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Old February 13th, 2010, 11:27 AM   #1
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Operating for the Friday Night Lights/Office

Hi all,

I realize this may be in the wrong forum and may have been asked before, but my searches were coming up with nothing.

I'm wondering if there's anything special to the looks that shows like Friday Night Lights or The Office achieve. Their operating always seems to be a controlled hand held that is consistent from shot to shot. Is this just a testament to good operating? Or is there something special in the operation other than shoulder mounting the camera?
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Old February 13th, 2010, 03:51 PM   #2
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The answer is A. Good operating.

Look, when you first do ANYTHING, you're a rookie and even with massive talent, you don't do it at a high level. Piano player or handheld camera operator - what moves you from rookie to journeyman is EXPERIENCE.

In camera operation that means that those who work constantly at their craft will perform in a SUPERIOR way to those who don't.

You don't get the gig on a big-time TV show until AFTER you serve your apprenticeship and enough people have watched your work to say "He/She's good at the job. Let's hire them."

Simple as that.
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Old February 13th, 2010, 08:23 PM   #3
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I understand that being good at operating is a skill that you don't get without practice and experience.

In this case I was more curious if the look is achieved via shoulder-mounting the camera, or by having the tripod head really loose, or some other, unknown way.
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Old February 13th, 2010, 08:44 PM   #4
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hard to say-there are lots of ways to do things and since I don't know of anyone here that works on those shows it would be guess work. Could be steadicam and the directors tells the operator to "get loosey goosey" with the shot.
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Old February 14th, 2010, 01:24 AM   #5
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Not Steadicam, no. "The Office" is definitely all handheld with 2/3" cameras. "Friday Night Lights"--I remember that the feature was shot on 35mm with absurdly punishing handheld setups (11-1 Primo zooms, 1000 ft mags--that makes for an 80 lb camera on the shoulder) but I don't remember if they are 16mm or HD on the show at this point.

It's much easier to duplicate the look of handheld on a head than with Steadicam. We also use a score of weirdo rigs like half-deflated beachballs and basketballs and Easyrigs and whatever else. It's been a while since I've had to do one of those types of shows and I don't miss it--see here...
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Old February 15th, 2010, 02:57 AM   #6
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Holy cow! How many hours a day were you under that beast?
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