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the tools of the trade


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#1 Daniel Madsen

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 11:35 PM

Do you believe too many filmmakers use the latest bells in whistles of the production industry (dollies, cranes and steadycams) just because they?re available, or do you believe they have motivation and fit specifically into the visual design of their project?
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#2 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 12:16 AM

Tools are just that, tools. If a craftsman becomes inthrawled with what his tools can do instead of useing them to make his work better the work suffers. Anytime an audiance is aware of the camera instead of wrapped up in the story the movie is in trouble.

I personally like all the inovations that modern filmmaking offers because it allows the filmmaker more choices, but there is a school of filmmaking started by Lars Von Tripp in 1995 called Dogma that rejects all modern inovations and trys to return the filmmaker to pure storytelling. The dogma movement not only rejects all techincal innovations (academy 35mm, handheld only. Amient lighting only, no sets, sound effects, props-other than what is aready on hand at the location, no VFX including titles. and a host of other restrictions) but also rejects plot inovations ( no genra films ).

It is as pure and free from slick tricks as filmmaking can be, and yet dispite this, very few of these films are really good in my opinion... and there are time I swear to God if given the chance I would to grab the director by the collar and sream into his face PUT THE DAMN CAMERA ON A TIPOD FOR CHRIST'S SAKE!!!.

Most seem to fall into ubsudity or massive exaduration to make up for the lack of choices. The only one I ever really enjoyed was Harmony Korine's "Julien, Donkey Boy" an that was because of the content, not the style in which the film was made. I think the trick is not to ignor what we have but use it more effectively and let of that part of our ego that says "Hey look what I can do! Isn't the way I move my camera great!".
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#3 Daniel Stigler

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 03:22 AM

A lot of this things are available, because crafty filmmakers felt that these toys would help turn their vision into reality and so they built them.
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#4 Alex Haspel

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 07:13 AM

Lars Von Tripp


It's more like "Lars van Trier" ...
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#5 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 02:45 PM

Do you believe too many filmmakers use the latest bells in whistles of the production industry (dollies, cranes and steadycams) just because they?re available, or do you believe they have motivation and fit specifically into the visual design of their project?


This question is very case sensitive because there are good and bad directors. The good directors use the necessary tools to realize their vision, and the bad ones sometimes move the camera constantly, with no rhyme or reason, as a way to cover up the fact that they don't know what they're doing.
Whether or not "too many" directors use filmmaking tools improperly is a pretty broad question, and I don't think there's a correct answer.
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#6 Greg Gross

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 05:34 PM

For a few weeks when I started photography training(a long time ago),my instructor reqiured
the class to use a box camera(home made from a small cardboard box). I would go into the
darkroom and insert a small piece of film(35mm cut from a roll of film),used a small slot made
from cardboard to hold the film in place at the back of the camera. We had a guide that showed
the diameter of holes that would equal a certain fstop(based on common drill bit sizes). Of course
the smaller the hole the greater the exposure time. Some of us would use caps from film contain-
ers and drill holes in them to equal fstops. So we could carry several caps around with us equal to
f2.8,f4.0 ,f5.6,f8.0 etc.. The film plane was simply measured from the hole in the front to the piece
of 35mm film in the back of the box. No fancy camera controls to worry about(did not have to wor-
ry about features turned off or turned on). You guessed it,we guessed at the exposure times,would
you believe all morning,all day in some instances? My only regret is that I did not keep some of those
photos to remind me of where I came from. Today when highschool seniors come to my studio for in-
ternships they always go crazy over the F3,F4S. The new Canon EOS-1 Mark II N gets a lot of atten-
ion and the Linhof 4X5. One girl asked me why I carry a big, old,heavy tripod around to mount my
Bronica cameras on. She said why do you still use that old F3? I replied because it pleases me. You
see she would not understand but the F3 is my cardboard box. I sent her down to Strawberry Square
on an assignment to photograph people. She said you mean you want me to ask people if I can pho-
tograph them,I said yep,thats what makes you become a professional. I took my F3 and stayed be-
hind to shoot a corporate portrait of a ceo.

Greg Gross
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#7 Dan Goulder

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 08:29 PM

I guess it's all a matter of taste. Personally, I'm not a fan of conspicuous, unmotivated camera movement. In fact, I walked out of two movies in the past year specifically because I found the camera movement alone to be too annoying to take. On the other hand, I've seen both of these movies praised by some on this forum specifically for the camera work. Go figure. (If I name the movies, it'll no doubt start an argument, and I'm not in the mood.)
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#8 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 11:51 PM

It's more like "Lars van Trier" ...


I'm bad with names...Which is ALWAYS a good quality for a director to have!
:D
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#9 Sean Azze

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 12:38 AM

I always find a lot of unnecessary use of the crane in R&B videos. If you think of some of the performance sequences in videos like Ruben Studdard's "Sorry 2004", Alicia Keys and Ushers "My boo", and Eamons "I don't want you back", the camera just suddenly swings high up on the crane for no reason whatsoever. Always annoys me. That and director teams on some of these videos. Does it really take two guys to direct a sorry ass video? :P

Edited by sean126, 09 March 2006 - 12:39 AM.

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#10 rajavel

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 12:47 AM

I'm bad with names...Which is ALWAYS a good quality for a director to have!
:D



oh thats sad....u are misleading a lot of people as a director (captain)...
and it is not 'Dogma'...it is 'DOGVILLE"......
i beg to differ on ur idea of the quality for a director to have.
but thats ok. its the spirit that matters anyway.
rajavel
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#11 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 01:23 AM

Actually, no it's not. It's Dogme 95, or dogma 95. There is a film named Dogville by Lars von Trier though.
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#12 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 01:34 AM

Personally, I'm not a fan of conspicuous, unmotivated camera movement.

There is a steadicam shot in Murder in the First that bugs me because of the unmotivated movement.
Check out the shot here.
It's a well executed steadicam shot that includes a crane step-on, and the operating is fine, the problem is that for most of the shot the camera is moving and there is very little movement by the actors in the scene. Meanwhile the camera is doing 360's and a crane step-on around a jail cell for 3 minutes. It's so distracting that it's easy to forget what's even going on in the scene (which isn't much). It's just pointless.
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#13 Lars.Erik

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 01:51 AM

I personally like all the inovations that modern filmmaking offers because it allows the filmmaker more choices, but there is a school of filmmaking started by Lars Von Tripp in 1995 called Dogma that rejects all modern inovations and trys to return the filmmaker to pure storytelling. The dogma movement not only rejects all techincal innovations (academy 35mm, handheld only. Amient lighting only, no sets, sound effects, props-other than what is aready on hand at the location, no VFX including titles. and a host of other restrictions) but also rejects plot inovations ( no genra films ).

It is as pure and free from slick tricks as filmmaking can be, and yet dispite this, very few of these films are really good in my opinion... and there are time I swear to God if given the chance I would to grab the director by the collar and sream into his face PUT THE DAMN CAMERA ON A TIPOD FOR CHRIST'S SAKE!!!.


Lars has also stated 2 years ago, that Dogme is DEAD. This way of working has in my opinion, hurt the industry more than it has helped. Yes, in the beginning is was a good thing. But nowadays, people send me scripts and say it's "Dogme", which is complete bullshit. The films usually has no elements of that in them. They are imagening a cheap film that wil make it big. They don't or won't spend the necessary money to make the picture.

That said, I can probably mentioned hundreds of films which has pointless camera movement in them, if a director ask me to move the camera I almost ALWAYS say "why?" I'm not trying be an ass, I just want to make sure me make the right choices.

And don't forget one thing guys and gals; making a movie is the easiest thing in the world, making a good one, boy that a tough job.

Good luck with all your projects, with or without a moving camera.

Edited by Lars.Erik, 09 March 2006 - 01:56 AM.

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