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Old March 3rd, 2013, 08:30 PM   #1
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Dental Surgery

In a couple of weeks I will be shooting dental surgery. One of the cameras will be so tight I have to get inside the mouth to show the close up work. There will also be a wide shot that shows the dental surgeon and the assistant. A third camera will be head and shoulders on the Doctor. Challenging to say the least.

Color is very, very important to dentists. I have worked with many of them. The opperatory has florescent lights, most likely daylight balanced but that is not confirmed yet, the office is out of my state. I don't know what the operating light will be. They come in a wide variety of types and temperatures.

I am concerned about white balance. Not on the tight shot inside the mouth because I can set that. I am wondering about the wide shot. It seems if I balance for the overall room light I will probably have the patients face completely out of balance (not to mention exposure) from the operating light or visa versa.

I am probably going to over power the florescent room light with Lowell lights to deal with the intensity of the spotlight on the patients face. I don't want a blown out hot spot in my wide or medium shots so I will balance it.

Does anyone have experience shooting surgery? What do you guys suggest for dealing with such extremes in intensity, contrast, and color temperature?

And it is a one man shoot!

Steve
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Old March 4th, 2013, 07:49 AM   #2
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Re: Dental Surgery

I shot and produced over 100 dental education videos back in the 1990's and you're going to have a tough time if you can't get into the operatory in advance and do some testing for camera angles and lighting.

Have you shot this sort of thing before? Using multiple cameras is almost impossible because the camera that shoots inside the mouth is going to have to be suspended from a jib right over the patient's face. How are you going to keep it out of the frame of the other two cameras?

Also, you're probably going to need a macro lens or close-up filters to fill the frame with teeth. Most ordinary video lenses can't focus close enough. Before you leave for the shoot, try shooting the face of a watch with your camera, and if you can't fill the frame with the watch dial, then you're not going to be able to get close enough for most dental topics.

For lighting, you're better off to go with daylight balanced lighting rather than tungsten lights. Also, it helps a lot if you can persude the dentist not to use his normal lighting, and just rely on your lights. Because once he blasts the patient's mouth with his light, you're screwed. In all the dental videos we did, not once did we ever allow the doctor to turn on his own light. It's also helfpul if you can setup a monitor and let the doctor work by looking at the monitor instead of directly into the mouth, because that is the only way he can be sure he's not blocking your shot and that the shot is showing what is important. However, it take's a talented doctor, though, because the image on the monitor will seem reversed to him.
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Last edited by Doug Jensen; March 4th, 2013 at 08:56 AM. Reason: fixed typo
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Old March 4th, 2013, 08:05 AM   #3
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Re: Dental Surgery

Most dentists have bright, windowed surgeries, AND have their fluorescent lighting on too - so tricky. Only did this once, about ten years ago, and the dentist didn't realise how much I would be in the way - so the idea to get the camera in via a jib arm is actually a good one. The surgery I was in had white net curtains on all windows, so the room light was actually pretty soft, and we did without the flus. The real problem was the brightness of the special light - two 50 watt PAR16s can be VERY bright close in I wonder what the image would be like from a gopro attached between them? If I did it again, I'd try to use the dentists light to support a small camera to get the closeup - because if the dentist uses this light to see what he's doing, then the light has to be able to illuminate the work area, so having the camera on it would be a godsend. Back when I did it, I had a high tripod I had to keep repositioning and the work area frequently got placed in shadow - it wasn't good. A modern small sensor HD camcorder with remote viewfinder would be so much better!
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Old March 4th, 2013, 05:28 PM   #4
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Re: Dental Surgery

A GoPro mounted on the doctor's light? Wow, I can't imagine that even being close to the right solution. You wouldn't be able to rack focus, zoom, or adjust the exposure; and never mind about panning and tilting to follow the action. It has to be a real video camera on a jib. There's no other way of doing it and having any hope of getting a nice finished production.
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Old March 4th, 2013, 05:46 PM   #5
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Re: Dental Surgery

No GoPro on this gig. But good idea not to use the Dentist spot light. That is the one I was worried about. I have three Lowell kits, I don't what to hassle turning the whole thing to daylight balance. I will overpower everything with tungsten. The Doctor will cooperate with me as long as the patient comes first.

I usually have an assistant and an audio guy on gigs like this. I am going to have my hands full doing it solo. I get to set up the evening before a full day of surgeries so I should be OK.

I will have a monitor for the doctor. It will be critical for him to know when his hands are in the way. This video is for other doctors, not patients.

Steve
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