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  1. #71  
    Senior Member KETCH ROSSi's Avatar
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    Hi David,

    could you give your professional opinion on the number of cameras needed in a shoot.

    I immagine the number to need to be different for each film senarial, but in general, if this can be generalized, how many cameras are in off for a project?

    My self I write mostly Drama with some action driven by Lovestory.

    His the number 3 a standard for behiond the sholders and the master?

    I also imagine budjet to be a factor as if you do not have one you must do with only 1 camera; the more money the more cameras?

    I will complete my production package after Cinegear and the final say on RED's delivery scadule, but at this time is very important for me not to over buy but also not to under buy, and not be capable to fulfill the shoting needs.

    Thanks in advance for your answer.

    Ciao

    KETCH ROSSI
    www,KETCHFRAME.com
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  2. #72  
    First off, some of what I am describing refers to shooting film, so ignore anything that doesn't pertain to shooting digitally, like worrying about how much footage you are shooting.

    For a long time, most low and medium-budget feature production was single-camera -- in fact "single camera" is still used to describe TV shows shot in this style, even though they are rarely single-camera anymore.

    I shot many features on one camera, with an occasional "B" camera for heavy days where we needed to get more coverage quickly. But with an extra camera, there are the costs of the extra operator and focus puller for that camera, so most film budgets limited the number of days when a second camera and crew would be employed.

    And even on these single-camera shoots, we had to occasionally rent a special camera for unique shots, like a high-speed camera for super slo-mo, or a crash camera, etc.

    But even back then, if you went on location away from a city with rental houses, you generally rented two sync-sound cameras just in case one went down, so the issue was how many days could you afford a second camera crew to run that second camera in the package, plus the attendant increase in film consumption that running two cameras caused.

    But lately, two-camera shooting as the base norm has become more and more common, and budgeting for more film stock as a result. Maybe these higher shooting amounts are a bleed-thru from more and more people shooting digitally and getting used to those habits of being able to shoot more footage.

    So while a single camera is still fine for many small productions, especially intimates ones in small locations with few actors in the scene, it's becoming more commonplace to plan on using two-cameras for a large percentage of shooting, especially big scenes. Of course, even three or more cameras may be employed on really big scenes, but there is a law of diminishing returns when you try and constantly run three or more cameras on everything. Plus the sound crews hate it because you've got wide and tight being shot simultaneously and cameras pointing in different directions at the same time.

    The advantage of a two-camera crew and package is that even if you can only work the second camera in there for 50% of the shots, that B-camera crew can either be grabbing second unit type shots or pick-ups or inserts that are missing, or they can be setting up for the next shot, like building the camera onto a crane or putting it into Steadicam mode, so there is no downtime.

    But it's really a budget issue, plus it does make a shoot less intimate for the actors when you've doubled the size of the camera crews in small locations, though many actors like having two shot sizes knocked off at the same time so they are not playing the scene over and over again as much. But some actors don't like two-camera shooting either because they feel that the second camera has some sort of compromised viewing position (I know... they probably should leave worrying about such things to the director).

    Some editors also like two-camera shooting because then there is better continuity/matching in action between the shot sizes, and more editing options -- but then, others don't like a "dump truck" style of directing where they get hours and hours of footage to wade through just to cut a little scene.

    My last HD feature, "The Quiet", was pretty low in budget (under 1 mil.) and we shot most of the movie with a single HD camera that I operated, but we had maybe six days in the schedule with a second camera and second crew for it -- like to shoot a basketball game and a high school prom, etc.
    David Mullen, ASC
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    http://www.davidmullenasc.com
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  3. #73  
    Senior Member KETCH ROSSi's Avatar
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    Thanks very much David, you have given me the exact info I was looking for.

    As money is not very big of a issue(I have RED #349/851/852) especially shooting digital, the only reason for my Q?
    was really because I like to be present and in focus for each shot and believe that multiple camera shots will not get my full attention, especially so at the begine during my first films.

    So at the end I believe I will stay with two cameras, the second one exactly to do the function as you described, set up for the next shot or replace the first one in case it brakes down(hope not!)

    And I do think one camera point of view gets more of the actors qualities as he/She concentrates in the one camera angle.

    Thanks again, hope to meet you some time, maeby Cinegear?

    Ciao

    KETCH ROSSI
    www.KETCHFRAME.com
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  4. #74  
    Yes, after doing many two-camera shoots lately, I like it when we get back to single camera shooting because it's more controlled, simpler, the crew is smaller, and I can adjust things in the frame to improve the composition.

    But now and then, it's great to knock off extra angles with a second camera, like when there are children in the scene. Sometimes when doing a family scene with kids playing in the shot, we'll run both cameras on what the kids are doing first, in case we get something interesting and spontaneous, and in case the kids end up being pulled from the set later when they start crying, etc. You get some great cutaway shots that way.

    Hopefully I'll be at CineGear, unless I am working. If I am there, I may have to put some time in at the ASC booth, so you can catch me there.
    David Mullen, ASC
    Los Angeles
    http://www.davidmullenasc.com
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  5. #75  
    Senior Member KETCH ROSSi's Avatar
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    Fantastic David I will look for you there, just in case you are not working.
    Thanks again,

    Ciao

    KETCH ROSSI
    www.KETCHFRAME.com
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  6. #76  
    Thank you David. Will try back projection and see.
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  #77  
    Quote Originally Posted by km9000 View Post
    Can you recommend a great restaurant while in LA? How about Palm Springs?
    Fred 62 (24/7 diner) at 1850 N Vermont Ave is pretty good
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  8. #78  
    Senior Member Adam C Lubkin's Avatar
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    David, are there any visual cliches that you are tired of seeing and/or have an aversion to shooting?
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  9. #79  
    I've already mentioned the "funny" use of wide-angle lenses for close-ups, which is a bit aggressive to my tastes in general, but I've seen it work.

    I just get distracted by stylistic touches that don't seem to be motivated, or aren't motivated enough to be worth the distraction. The "Shakeycam" operating style started around the time of "NYPD Blue" is one of those things that really need to be motivated for me if the director wants to use it, otherwise it feels arbitrary.

    I know this is not a popular opinion, but I get a little bored by excessive realism sometimes, two-hours of slice-of-life shooting, usually handheld, but probably I'm only bored when the narrative is boring so I start thinking about the technique. When the narrative is interesting to me, then a very realistic style can be very apt and motivated. I guess I'm of the opinion that some element of the filmmaking has to be interesting at any one point, and if it's not the story, dialogue, or performances, and if there isn't interesting visuals or sound design either... then what's holding my interest anymore?

    I'm not really one of those people who feel that technique has to always be invisible though -- I see it more like symphonic music where everyone is playing as a single unit but occasionally one instrument or theme becomes dominant and then fades into the background again. So even though narrative cinema is story-driven by definition, now and then the image or the sound or the cutting or the music score, etc. may have its solo moment where it gets to shine before stepping back again.

    Cliches are generally bad when they don't work. For example, doing a horror film in a Gothic style is a cliche, but when it works, it can be satisfying. An example is "Psycho" -- Hitchcock generally avoided cliches of the thriller/suspense genre, saying that he preferred shooting a murder in color, staged in a sunny field of flowers, but in the case of "Pyscho" there are some classic elements like the scary house on the hill, a stormy night, dark clouds, moody b&w photography, etc.

    Another cliche is the pathetic fallacy of having it rain when someone is sad, but sometimes it works visually. Mozart was apparently buried on a cold winter day but the movie "Amadeus" portrays it as a rainy day, which works visually to match the Requiem Mass playing on the soundtrack. A simply cold but dry day may have not had quite the same theatrical, operatic overtones in film.
    David Mullen, ASC
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    http://www.davidmullenasc.com
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  10. #80  
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Mullen ASC View Post
    I see it more like symphonic music where everyone is playing as a single unit but occasionally one instrument or theme becomes dominant and then fades into the background again. So even though narrative cinema is story-driven by definition, now and then the image or the sound or the cutting or the music score, etc. may have its solo moment where it gets to shine before stepping back again.
    Ahhhh, an opening....
    David.
    Sound from your perspective and experience.
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