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Techniques for Independent Production
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Old October 28th, 2002, 11:41 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Las Vegas, NV
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punch drunk love

i recently saw PT Andersons "punch drunk love". Amazing movie needless to say.

yet i noticed ALOT of different camera work in which Ive rarely seen done.

I noticed that Anderson allowed an abundant amount of "glare" in the camera lense, so much to which it covered some of the actors faces in some scenes.
Most directors would shoot themselves over this.

Also i noticed that in one scene ( which was a 15 minutes shot without any cuts, eat your heart out Jerry Bruckhiemer) that in the reflection of a picture frame on the wall you can actuall see the camera man in the reflection!!!
twice!! It was very noticable and this is another thing that you will never see
allowed in any big hollywood production.

Has anyone else seen this movie and noticed some non-traditional
camera work through out the movie?
Adam Lawrence
eatdrink Media
Las Vegas NV
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Old October 28th, 2002, 04:00 PM   #2
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Location: Las Vegas, NV
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also for anyone who saw the movie...

Adam Sandler used a REAL phone number, SSN, and credit card number
while purchasing somehting over the phone.....as opposed to the traditional
"555" number used in movies.

How did they get away with this???? I speculate that PT Anderson bought
the number from the phone company to use in the movie...this sounds like
him considering he did the same thing in Magnolia. I wonder who answers when you call it??
Adam Lawrence
eatdrink Media
Las Vegas NV
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Old November 9th, 2002, 05:20 PM   #3
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I also saw the camera man reflection, I thought i was the only one who noticed it
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Old November 9th, 2002, 11:42 PM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Osaka, Japan
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I always look for the cameraman reflections in movies, TV, saw one on an episode of ER, and on several other movies, I forget which ones. Any time the action is near a window, or car(look at the chrome parts and other reflective parts) I look for the cameraman.

I would guess they find out about the reflection a long time after the film has wrapped and so they can't reshoot so they just use the footage and hope no one notices. My wife never notices them, so it must be just us who see them, but then again, I'm always on the lookout for them!
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Barrio Tamatsukuri, Osaka, JAPAN
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Old November 10th, 2002, 02:39 AM   #5
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What kills me is when the boom mic dips into the picture...and they still keep the shot!
John Locke
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Old November 10th, 2002, 02:24 PM   #6
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Alright laddies, on behalf of camera operators everywhere...!

It is the operator's job to make sure that he, other crew members, the camera and all other film equipment are not seen onscreen, either in reflection, by casting shadows or actually being photographed. Sometimes this is a particularly time-consuming process depending on the location. I have shot in glass walled houses and gone through incredible lengths to keep the reflections out--one such instance was Kirsten Dunst's character's house in the movie "Crazy/Beautiful" which was like a hall of mirrors! In the case of a picture on the wall, we stick a ball of tape behind one side and angle the picture to avoid reflection. Sometimes sets are built with gimballed windows that pivot in various directions to make the job easier. In the case of something like a chrome bumper or shiny surface that is fixed, we use dulling spray to knock down the reflectiveness and hide the camera. In instances where there is no way to hide the camera from reflection, we make sure to place black tape over any onboard lights or bright surfaces, and drape duvetyne (black fabric) over everything but the lens, usually including the operator and focus puller. That is a sucky way to work on a hot set, for sure!

One of the most diabolical situations in when the operator does not have an eye to the eyepiece and is relying on a monitor for framing, as is the case with remote heads or Steadicam. The image from the video tap is generally noisy and somewhat low-res, so it is hard to see reflections. We try to patrol the set before the camera rolls to suss out if there are potential "bogies" in the shot, but in the case of remote heads on a crane, it's impossible to get your eyeballs 25 feet in the air, so it requires some intuitive thinking to guess if there are possible reflections.

As far as boom dips, that's the operator's responsibility to notice also, and we report to the director and script supervisor if it occurs. However, just as with a reflection that may be caught after a few takes and corrected, the editor and director may choose to use a take for performance reasons regardless of the transgression. Same goes for out-of-focus takes, bumps in the shot etc. Makes us look bad, but there's not much that can be done.

One of the things that has come about since the advent of non-linear editing is that the editor cannot necessarily see things like bad reflections or soft focus in the low-res Avid image. Once the picture is locked and printed to film, these things may suddenly appear but its too late to do anything about it.

Another thing about boom dips...if the framing is off in the theatre, you may see the boom as it is recorded in the top of the film image but not intended to be seen. Another situation is in a 4:3 transfer of a 1:1.85 theatrical release, which shows more headroom than the original 1:85 presentation.

So...the bottom line is, we try VERY hard to keep the reflections clear, and it is sometimes more time-consuming than there are hours in the day--but the operator reflection you described in Punch Drunk Love sounds...well...a little sloppy to me too. I'm hoping to check out the movie today, so I'll post back if I have any feedback on that shot!
Charles Papert
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Old November 11th, 2002, 10:26 AM   #7
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I read somewhere that the phone number he gives out was one that they had arranged for but not used on Magnolia. It turns out that if you call it, I believe it's a message service for "Paul" ironically enough.
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