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Old January 22nd, 2008, 11:14 AM   #16
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I always been curious if when flying with a "film" camera.... does the movement of the film itself cause any issues? like a gyro action or weight moving fore and aft?

The "History X" don Juan scene was unforgettable when I first saw it at release.... bravo!

As always Charles.... your work is truly at the top of the game! Whenever I read your posts I feel as if I'm peering into the heart of the movie industry! Plus, I get the feeling you'd be a hoot to party with!

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Old January 22nd, 2008, 11:15 AM   #17
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Steven, you will be fine on either autofocus or leaving the lens fixed at 5 or 6 feet or so. I'd recommend the latter as it removes the possibility of the autofocus system opting to "hunt" if momentarily confused by something in the frame, however if your moves will take you into closeups then it may be necessary.

This is the time when the deep DoF of 1/3" imagers is a real advantage. It's not until you get into 2/3" chips that focus control becomes a consideration for most Steadicam moves, and then only the longer end of the lens.
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 01:47 PM   #18
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Steven, you will be fine on either autofocus or leaving the lens fixed at 5 or 6 feet or so. I'd recommend the latter as it removes the possibility of the autofocus system opting to "hunt" if momentarily confused by something in the frame, however if your moves will take you into closeups then it may be necessary.

This is the time when the deep DoF of 1/3" imagers is a real advantage. It's not until you get into 2/3" chips that focus control becomes a consideration for most Steadicam moves, and then only the longer end of the lens.
Thanks Charles, I'll keep that in mind. We are very excited about the opportunities this device is going to open for us. As of now I'm still trying to find the extra muscle tone on EBAY to carry it for 5 hours or so. :}
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 03:15 PM   #19
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I always been curious if when flying with a "film" camera.... does the movement of the film itself cause any issues? like a gyro action or weight moving fore and aft?
Fortunately the movement of the film is not enough to act as a gyro. Where the issues come in are in the displacement of the film through the mag; a traditional top-mounted mag displaces fore to aft, and in the case of a standard 400 ft load, this is around 4lbs of film moving perhaps 8" so it's not inconsiderable and would result in a front-to-back weight shift across 4 minutes. For this reason the camera manufacturers make back-mounted Steadicam mags that align the feed and takeup spools above each other (as can be seen in any production still) which have a nearly unnoticeable shift in the operating mass. Older cameras like the Arri BL series had coaxial mags in which the film migrated from side to side, which is especially annoying as it affects the roll axis. However, many great films like "The Shining" and "Goodfellas" were shot with these cameras, so it was surmountable, just undesirable!

Another factor with film cameras is the viewing; the image off the groundglass via the video tap is often smaller and has less resolution than a digital camera provides. These too have improved, with flicker-free taps and better contrast, but when I started out, they were often dismal. My first film job was done with an SRII with black and white tube tap, which smeared so badly under low light that doing a fast pan resulted in my losing all image until I settled onto a relatively still frame, so I was effectively operating blind for parts of the shot. Thankfully that sort of thing is long gone.
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Old January 23rd, 2008, 08:20 AM   #20
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Thanks for the follow up Charles. I also was curious about the advantages of the smaller chips that video cams may offer with their inherent deep DoF, since a wireless FF is not in the budget... and you summed it up for me, nicely.

Thanks again,
Lonnie
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Old February 4th, 2008, 10:21 AM   #21
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Charles

I found the reel to be very inspiring when it comes to the use of the steadicam.

I now have a standard to aim for :)

A few questions concerning that wonderful long shot for "Big Fat Liar", and a few other points

How long did it take to rehearse that shot? After all there is the blocking, the lighting, the dialogue, along with the timing? Was there a few takes?

Do you feel that the popularity of steadicam shots that circle the talent can be overused to a degree? After all some shots you do give you the impression of walking along with the actors, listening to the dialogue. But you dont always walk around and around the people you are listening to.

As a cameraman/cinematographer, what is your decision process about when to use the Steadicam?

Take for example a foot chase scene like the one from "Point Break" which a large amount of the coverage of the two actors/stuntment was done with a steadicam. Do you feel that such a sequence would have been better served shot with handheld camera, as apposed to steadicam.

Oh dear, its a small essay of questions :(

Any answers you can give Charles, would be greatly appreciated.

I just pray we dont meet IRL, I would have so many questions, about shot composure, technical aspects of camera, steadicams :D

NIall
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Old February 4th, 2008, 10:38 AM   #22
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Wow!

Charles,

This is some great footage and I appreciate your expertise. I love the movie Office Space, and my jaw dropped when I saw you filmed that steadicam footage. Even more of an inspiration to me now!

Thank you for your contributions and great work.

Peace and Blessings,
Danny Hidalgo
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Old February 4th, 2008, 01:46 PM   #23
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Thanks Danny. "Office Space" has become such a classic that I hear this sort of thing often--what's funny is that when the movie first came out, it was such a flop that I figured it was barely worth putting on the resume as no-one would recognize it. It took a few years, but now it's one of the first things I mention when people ask what I've worked on, because it's so beloved.

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Charles
A few questions concerning that wonderful long shot for "Big Fat Liar", and a few other points

How long did it take to rehearse that shot? After all there is the blocking, the lighting, the dialogue, along with the timing? Was there a few takes?
The shot was supposed to be about half that length (and it appears so in the final film, this was the complete shot that was included in the deleted scenes on the DVD) but when we rehearsed it, the director and DP decided it would be fun to shoot it as one. I would guess that the setup (rehearsal, lighting, blocking) took maybe 3 hours and then we shot for maybe 2. I can't remember how many complete takes we did, but I think it was under 10. It was a really hot day and after 6 or 7 takes I had to start taking 10 minute breaks inbetween to cool off and catch my breath, it was a lot of ground! The final take was the one that was used. I can actually see myself "grinding down" by the very end--the operating gets a little sloppy! I've attached a short clip from the behind-the-scenes footage on the DVD.

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Originally Posted by Niall Chadwick View Post
Do you feel that the popularity of steadicam shots that circle the talent can be overused to a degree? After all some shots you do give you the impression of walking along with the actors, listening to the dialogue. But you dont always walk around and around the people you are listening to.
Roundy-rounds can certainly be overused. I know I've been asked to do them sometimes when I think it was just lazy filmmaking. But they can be quite powerful too. They are tricky because you have to make a lot of decisions about timing, when to hand off from one charater to the other, so you have to memorize all of the dialogue and make split-second adjustments in your walking speed if the actors improvise or change the timing on their delivery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Niall Chadwick View Post
As a cameraman/cinematographer, what is your decision process about when to use the Steadicam?

Take for example a foot chase scene like the one from "Point Break" which a large amount of the coverage of the two actors/stuntment was done with a steadicam. Do you feel that such a sequence would have been better served shot with handheld camera, as apposed to steadicam.
I'm definitely no more likely to use the Steadicam when I'm DP'ing or directing than anyone else--I've shot plenty of projects without it, and I'm reluctant to go to it because it's faster or easier unless I have to (to save the schedule). Handheld is very popular these days but I'm not a big fan of a lot of it that I see, I'm pretty tired of that look overall but I will do it if that is what the project dictates. There is a certain energy about handheld vs Steadicam for chase scenes that is undeniable. It's interesting that you bring up "Point Break" as the Steadicam operator on that show was Jim Muro (now a successful DP), who is legendary for his ability to use Steadicam in a handheld style, very intense, athletic and full of fast pans and energy.

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Originally Posted by Niall Chadwick View Post
I just pray we dont meet IRL, I would have so many questions, about shot composure, technical aspects of camera, steadicams
Maybe I should be the one doing the praying??!!! No problem Niall, I'm happy to answer questions when I can. Thanks to the writer's strike I've been home on the computer a lot more lately...!
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Old February 5th, 2008, 04:25 AM   #24
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thankyou for the comprehensive replies, Charles

And as for the praying...yes! Be afraid, be very afraid :)

Last edited by Niall Chadwick; February 5th, 2008 at 06:08 AM.
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