadicam competitors. It was good to have two days to use the Steadicam and to talk with Peter, since he is one of the contributors to the design of the Flyer. There is much more to the final product than the stabilizing elements. Tiffen's Steadicam is a system that includes many components and it's designed to be used in several different situations. The placement of the monitor, battery pack, the routing of the cables, the electronics used to power the camera (above), from the battery pack placed below, the adjustment of the arm at the vest (forward/backward and side-to-side), all these elements determine if you'll be working or fighting with the gear. As mentioned in my email, the Steadicam can be very challenging. I asked Peter how long it takes to become proficient. His answer was: "if you practice one hour every day, in two months you'll be mediocre". You don't want to add problems to this. You don't want a sub-standard system that makes you kick the battery, doesn't have the right adjustment for the arm or that drops the gimbal when you do whip the camera side-to-side (it all happened with other systems).
The Flyer, usable with most of HDV cameras and some 35mm Arris, is priced competitively and Tiffen offers financing. You can easily get $250.00 a day for the rental of the gear when you get hired as a Steadicam operator. The original Steadicam is the one device that was awarded a full Oscar as one of the technological breakthrough in motion pictures.
All these elements, to me, make the original Steadicam the only candidate for a stabilizing system. If I had to buy one I would do all I can do to get the one and only Steadicam. I know I sound like a commercial but, people who know me know that I don't endorse poducts that I don't like. It's just that I think that a Steadicam system, like a good matte box, will serve you for years ahead and it will add so much to your video/film vocabulary that you'll wonder why you didn't make the investement before.
I was so impressed by what the Steadicam can do that I would love to shoot an entire feature with it or at least 90% of the scenes. When you master it you can land to a lock off position that is as good as a tripod with maybe just enough dynamic tension to look more interesting.
September 1st, 2006, 02:47 PM
I know everyone loves Zeiss lenses and I must admit I like them as well but the fact of the matter is Fujinon makes some really great glass as well which is why we use so much of it on the JVCs. How proud am I then to be able to announce that Fujinon has come on board along with Sony providing its full array of prime lenses from 5mm to 20mm, to 2nd Unit for our upcoming docudrama El Papel. The primes will be fitted directly to the Pro35 which is fitted directly to the adapter ring which is finaly set to the new Sony F350. Principle photography for El Papel starts on October 1st and we'll be using Fuji glass on the 350s for the entire second season of 2nd Unit which starts shooting next week after the long 3-day weekend. On behalf of our entire cast and crew, thank you Fujinon for your belief in the future of independent production and trusting 2nd Unit's commitment to the 150,000 independent filmmakers who call dvinfo.net and other forums home. Your glass will make a big difference in the quality of our productions and enable us to better explain how important good glass is to good production.
September 7th, 2006, 06:58 PM
One of the reasons we put this site together and keep the team going which, with the number of people wanting to get on the crew is fairly easy, is the caliber of people we get. Meet DA IRY (everyone on the crew at some time gets a nickname). He's a graduate of the University of Kentucky School of Film and here to make his mark. On his own he shot some sidefilm and edited a short piece together just for fun. And I thought it was great. Welcome to the team DA-IRY. Welcome to the team. You're on for the docudrama if you want the shot. Why? Simnple. Initiative. Yeah, you know what you're doing but initiative is the main reason. You really like what you do, we're going after an Emmy with this production and you'll be a great addition to a team you fit right into already. So, say the word and the shot is yours.
September 8th, 2006, 10:59 AM
Mission Impossible 3, Domino, The Skeleton Key, Pleasantville, Shanghai Noon, Indipendence Day and many, many more. Bruce McCleery, gaffer and cinematographer, has worked on all these movies. As you can guess, he's a very busy man but, as it happened with other Hollywood pros, Bruce has donated generously his time to sit down with "2nd Unit" and freely talk about what it takes to work professionally in the movie industry.
Here it is, not your moment of Zen, but the first part of Bruce's interview: http://www.2nd-unit.tv. Part 2 will be posted next Friday.
September 8th, 2006, 12:41 PM
Another great job, guys! Keep it up!
September 10th, 2006, 09:08 AM
thanks for the nice thread Jonathan.
September 16th, 2006, 08:45 AM
Sorry for the "No Posting" time but these are eceptionally busy times for 2nd Unit. We've had to deal with Amsterdam, gearing for the Second Season of 2nd Unit, the upcoming docudrama and working a joint venture with IFF. But by far the most time consuming is the growth. So, by Monday, everyone will be back in the saddle and up and running. Paolo, though, has been consistent in weekly episodes on www.2ndUnit.tv with Episode 11 now available and we'll have the filter deal worked out with Tiffen that I know a few of you are waiting for. It's nice to know we were missed!!!
September 16th, 2006, 10:38 AM
Part 2 of the interview with Bruce McCleery is out! Bruce shares even more experiences about shooting great movies like Pleasantville, Domino, The skeleton key. His explanation of changing key lights is simply an eye opener.
To play the interview simply clock on "Current episode" and, if you want to watch part 1, click on the "Past episodes" page and scroll to the bottom.
September 16th, 2006, 04:06 PM
Well look how far you guys had come from the dream of 2nd unit to many more seasons and a docudrama and lets not forget the champion shooting shows. Its great to watch you guys grow.
And for Paolo, my hats off to you for all the hard work you have put in on 2nd unit and that goes for ALL THE CREW.
My truck is gassed up, camera loaded and I am ready for a call to come on down and help. I would just drive over but not sure where to go or hook up with you guys.
September 16th, 2006, 05:23 PM
Thank you Joe, all the people in the crew work hard and yes, it's pretty amazing to look back and see what happened in the such short time. Proof that when you put all your energy and passion into something you can achieve a lot.
Hope to see you soon on the set of "2nd Unit"
September 18th, 2006, 10:28 AM
In conjunction with Tiffen Filters, 2nd Unit has put together a few Filter Sets that will enable the cinematographer to better control the images created with today’s advanced technology-laden cameras. The initial set described here is designed to enable your basic control over images entering the lens and successive sets are specific to your task and shooting requirement.
While most kits begin by including a clear filter, the 2nd Unit kit doesn’t because, well, it’s not a filter; that is, it really doesn’t do anything other than filter out hard objects from your soft glass lens. In short, we just assume that you have already taken the precautions necessary to protect your lens surface from scratches and other damage that occur in everyday life. Why lens manufacturers don’t include clear covers has always been a curiosity to me because protecting your $3k to $30k investment with $30 piece of glass seems so basic. Now, that said, there’s a lot more to glass than “clear” and while you can certainly get “protection” from a $5 glass cover, that doesn’t mean you can shoot through it. All glass isn’t created equally so when you’re selecting that clear protector, make sure it adds nothing to your subject image; no color, no distortion, no nothing. Tiffen’s glass has been the Hollywood standard for more than 60-years which is why 2nd Unit uses it in all of our productions. They use the same clear glass for their protectors that they use for every one of their award-winning filters so we can be sure that, when the scene calls for no filtration, leaving the Tiffen protector on has no impact on the image. Just remember to remove the clear protector when adding a true filter.
Figuring you already have a clear filter, the basic 2nd Unit kit is comprised of three filters. because at the foundation level, your concern should be generally controlling the amount and quality of light that comes into your camera thus allowing for continuity across shots.
1) These filters, which are either circular or linear depending on whether you have a newer “automatic” or older “manual” type lens, are the Swiss Army knives of the cinematographer’s tool kit. This is because they don’t just do one thing but a few things and they all have to do with how we perceive objects. First, we don’t so much “see” an object as we do observe the light waves that are reflected from it. Thus, an image, as we perceive it, is the product of light waves reflected from the object and each object absorbs some light waves and reflects others. By removing errant light waves or reflected light waves that are not parallel to each other and thus don’t fully contribute to our perception of that image, we are able to perceive the image more clearly. Some of these errant light waves are responsible for things like “glare” so using a filter that eliminates these errant light waves eliminates the glare. This removal which is most notable when shooting things like the sky and most pronounced when shooting reflective surfaces like water and glass also deepens the colors and enhances the entire visual experience.
2) The filter also reduces the amount of light entering the camera by 1.5 to 2 stops and so the polarizer acts like an additional Neutral Density (ND) filter. All lenses have a “sweet spot” or a usable gamut of stops within which the camera records the best possible images. This is despite the fact that the shooter can record images when their lens is showing “16” on one end or “1.4” on the other. Staying in the sweet spot results in better tonal images so having a filter that enables the shooter to keep the image in the sweet spot results in better images.
The 812 Warming Filter
While many people think warming filters are all the same, THEY ARE NOT. Typically used for scenic, portrait, travel and to improve the color rendition of different brands of lenses, they come in a number of varying strengths and tonal qualities. Further, they affect different lenses differently so if you’re not using a consistent set of lenses like the Fujinon set of primes, and are mixing say a Canon zoom and a Fuji prime, you’re going to see different colors.
The filter does exactly what it says it does and that is ads a warming color to the scene, especially skin tones which is beneficial when adjusting for overcast days. As some people say, it gives your shots that “California look”. Further, the filter absorbs blue light so shots requiring flash in still photography for example appear more natural. As we’re more concerned with moving pictures, this characteristic allows dark-skinned characters to lose that bluish tone top their shin and, in Hi-Def, this cast is apparent not only with Afro-Americans but Hispanic, Indian and other dark skin tones as well.
While you may think that the skin tone aspect of the filter is the most important, it’s not. Independent filmmakers typically shoot when and where they can and their budget allows. This translates, more times than not, into a continuity problem. You may be shooting one day and it’s bright and sunny and the next opportunity you have it’s overcast. Even though you may not be shooting against the sky providing a physical reference, the tonal qualities of the light surrounding your subject have changed and thus the mood and overall tone of the shot. This is where the 812 comes in. The 812 is a mild warming filters which means there are intensities above and below this line. However remember, we’re building a base filter kit here to address the basic filmmaking needs and the 812 is a perfect balance for most shots. Finally, a word to the wise. While Tiffen manufactures a line of filters that combine their ProMist for example with an 812 into one filter, these are specialty filters and thus are used when you’d like to use both filters at once. This is a luxury available only after you’ve built a kit and need to combine filters to save space in your matte box. Typically matte boxes have two slots to hold filters. If you need three, you’re in trouble. By combining the 812 with another filter, you get a 2-fer filter and thus can slip the third filter into the second slot. If you’re creating complex shots like this, you’re way past the basic level in filters anyway so you’ve already got the basic kit we’re describing here. So stick to the basics for now and add an 812 to your tool chest. You’ll use it more times than you know.
See Part 2 Next
September 25th, 2006, 08:25 AM
Hollywood. The word that is recognized all around the world as the capital of movie-making. In Hollywood, Birns & Sawyer is a well recognized name in the entertainment industry. Founded more than 50 years ago, Birns & Sawyer has been a staple of the industry, visited by scores of professional cinematographers, including members of the ASC. The reason? Very simple. Birns & Sawyer doesn't simply rent or sell the equipment. They help you figure out how a given camera can work for your next feature. The people at the store will guide you through camera tests, help you achieve a special look in camera, etc. And when you're done, you can see your footage on a 2k HD monitor.
But it doesn't end there. Birns & Sawyer provides professional, accredited training at their facilities. An example has been a two-day Steadicam workshop given by Master Steadicam Operator Peter Abraham. Peter learned the craft from the inventor of the Steadicam himself, Garrett Brown, and applied his mastery to endless features, including high profile projects like "Sex & the City" and "The Sopranos" as well as live events including the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, and hundreds of commercials and music videos. His work has been nominated for 4 Emmy Awards. Pretty cool that Birns & Sawyer can bring this kind of talent into their store for demos and classes. The workshop is taught in two days and it's worth every penny. I tried to use the Steadicam on my own on Episode 10 (“Fisher Lights”), and not only it was a near-disaster but my back killed me! After taking the workshop I finally understood the nature of the device and my Steadicam shots improved dramatically. Thanks to Tiffen for sponsoring the "2nd Unit" training, and to Peter Abraham for being such a dedicated teacher.
Anyway, before the workshop we had the fortune to sit down with Steve Tobenkin, COO and General Manager of Birns & Sawyer. Steve helped us understand the services that his company provides to the industry and how Birns & Sawyer helps cinematographers, from the no-budget indie to the established professional, achieve their cinematic goals.
These are the topics covered by Episode 12, available now at the "2nd Unit" website.
October 13th, 2006, 11:22 PM
We're about to start El Papel and I wanted to drop a short note to the viewers who hit this forum and our website downloading thousands of episodes every week. You and your support have made El Papel possible and I wanted to thank you all. We're looing forward to another great season in Season 2 and the El Papel production as well and will keep you all up to date on it's progress. I'll be posting all about the production as it occurs here so stay tuned. it all kicks off Wednesday the 25th at Birns and Sawyer where Geprge Spiro Dibie, Sony and I will be talking about why we selected the new F350 instead of the 900 series and how we're using them in conjunction with Fujinon's glass including the George Lucas 10X10 and a great set of primes. Chuck Lee of Fujinon was going to be there but he won't be in LA until the 26th so the three of us will have to do. I truly hope that the readers of 2nd Unit and this forum in LA and Sounthern California will stop by and say hi. It'll be fun and loaded with alot of informative discussions.
October 14th, 2006, 11:28 AM
Congrats, Jonathan. I'm sure that El Papel will be a great hit!
Keep us updated!
October 24th, 2006, 08:27 AM
After an unbelievable Season 1, Season 2 starts November 1st after a 2-week hiatus after Season 1. We'll be publishing the schedule in the next few days and I wanted to thank all of you for your support. It's provided a basis for wonderful support form corporate America and led to discussions of a cable show that start next week. If there are any people you'd like to see here, let us know and we'll do our best to get them on.
October 24th, 2006, 06:35 PM
I said a few post back that your show should be on a cable channel. Thats great. What are the plans for a dvd? If I can work out a schedule I still would love to come out for a shoot.
October 24th, 2006, 07:07 PM
Funny how things keep going without you. The crew here was split to take care of both 2nd Unit and El Papel and Paolo took the reins of 2nd Unit. When he said he was going to not miss a beat between seasons, I told him to take at least a week. Today, find that the team in fact didn't take a break and continued to pump out quality shows putting us in Week 3 of Season 2 already. Thank you, Paolo. My team's head's been down prepping for the feature we start next week and it's great to know I'm really not needed. Now that's what I call a quality company.
October 24th, 2006, 07:09 PM
We'll be moving to create the Season 1 DVD after we complete prin ciple photography on El Papel in early December. We've had alot of interest in these and I'll make sure you're first on the list.
October 27th, 2006, 08:48 PM
You're welcome J :)
November 1st, 2006, 10:09 AM
We all know how AfterEffects is the industry standard for compositing. The forte of AE, besides the greatness infused by Adobe, is the wealth of plug-ins available.
One plugin that you should consider is the "3D Invigorator" by ZaxWerks ( http://www.zaxwerks.com/ ). 3DI turns your AF worksp[ace into a 3D modelling program that alows to make great 3D Animated titles in seconds. It can also import Adobe Illustrator files and turn every path into a 3D object that you can rotate, animate, texture with just a few mouse clicks. It's the 3D program for people like us, compositors who are too busy to become 3D artists.
The combination of AfterEffects, Illustrator and 3D Invigorator creates an amazing toolset for the creative professional. Take a look at the examples on the website. There is a downloadable demo for 3DI and their documentation, for once, is nopt written by orangutangs with typewriters ;)
November 8th, 2006, 10:37 AM
As you know, 2nd Unit has dozens of filmmakeras make the trek to the studio each month to see exactly what it is that we do. Sometines, minds meet and we invite someone to join the permanent crew and John Salemme is just such a person. Armed with a ton of experience with the JVC 100, as you know, one of our favorite sub-$10k cameras, John wants to make the next step into studio production learning how scripts, budgeting, scheduling and the thousand other aspects of professional filmmaking come together not to mention the fact that he gets to play with the the Sony F-series cameras, Fujinon lenses and Tiffen filters on a regular basis. In addition to acting as a crew member, he'll be in charge of the Behind the Scenes of El Papel as we shoot our current feature and the updates on the website and this forum. We'll keep you posted as we progress but for now, welcome John!
November 8th, 2006, 11:33 PM
One of the most wonderful things about producing is the limits, or, better said, discovering the lack thereof, of the equipment and the operators you're using. We began season 2 of 2nd Unit with a slew of new sponsors that we selected from corporations that saw the benefit of providing help to filmmakers looking to improve their craft. When we selected Sony and Fujinon, Tiffen and the others, little did we know the power we'd been provided. As you know, we've not only been shooting 2nd Unit but prepping "El Papel", a feature pilot for a new drama series. In prepping, we needed to see hnow far we could stretch the F-350s we selected; 1/2" cameras that we hoped would give us everything we needed in stead of using the industry-standard 2/3" cameras. When paired with the Fujinon glass we're using which includes 5, 12, 20 and 40mm primes, a 15Hac and the George Lucas 10X100, the results have been, so far, nothing short of spectacular. Now bear in mind, in true 2nd Unit fashion, the cast and crew are all amateurs who have been given the opportunty to learn and work with sophisticated equipment; the next step up from the sub-$10k cameras and lenses we used in Season 1. So how successful have the shots been so far? Successful enough that they've ordered a duplicate production in Spanish language to air on Spanish Network Television.
We sit at the doorstep of a new dawn in production; the evolution of Spanish television from the traditional tele-novella / soap operas to full-blown dramatic series on par with 24, The Unit, NCIS and others and we're truly grateful to have been asked to produce El Papel in Spanish.
In shooting El Papel, we are unbelievably impressed with the latitude available in the F-350s when paired with the correct lighting, lenses and overall cinematography and can't begin to thank Sony, Fujinon, Tiffen, Apple and Adobe enough for the support they have given us in producing both 2nd Unit and El Papel not to mention LitePanels. We shot a 30-minute interview for Telemundo on set today which will appear on 2nd Unit in a couple of weeks which explains the premise of the pilot and will give you a glimpse into the show as well. Suffice to say for now that the initial 18 minutes are exceedingly difficult shots in a moonlit apartment with candles and a single window through which the moonlight comes as the sole sources of illumination; a challenge for film or a 2/3" camera much less a 1/2" camera which popular consensus holds doesn't have sufficient latitude to do features or television drama justice. As yopu will see, it does.
As we progress, we'll be keeping you apprised of what we discover as we shoot and, of course, posting information, stills and video on www.2nd-Unit.tv to illustrate our progress but for now, thank you so much for your e-mails of support, comment, questions, advice and requests for participation on the crew. It's gotten to the point that instead of trying to answer the hundreds of e-mails we get, Paolo is going to introduce a blog on the site to handle the traffic... in his spare time of course between these 2 rpoductions and running his motorcycle business. And finally, again, to Paolo, Mike, Scott, John, Chuck, Michael, Asa and Dwight, thanks for the work you do.
January 1st, 2007, 10:56 PM
Thank you for all of the "Notes" reminding us that we promissed to complete Season 2 and begin Season 3 with no break at the begining of the New Year. We're happy to say that that time is here and we'll be airing Episode 4 of Season 2 this coming Friday.
El Papel's principle photography in both English and Spanish will conclude this coming Sunday and editing commences in earnest with only some cover shots to pick up. Speaking for the everyone at 2nd Unit, I can't thank Sony, Fujinon, Tiffen, Adobe and the other sponsors of both 2nd Unit and El Papel enough for thier unwavering support over the past 8 weeks. Gruelling 16-20 hour days 6 and sometimes 7 days a week producing a bi-lingual pilot is an awesome task made all the more challenging in a teaching setting like 2nd Unit is. The work of the actors will speak for itself when the pilot airs but I wanted to say a special thank you to the crew who really made unbelievable progress in moving from the 1/3" fomat to a true, professional line of Sony 350s, Fujinon 2/3" prime and CineZoom glass and Tiffen filters. Their work was and continues to be incredible and I'm proud to be associated with each and every one of them. I've asked each one of them to stay on if and when the pilot is picked up for series and it's becasue there's no one better equipped to shoot a truly remarkable series. From cinematography and operations to set decorating and gripping, each and every one of them is a credit to themselves and this industry. In a world of specialty, their broad experience and knowledge made possible by our incredible sponsors place them at the top of their field and I'd be honored to recommend them to anyone in studio or independent filmmaking. They will, no doubt go on to a long career in the entertainment industry. I only hope they stay around for at least the season of El Papel if and when, again, it receives its due consideration for more than just a pilot.
Again, to our sponsors, than you for the time and support in making El Papel possible during Season 2 of 2nd Unit and now it's time to get back to work.
January 26th, 2007, 08:19 PM
As promised, the second part of Rodney's interview is on-line. If you missed the previous episode, fear not because it's available, with all the past episodes in the "Past Episodes" page.
February 22nd, 2007, 11:31 PM
Reprinted from an articl.e with permission
TIFFEN A SPONSOR OF BRIDGE OVER DIGITAL DIVIDE & HAS KIT
At http://2nd-unit.tv, Jonathan Ames is creating a wealth of
how-to information on the tools & techniques for making digital
video less daunting for newcomers from analog realms. Tiffen is
not only a corporate sponsor of that effort, but also offering a
2U Scene Makers Kit ($120-860 msrp for sizes from 37mm to 4x5.6")
that includes a cool day-for-night filter, a polarizer & an 812
warming filter. Ask Hilary. Contact: Hilary Araujo, TIFFEN
COMPANY (Hauppauge, NY) 631-273-2500x1216
Now, as for availability and the like, here's what Tiffen is announcing:
After 7 months in development, Tiffen Corporation has released the 2nd Unit Scene Maker Kit available currently as follows:
TIFFEN Scene Makers Kit contains:
TIFFEN Day For Night Filter
TIFFEN 812® Warming Filter
TIFFEN Circular Polarizer (Round) or ULTRA Pol® Circular Polarizer
ITEM # DESCRIPTION LIST PRICE STATUS
582USMK1 58mm Scene Makers Kit 1 $ 126.99 IN STOCK
722USMK1 72mm Scene Makers Kit 1 $ 231.99 IN STOCK
822USMK1 82mm Scene Makers Kit 1 $ 337.99 IN STOCK
442USMK1 4x4 Scene Makers Kit 1 $ 532.50 IN STOCK
372USMK1 37mm Scene Makers Kit 1 $ 119.99 COMING SOON
622USMK1 62mm Scene Makers Kit 1 $ 165.99 COMING SOON
772USMK1 77mm Scene Makers Kit 1 $ 231.99 COMING SOON
456502USMK1 4 X 5.60 Scene Makers Kit $ 858.33 COMING SOON
March 3rd, 2007, 11:45 PM
We're pleased to announce that Tiffen and Steadicam have elected to support 2nd Unit for the 3rd straight season which allows us to continue to bring quality individuals to our viewers via the web. All we can say is thank you for the continuing confidence corporations like Tiffen, Sony, Adobe, Studio Direct and Steadicam have in us.
March 6th, 2007, 12:51 AM
On the heels of Tiffen's decision, Adobe today entered into a continuing agreement for 2007 with 2nd Unit in San Francisco closing the gap so to speak of the major supporters for the production that have elected to continue their support for a second straight year. The face of production is rapidly changing and we're pleased and proud to be able to continue to bring the best and brightest to you via 2nd Unit TV thanks to corporations like Adobe, Sony, Tiffen, Steadicam and Studio Direct.
March 28th, 2007, 03:57 PM
OK. New post to make sure everyone gets it. The 2nd Annual party for 2nd Unit is at Circus Circus Casino KOA RV Park located at 500 Circus Circus Dr. From the Convention Center, come up Convention Center Drive towards the Las Vegas "Strip" and turn right at Las Vegas Blvd. Go north one street past the Circus Circus Casino and turn left on Circus Circus Dr. The entrance to the park is on the right about 400 yards up. I'll post the space number when we get there Saturday night. Food, drinks and everything else will be provided. Just bring your short, animation, feature or whatever on DVD for airing and judging on the big screen. First, second and third place prizes will be awarded by vote (no you can't vote for your own) this year graciously provided by our sponsors at Apple, Adobe and Tiffen/Steadicam. Yes that means FCP, After Effects and a selection of filters. We've come a long way in a short period of time thanks to everyone in this and the other DVInfo forums so it's our way of saying thanks.
April 2nd, 2007, 11:35 AM
April 3rd, 2007, 07:15 PM
Loks like 6 but detalils will follow .
April 6th, 2007, 10:13 PM
OK. Here's the Final Notice. The 2nd Annual Team 2nd Unit Party is set for the venerable 2nd Unit Motor Coach which will be located, throughout NAB, at Circus Circus Casino KOA RV Park. This 5-star RV park is located at 500 Circus Circus Dr. From the Convention Center, come up Convention Center Drive towards the Las Vegas "Strip" and turn right at Las Vegas Blvd. Go north one street past the Circus Circus Casino and turn left on Circus Circus Dr. The entrance to the park is on the right about 400 yards up which means it's only about 1 1/2 mile from the Convention Center just off the Strip. I'll post the space number when we get there Saturday night. Food, drinks and everything else will be provided starting at 6pm and going until whenever. Just bring your short, animation, feature or whatever on DVD or, because we're installing the new Sony BluRay player this wekend, your F350 footage on "The Biscuit" for airing and judging on the new HD big screen. First, second and third place prizes will be awarded by vote (no you can't vote for your own) this year graciously provided by our sponsors at Apple, Adobe and Tiffen/Steadicam. Yes that means FCP, After Effects and a selection of filters. We've come a very long way in a very short period of time thanks to everyone in this and the other DVInfo forums so it's our way of saying thanks. Again, I'll post the space number when we arrive on Saturday and because we'll be there all week, you're all welcomed to stop by any time for a dring, coffee, food or whatever.