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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old June 11th, 2003, 03:10 PM   #16
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who is Jon Inwood?

Charles, who is John Inwood?
According to a press release at
www.digitalproducer.com he is the Cinematographer for scrubs and will be part of a live chat hosted by Kodak on June 27? I'm a little confused here. He claims he uses a single mobile 16mm camera to shoot the series.

Kodak is making it sound like he is the only one shooting the series.
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Old June 12th, 2003, 04:18 AM   #17
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John Inwood is the Director of Photography (DP) of "Scrubs". I'm the "A" camera operator, and I occasionally shoot (aka DP) second unit. He's my boss, and a great guy. Who knows, he might mention me during the chat??

It's a subtlety, but when one says "I shoot (insert movie/TV show here)" or "I'm the cameraman", it means you are the DP. I usually say I "operate" a show to make the distinction.
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Old July 11th, 2003, 10:53 AM   #18
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Saw another episode last night where they get there very own
interns and you guys somehow managed to get "the hulk" in
there :) Lauged a lot, was a funny episode!

Oh, and please send Sarah my e-mail addy! <g>
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Old July 11th, 2003, 11:39 AM   #19
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what I'd give to just have an hour on set and watch everything happening.
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Old July 12th, 2003, 12:33 AM   #20
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Rob, did you notice that the "cold open", the introductory section before the credits, was one long Steadicam shot that took the lead actors from the parking lot, through the hospital, up an elevator, down more corridors and into the ICU? That was a marathon day, 37 takes of that one shot!
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Old July 12th, 2003, 12:17 PM   #21
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Scrubs is a great show. It's cool to see you are such a huge part of it. I'm a big fan of Donald Faison, he's hilarious.

I have a quick question regarding the relationship between DP and camera operator. Whether on television or film, when does the DP get the opportunity to operate the camera? What are the rules behind that....is it just the DP's preference? Obviously the DP has a set of different responsiblities, but often when I watch the behind the scenes footage of feature films, I see the DP often taking hold of the camera in many scenes. Bob Richardson, (Oliver Stone's DP) seems to do this a lot. And I've even seen some directors such as Luc Besson and Niel Jordan manhandle the camera. I'm just a little confused on how that whole process works...does the DP or director just come in whenever they want to operate? Or do the need to operate specific shots? I'm interested in pursuing the path of DP because I enjoy lighting (though I'm just beginning with that) , but I also enjoy operating the camera and wouldn't want to limit myself to just lighting. Hope this question makes sense.
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Old July 13th, 2003, 04:28 AM   #22
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Brad, that's an excellent question and your observations are astute.

Every DP is different in their approach. Some like to be very hands on with the camera, prefering to operate themselves. I have worked with Roger Deakins a few times, most recently on the upcoming Coen Brother's movie "Intolerable Cruelty", and he operates the A camera himself. In this instance, union requirements still insist on a camera operator to be included on the payroll, although he will be essentially a standby.

Other DP's will involve the operator as a collaborator, and will sometimes leave the operator to line up the shot while they focus on lighting. I have been fortunate enough to enjoy this relationship with several DP's.

As far as the union is concerned, as long as an operator is being paid for, they don't care how many shots the DP operates himself. In the non-union world, the DP usually operates as well as lights.

I was just discussing the concept of directors operating with the director of my current feature, just today. I thought and he agreed that the two jobs are at odds with each other, in that it seems impossible to be able to concentrate fully on the various mechanical and timing-based issues of operating while paying full attention to the actors.
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Old July 13th, 2003, 04:42 AM   #23
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That hasn't stopped a whole slew of actors turned director from trying to do both. Some can do it, others have a hard time acting, let alone running the show.
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Old July 13th, 2003, 12:36 PM   #24
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True enough. In fact, the lead actor of "Scrubs", Zach Braff, is currently in post on his first feature on which he was a triple hyphenate...writer, director and actor. It was produced by Jersey Films, Danny Devito's company, and stars Zach and Natalie Portman. I heard it went well. Zach is very talented. Last year he directed the music video for the theme song from "Scrubs" which I DP'd for him (you can see it here, scroll to the second news item to find the link).

Some big news, while we are on the subject--I am not returning to Scrubs for the upcoming season. I'm moving on to pursue other projects and some directing opportunities. It's going to be strange watching the new episodes when they come on air!
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Old July 13th, 2003, 02:07 PM   #25
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thanks Charles, that makes perfect sense to me. I guess it's not all cut and dry and depends on the DP's preferences. That's good to know.

Interesting that you mention the conflict between directing/operating and directing/acting. I too was having a conversation about this with someone the other day. I can imagine that directors have a hard time judging a performance when their eye is behind the viewfinder, trying to focus on the technicalities behind the camera -which of course you know is a job all in itself. I guess some directors can handle that, like Soderburgh and Robert Rodriquez. Though in Rodriquez's case, since he seems to wear so many hats on the set, I think it results in somewhat muddled filmmaking. Maybe that's just my opinion on his films.

As far as directing and acting in your own films, I imagine that's a very difficult thing to do, especially on huge films like Braveheart, where Mel Gibson directed and starred. Would the assistant director in this case call action and cut? I'm trying to imagine Mel Gibson chanting out his major speech, then all of a sudden yelling "Cut!, My performance sucked, let's do that again". Plus, since the actor is so focused on his own performance, how can he guage the performance of his costars at the same time? I guess people pull it off, it just seems illogical.
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Old July 13th, 2003, 02:31 PM   #26
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Many directors prefer to have the AD call "action" and "cut" for them as a standard procedure. Others just have them call "action", while they call the cut themselves. Often the "action" call will be more complicated and have several cues, including "background action" (extras), "camera" (to cue a move that needs to start before the action) or other individual cues. Not having to concentrate on the timing of these allows the director to focus better on the shot as it happens.
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Old July 14th, 2003, 05:25 AM   #27
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I don't know if I'll recover from not having you on the set of Scrubs,
Charles! <g> We need that inside information.... Anyways, I did
notice that steadicam shot which was pretty awesome. I didn't
notice it at first because I was to suckered in (which is a good
thing).

What about a guy like Robert Rodriguez. On his later movies
within the hollywood system he was doing directing, dp'ing and
camera work if I'm not mistaken (also editing). How does this
go in the union system?

To an outsider like me the union system feels very strange. I
know it all got started on making sure everybody received their
rights and credits, but I just can't follow why a movie cannot
remove a camera operator if the DP is doing that etc. etc. I
understand about protecting the rights of someone when he
is there, but not why you must have this and that person or
credit on your movie.

I once read somewhere that a director cannot also have some
other credit so they simply invented another credit that everybody
knew meant the same but was okay because it was "forbidden"
by the union
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Old July 14th, 2003, 10:55 AM   #28
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What was the name of the Scrubs episode with the cool steadicam shot?

Thanks, Brian
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Old July 14th, 2003, 11:03 AM   #29
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Season 1
Episode 17
"My Student"

HTH,
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Old July 15th, 2003, 12:37 AM   #30
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<,What was the name of the Scrubs episode with the cool steadicam shot?>>>

Why,all of them!

I kid, of course. I'm not THAT arrogant (close, though!)

Rob, the union thing is a bit bizarre until you get inside it and realize that most producers would like nothing more than eliminating jobs and cutting benefits to the bone. The second that the operator position is made "optional" (and believe me, the producers lobby for that every time the contracts come up), the position will be instantly eliminated from all but a few projects. The DP has enough work to do for the most part to be forced to operate the camera as well. It's a complicated administrative position as well as a creative and technical one, and having to add the duties of operating on top should be a choice, not an obligation. On a small project, this may not be the case because of the intimacy of the unit. Believe it or not, when I DP I almost always prefer to have a good operator. I don't miss having the "control" at all, I welcome the opportunity to focus on what that job is all about (and I estimate that working as a DP uses about four times the mental energy that operating does).

As an operator, I KNOW that I am able to bring to the plate ideas and techniques and skills that ultimately can shave precious minutes off a given work day, which saves the production many times my daily rate. Eliminating the position for economic reasons just doesn't make sense.

I have worked on shows as a "standby operator" to satisfy the union requirement, and I have watched firsthand as the DP has shot bad reflections or film gear in the shot because he/she is pre-occupied with other things. It's their prerogative.
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