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Old April 3rd, 2008, 09:19 PM   #1
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Verizon Commercial: Pretty nifty camera work.

I've been admiring the camera work of a couple of recent Verizon commercials.

One in particular:

A door opens, revealing a man that then walks out of the house into the yard and to the street being followed by employees. He is talking about Verizon, blah blah.

The Steadicam/Dolly tracks him as the he walks towards the camera and into the street.

Once on the street, he is joined by the rest of the "Verizon employees"

This is when the shot gets interesting, it transitions to a crane shot, as the camera moves up and you can see the whole street of Verizon people.

I would imagine the steadicam operator is walking out of the house with the actor and finally jumps on a platform that lifts him straight up--but it seems very smooth.

[From what I read, "Bound for Glory" does the same type of shot]

Pretty cool stuff.

Oh yeah..I can't remember a word the person said in the commercial. :-)
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 10:19 PM   #2
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That is a pretty nifty commercial, the actor plays one of the sheriff's officers in Jericho. I love his leg swing at the end when he says "I'm gonna grab my celly..." and his embrassed daughter says " Daaaad!" classic.
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Old April 4th, 2008, 10:55 PM   #3
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If I can find the link I'll post it--but I've seen extensive promo footage of the crane that does this; essentially a harness is fitted on the steadicam operator and a group of techies from the crane company "seemlessly" hook on the crane as the operator tracks the shot; then he is lifted into the air from above.
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Old April 5th, 2008, 12:40 AM   #4
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I've seen one or two of these spots and they look to me like standard crane step-ons, where the operator backs onto the platform of the crane (often a Chapman Titan) as one or more grips step off to keep the arm properly counterweighted at all times. There is a setup as Ben describes called the Strata crane which is much more elaborate and the operator is actually pulled into the air with his feet dangling, but that is probably not what is in use with these spots as the final frames are not that high up (the Titan crane reaches about 30 feet while the Strata can get to triple that height). Here's a shot of my pal Colin Hudson doing the Strata dance.

I've done many step-ons and offs (the first shot of the opening credits for "Big Love" for one, and this one for another) but have not been asked to do the hanging version off the Strata--thankfully!

As far as it being smooth, that's why the Steadicam is used...! We can "bury" the transition onto the crane in various ways, but it requires a lot of co-ordination between the various members of the team to get the timing just right. Having a long platform on the crane helps as you can be onboard and still walking back as the platform starts to rise which helps soften the transition. The best case scenario is to have something help distract the eye at the moment that one transitions onto the crane, like a foreground cross. In the example I linked, I had the AD's place the extra who shines the flashlight on Charlize Theron as a visual "distraction" during my step-off.
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Old April 5th, 2008, 10:01 PM   #5
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Brilliant! Really great stuff, Charles!

Unfortunately though, the magic is now gone for me.

I understand now, for the first time, why magicians should never reveal their secrets.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 12:12 AM   #6
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awww, now I feel bad...!

Well, now that the curtain has been pulled back and the Wizard revealed, you guys might enjoy this amazing piece of work also involving a crane step-on perpetrated by another of my pals, Will Arnot, who was one of the foremost Alien Revolution operators (this being the rig that could pivot vertically while keeping the camera level via roll cage, so one could fly the rig sideways or go from high to low mode continuously).

Great detailed writeup, and don't miss the link at the bottom with behind-the-scenes pictures.

http://steadishots.org/shots_detail.cfm?shotID=250
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Old April 14th, 2008, 11:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
awww, now I feel bad...!

Well, now that the curtain has been pulled back and the Wizard revealed, you guys might enjoy this amazing piece of work also involving a crane step-on perpetrated by another of my pals, Will Arnot, who was one of the foremost Alien Revolution operators (this being the rig that could pivot vertically while keeping the camera level via roll cage, so one could fly the rig sideways or go from high to low mode continuously).

Great detailed writeup, and don't miss the link at the bottom with behind-the-scenes pictures.

http://steadishots.org/shots_detail.cfm?shotID=250
Friggin' amazing!
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Old April 14th, 2008, 03:54 PM   #8
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Using twins was a clever trick for that commercial.

I would have never have guessed that it was basically one long continuous shot.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 05:38 PM   #9
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I watched the commercial, then started reading the article ... at first I was like "bullcrap that was one continuous take" ... because there was no way that model could have been so many places so quickly. Then read about the twins ... wow. That was an amazing shoot, one of the best I've seen considering everything it required. Just amazing.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 05:44 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by John C. Chu View Post
Brilliant! Really great stuff, Charles!

Unfortunately though, the magic is now gone for me.

I understand now, for the first time, why magicians should never reveal their secrets.
Not for me, lol. For me the magic comes with learning how you guys do this stuff, because then I want to try something similar.
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