Some Steadicam shots to check out at DVinfo.net

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Old April 12th, 2006, 08:54 PM   #1
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Some Steadicam shots to check out

I recently had need to temporarily post some shots that don't appear on my online reel and thought while they were up, the Steadicam afficiandos here might like to see them.

The first three, "West Wing", "Die Mommy Die" and "Big Fat Liar" are in the "one'r" section of my DVD reel; these represent the extended type of Steadicam shots (think "Goodfellas") that take up too much time in a standard reel if you play them in their entirety.

The other two do appear in slightly truncated version on the online reel but represent shots that I feel are amongst my best.

Hope you enjoy!
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Old April 12th, 2006, 11:15 PM   #2
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Charles,

O.K. it was good...Oh alright, it was real good.

Now the details. Did you do a switch from missionary forward to Don Juan reverse and go through the doorway that way.

Hope to see you & A.. at NAB in a couple of weeks.

Tery
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Old April 12th, 2006, 11:46 PM   #3
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Really nice.
So... how the training dvd is going? :)

Best Regards,
Quoc
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Old April 13th, 2006, 01:07 PM   #4
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Hi Terry:

The shot going through the door on the "West Wing" was purely sideways operated--that nether region between Don Juan and Missionary where one walks forwards and shoots to the side. The tricky bit is that you are flying a little blind with the rig in front of you so that you run the risk of banging into the doorframe--on that show I recall there was about three inches of clearance on either side which made for some dicey moments when running through doorways sideways such as this. As you've probably noticed, this is a tough mode to work in when acceleration or deceleration is involved because it will immediately translate into the roll axis (rather than tilt when the rig is facing the same way you are).

Hi Quoc:

Training video on hold again, some other projects have taken precedence. Sorry!
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Old April 13th, 2006, 07:44 PM   #5
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Charles,

Well, it's a good thing that you weren't accelerating or decelerating on the door shot (were you?). Just changing directions.

O.K. I'm just a bit confused as the camera was leading the actors so you had to be walking sideways in order to be shooting neutral wouldn't you. Dang, a picture is worth a thousand so I wish we had video of you doing the shot.

What's the difference between that shot and a tracking shot?

I'll look at it again.

Tery
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Old April 13th, 2006, 11:07 PM   #6
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That shot starts out dead parallel to the actors as we go through the doors, so I am walking forward through the door with the rig in front of me panned 90 degrees to the left. The other way to do it would be to walk backwards with the rig pointed to the right, but that is uncomfortable due to the pileup of the arm and the sled plus the speed involved.

Once I get through the door, I started to accelerate to get more in front of the actors, ending in a three-quarter rake from the front. The shot cuts as soon as they turn, but on the day I still had make a fast arc to come into an over the shoulder shot of Alison Janney to the red-haired gal who has the last line. So there actually was a significant amount of acceleration to this shot.

One of the absolute trickiest things is to make a fast arc i.e. panning while moving forward in a quarter-circle or diagonal, as the inertia REALLY wants to kick the rig out in a big way.

Tracking shot is pretty undefined--just generally means moving with a subject. Where was that distinction coming from, I might have missed something?
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Old April 14th, 2006, 01:03 AM   #7
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Charles,

I think I meant the kind of tracking shot where you walk straight ahead and the camera is turned 90 degrees sideways.

Anyway, I just watched the scene from "Big Fat Liar" and was not only impressed by your great work but also how long the scene was. How many takes did you go through? That has to be some serious strain on you because you are carring around a lot of weight and having to frame and all.

Great job. It makes anything I could attempt seem really miniscule.

I'll watch the other clips later.

Tery
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Old April 14th, 2006, 01:03 AM   #8
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Oy. You were moving fast in that second shot. That mattebox would have been dead if it was me.
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Old April 14th, 2006, 01:20 PM   #9
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Terry, I usually refer to that as "side-tracking", although that's just my name for it (along with "preceding" and "following").

The "Big Fat Liar" shot was probably something like 8 full takes, I've forgotten. After the 4th one I started having to ask for 10 minutes off between takes to get my heart rate back down to normal; it was a really hot day for that sort of hoofin'. It was a bit bizarre to see the whole company shut down while I lay down in the back of the nice cool camera truck but that's fairly normal for a shot of that scope. We still finished the day ahead of schedule!

Nate, I did one more similar shot (it's on the first season DVD's, haven't gone looking for it) which required me to run at near top speed through a room and slide sideways through a door--scary stuff. I think I made it without clipping every time, which is pure luck. That show kept me on my toes.
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Old April 14th, 2006, 01:20 PM   #10
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Terry, I usually refer to that as "side-tracking", although that's just my name for it (along with "preceding" and "following").

The "Big Fat Liar" shot was probably something like 8 full takes, I've forgotten. After the 4th one I started having to ask for 10 minutes off between takes to get my heart rate back down to normal; it was a really hot day for that sort of hoofin'. It was a bit bizarre to see the whole company shut down while I lay down in the back of the nice cool camera truck but that's fairly normal for a shot of that scope. We still finished the day ahead of schedule!

Nate, I did one more similar shot (it's on the first season DVD's, haven't gone looking for it) which required me to run at near top speed through a room and slide sideways through a door--scary stuff. I think I made it without clipping every time, which is pure luck. That show kept me on my toes.
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Old April 14th, 2006, 01:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert
. I think I made it without clipping every time, which is pure luck.
Charles,

Pure luck...I know better.

Hey, in the cameraman vernacular, what's a crab? It sounds like it would be a bad thing while using a steadycam (generic) system.

Tery
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Old April 14th, 2006, 02:01 PM   #12
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Crabbing is moving sideways with the camera, i.e. tracking left to right or vice versa. In other words, moving like a crab. It's not a term that is used much on set, it's sort of old-school. A crab dolly is one that is cable of four wheel simultaneous steering, so that you can drive it sideways.

I would never hold a director or DP to have to use that term--it's hard enough to work through the commands to "pan up" or "pan back".
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Old April 14th, 2006, 06:59 PM   #13
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These shots of Charles', as well as some excellent work he did on "Scrubs" and "American History X" are all up on Steadishots.org with full operator commentary.

http://www.steadishots.org/shots_operator.cfm?opID=10

Thanks again, Chas!

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Old April 14th, 2006, 08:00 PM   #14
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And with that, I will be taking down the site linked above (actually I've changed the link)--please visit Afton's excellent site to see these shots (in a larger player!)
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Old April 19th, 2006, 12:28 AM   #15
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Charles,

Another question...In "Scubs" while you were leadiing the actors were you shooting Don Juan or Missionary?

Good pan, hold, horizon at the end.

Terry
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