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SHOOTING PLAN or how to shoot one scene (example from "Heroes")


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#1 VOlodya VO

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 07:31 PM

Hello!
A little task for professional directors and very good lesson for me (I want to know - how many cameras - one camera or multi, they shoot one actor (closeup, middle shot) and then another actor or not etc).
It would be great if you post here some sort of the DIRECTORs SHOOTING PLAN of these scene.



For me -there is a simple scene for actors but many cuts and different shooting angles...so I want to know how to shoot all this optimal way - what to shoot first, and what - second.

Thanks.
p.s. This is scene from HEROES. Abstract scene. Please dont delete it. I post it only for studying!!!!
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 08:14 PM

Generally you would shoot the widest shot that held the most action or dialogue, then move to the tighter angles, and then turn around and do the same thing, go wide to tight.

However, in this case, both directions (towards the doors and away from the doors) have shots the see the whole room, and neither direction favors more action or dialogue than the other, so it matters less which direction you start with. First, for a scene like this, you pretty much have to light for 360 degrees and just plan on cleaning up the tighter shots and foreground.

I'd probably start with the angle looking towards the doors since it favors more of the main actor's dialogue lines and sees more of the scene action. So you'd probably start with the shot that is over the shoulder of the foreground guy at the table with the doors in the far background, then shoot the tighter angles.

I'd probably turn around and finish the coverage of the dialogue at the desk (or start with the Steadicam shot entering the room and moving towards the guy at the desk) before doing that complex crane shot where the main actor climbs the ladder to the sword at the top of the cabinet. I'd probably end the shoot getting any inserts of objects. But it all depends on whether I need to start or finish up with one actor or the other. If the main actor needs to go home earlier, I may shoot the order so that the last shot is the close-up of the other actor at the desk so I can send the main actor home.
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#3 VOlodya VO

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 08:19 AM

Thank you very much, David!!
Some more questions (if you dont mind. This is very important for me!)

What is the best way to shoot this 3 points of view?
3_plans.jpg

a) 2 cams side by side shooting only one hero: 1cam-1a, 2cam-1b?
B) 2 cams situated at opposite sides and shooting both heroes: 1cam- 1b, 2cam-2c (or something like that)?
c) just one camera shooting one hero -1a,1b etc (all points and then - another)?

2. How many takes for each shot? What do you think?
3. Storyboard is needed to plan all this or not?
3. You said about 360-light. When they correct it for closeups and something like that?

The speed of shooting the modern Shows is great but quality of DOP is also good.
How to shoot it in a such a quickly way?
Maybe you know some good books for professionals about "planing and shooting primetime series"?
Iam a filmdirector but in our country we have different traditions of shooting...so I need some material which helps me to PLAN all this dynamics.
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#4 VOlodya VO

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 08:30 AM

Thank you very much, David!!
Some more questions (if you dont mind. This is very important for me!)

1. What is the best way to shoot this 3 points of view?
_3plans.jpg

a ) 2 cams side by side shooting only one hero: 1cam-1a, 2cam-1b?
b ) 2 cams situated at opposite sides and shooting both heroes: 1cam- 1b, 2cam-2c (or something like that)?
c ) just one camera shooting one hero -1a,1b etc (all points and then - another)?

2. How many takes for each shot? What do you think?
3. Storyboard is needed to plan all this or not?
4. You said about 360-light. When they correct it for closeups and something like that?

The speed of shooting the modern Shows is great but quality of DOP is also good.
How to shoot it in a such a quickly way?
Maybe you know some good books for professionals about "planing and shooting primetime series"?
Iam a filmdirector but in our country we have different traditions of shooting...so I need some material which helps me to PLAN all this dynamics.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 10:08 AM

They could have done it single-camera, but TV these days is usually shot with two-cameras, so probably 1a and 1b were shot at the same time, same as 2a and 2b (B-camera to the right of A-camera on #1). The 2c was just a tighter pick-up (another take with a tighter lens.)

But you could do this with one camera and more set-ups.

Generally to make it easier on the lighting and sound, you don't shoot opposite directions simultaneously, although that can happen now and then. I did that in "Astronaut Farmer" for a scene on a hilltop at twilight (magic hour) so that the available light and sky would match on the faces in both directions.

I can't tell you how many takes were done -- as many as they needed. Generally you average three or four but it just depends. You could do it in two or it could have taken fifteen if the actor was flubbing their lines. Or you can do "pick-ups" after a couple of takes of the whole scene, just another take for the line you need again.

With a space that big, you scout the location or see the set and make a plan with the Gaffer to light the whole thing in advance of showing up, with a pre-rig crew. Then all you have to do is concentrate on lighting the closer shots on the shooting day.

There were only two complicated shots that the director and DP hopefully warned everyone about in advance, to be prepared. One is the Steadicam shot revealing the whole room as he enters, the other is the remote crane shot as he climbs the ladder. Those two would take the most time to shoot, especially the crane shot, so some warning is good, whether by storyboards or shot lists in advance, or just telling the AD, the Key Grip, the AC's and operators in advance, etc. The crane may have been special-ordered just for that day; I'm assuming they always carry a Steadicam on that show.
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#6 Gordon Highland

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 11:49 AM

Sometimes I don't have the luxury of shooting the master first, though I would certainly prefer it, technically. Often we're under heavy time constraints so I'll begin with framing up singles of whoever knows their lines best (don't tell James Lipton). If someone's got some heavy technical jargon or a long monologue, this gives them a chance to go over their lines many more times off camera, while still getting a feel for the interaction with the other actor(s). Then by the end everyone knows their stuff inside and out through repetition, and I'll get the most usable master in just a couple of takes, with less time and media wasted all around.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 12:20 PM

The problem with not shooting the widest shots first is that it makes it harder to light because it's too easy to cheat the lighting for a tighter frame and harder to then broom-back the lighting for a wider shot and keep the look the same. In other words, if you start with the tigher shot, the DP has to mentally light the set for the wider shot anyway in order to not screw himself when he backs out.

Truth is that no matter how well you plan something, you make adjustments when you see it on the set, so it helps to solve all the problems of lighting the set in the wide shot so that tighter angles are more simple tweaks to the lighting. If you save the wide shot for later, you may find that the set needs a hard rake of light on a back wall to look good, or some bounce off of the floor for fill, but you didn't have that in the close-up when that wall was out of focus in the background.

Plus there is a tendency for every department to bring their personal gear as close to the shooting area as possible -- carts, cases, bags, grip equipment, etc. all of which has to be broomed back when you go from tight to wide. It may even effect sound -- the close shot may have been easy to get from a boom mic, but the wide shot requires a radio mic -- and the sound person may have preferred using the radio mic for the whole scene for consistency's sake if he had known that the wider shot was going to be mic'ed that way.
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#8 VOlodya VO

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 12:42 PM

They could have done it single-camera, but TV these days is usually shot with two-cameras, so probably 1a and 1b were shot at the same time, same as 2a and 2b (B-camera to the right of A-camera on #1). The 2c was just a tighter pick-up (another take with a tighter lens.)
But you could do this with one camera and more set-ups.

With a space that big, you scout the location or see the set and make a plan with the Gaffer to light the whole thing in advance of showing up, with a pre-rig crew. Then all you have to do is concentrate on lighting the closer shots on the shooting day.


David.
Where I can find a good professional book about PLANING this process in details?
With the guide - who is responsible and for what (pre-rig etc), about all these process that you just described (2 cameras, scouting locations, maybe examples of shooting plans etc).
Thank you!
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#9 VOlodya VO

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 06:09 AM

Dear Moderators!
Please delete this post http://www.cinematog...n...st&p=179010
because the next is the same. I just fix the problem with the huge pictures!
Thankyou
p.s.
Still waiting for advice about a book...
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#10 Mitch Lusas

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 07:50 AM

Still waiting for advice about a book...


It seems like you're looking for two books. One that talks about crew responsibilities and another that deals with preparing as a director for a scene. While I don't personally know about a book that deals with crew responsibilities, I'm sure one is out there; probably for producers. As for the preparation for the scene, I would say Film Directing Fundamentals (2nd ed) by Nicholas T. Proferes. This book breaks down scripts and brings them into storyboard form. In the end of the book he analyzes Hitchcock's Notorious, Weir's The Truman Show, and Fellini's 8 1/2. While there seems to be a focus on storyboards (not always useful for DP's) the book does delve a little into overheads (extremely useful for DP's and Gaffer's). This book will help you break down a script and find the story that needs to be shot.

Hope that helps.
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#11 Xavier Plaza

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 10:30 AM

Hi, i know here are talking about shooting plan, but i think this could be relevant..., i found this blog about heroes i love it, and it looks very interesting because here you can find several directors inputs, producers inputs, interviews, storyboards, backstage photos, sadly no much cinematography inputs, but the point is there a lot of material about heroes, so if you are a heroes fan this is your blog, enjoy

http://gregbeeman.blogspot.com/


I would love every tv show have this kind of blog... :lol:
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#12 Liam Hall

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 04:35 AM

As the director you should concentrate on what shots you need and which shots are most important to get in the can and let the AD worry about what order to shoot them in.

I'm not a fan of shooting simple scenes on more than one camera, but if you have to for speed or any other reason you need to involve the DoP in that conversation, as well as the AD, plus any other heads of department who may be affected by shooting multiple angles simultaneously.

The secret to shooting fast is good communication and good planning. Hope that helps.
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Visual Products

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