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Old May 25th, 2005, 09:35 PM   #1
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Fun image from recent shoot

I did an additional photography day yesterday for a feature I shot at the end of last year titled "The Perfect Sleep" at the wind generators near Palm Springs. Those familiar with "Rain Man" may remember the montage (set to the song "Iko Iko") of the amazing rows upon rows of spinning turbines high up on towers. We shot from sunrise to sunset, with two Sony F900's. I was prepared for the forecast of 106 degrees and a certain amount of wind;turned out the heat wasn't a problem as the wind picked up in the afternoon to a howl. It made everything difficult; I couldn't use anything larger than a 4x4 for lighting or bounces, and even those required two people each to stabilize. The camera required a wind break as the buffeting was showing up in the frame; I couldn't use a Hoodman on the monitor, etc etc.

One wise choice I made for the big crane shot that closes the film was to order a Chapman SuperNova truck-mounted crane rather than a jib arm with remote head. Without a gyro stabilized head, any available arm would have knocked around in the wind. The SuperNova (which is essentially the same as the Titan crane) isn't seen on set much anymore these days as remote heads have become universal, but once it was the king of cranes, able to support three people and camera, using liquid mercury as a counterweight (!). I used to ride these a lot in my earlier days as an operator, so it was fun to trot it out again on this shoot, and I'm glad I did as even 27 feet in the air with the wind kicking up a fuss, the image was rock-solid.

The 2nd assistant took this picture of myself and the 1st assistant and it's sort of surreal as the rest of the company is just offscreen to the left--it sort of looks like we rode the crane into the middle of nowhere to spy on wildlife or something!

http://homepage.mac.com/chupap/Film/PhotoAlbum80.html
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Old May 26th, 2005, 04:44 AM   #2
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So that is how the big boys spy on wildlife eh! *grin*

Nice picture! Here in Holland we have a few of those windmill parks as well
(especially at the coastline), but probably not as large.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 10:44 AM   #3
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I was just sent another image from this series, this time with a little more production going on around it--it's up on the same page.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 10:47 AM   #4
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Great stuff Charles. Just goes to show sometimes 'old school' is still the answer.
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Old May 28th, 2005, 05:40 AM   #5
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What kind of car is that Charles?
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Old May 29th, 2005, 06:10 PM   #6
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It's photos like that, that just get my PUMPED to make movies! Thanks, Charles!

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Old May 30th, 2005, 05:00 AM   #7
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Charles, This may seem to go off topic (as this thought just sort of jumped into my head) but I was wondering, as a working DP / Op, etc...

Do you tend to land most of your jobs because your work is so downright dynamite that anyone would be a fool not to hire you...

or

Are you really nice to have hanging around for 12 plus hours a day and you come through with as little drama and stife as possible.

Having just typed these two extremes I realize that a successful person has elements of both, but I am wondering what your thoughts are on what has kept you working... Your Vittorio Storaro perfectionism or a positive attitude? (I think a positive attitude - I always want to work with the guy who came through and was fun then the guy who came through and was a pain).

All the best

Dean
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Old May 30th, 2005, 08:05 AM   #8
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As a director, I've worked with both types, and let me tell you, if I'm getting boring images but a great attitude, YAWN! If I'm getting great images but a major attitude, no thanks!

For the most part, DPs are a mix of both, and I'm grateful for it!

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Old May 30th, 2005, 04:35 PM   #9
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Rob, apologies, didn't see your question til now--it's a Cadillac Fleetwood (not sure of the year...late 50's/early 60's maybe?). Great picture car. I got a lot of mileage visually out of those rear fins at various points in the movie.

Dean:

Good question. I guess you'd have to talk to the directors that hire me to shoot to find out exactly what they like. The feedback that I get is that I'm easy to work with and bring a lot of ideas to the table. I tend to work with a lot of inexperienced directors that need a good amount of support and guidance.

There are so many factors in being a DP that go beyond how one lights the set. Being able to manage three departments at once as well as communicate with various other departments; unlike various of my brethren, I do consider it important to maintain dialogue with sound, art, wardrobe, makeup, hair etc...no one is "in the way", we are all working together. Maintaining a good relationship with production is also important--in general, managing one's politics is a good idea. Being realistic about time estimates--if it will take 45 minutes to light the set, tell the AD that and not the 15 minutes you wish it would take.

My philosophy is generally to get along with folks, crack a joke now and then and make pretty pictures in the most efficient way possible.
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