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Questioning about a DOP


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#1 Benjamin Smith

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 09:37 AM

Hey Everyone,

As you can see I am new here and am sort of new to Film/ Video. I am Writing and Directing my first documenary next year and am in the planning stages. I am also a DP for myself. However, I have a shoot in england that will be rather large. It is a 7 camera setup that will be filming 5 men. My co-director and I can not do the filming and we will be hiring just standard camera men to run the cams. My question is Would I hire a Director of Photography to manage all of my cameras and their operators or does that fall under a diferent catagory.

Also if this is the case how much would a DP charge for a week of filming? I don't know the going rate for my budget. One morething does anyone know a good Director of Photography in the London area?

Thanks for any help. Everytime I think I know a lot about video production. I find a ton more I don't know.

P.S. Iwill also need a Lighting gaffer and sound engineer in england.
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#2 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 11:01 AM

Hey Everyone,

As you can see I am new here and am sort of new to Film/ Video. I am Writing and Directing my first documenary next year and am in the planning stages. I am also a DP for myself. However, I have a shoot in england that will be rather large. It is a 7 camera setup that will be filming 5 men. My co-director and I can not do the filming and we will be hiring just standard camera men to run the cams. My question is Would I hire a Director of Photography to manage all of my cameras and their operators or does that fall under a diferent catagory.

Also if this is the case how much would a DP charge for a week of filming? I don't know the going rate for my budget. One morething does anyone know a good Director of Photography in the London area?

Thanks for any help. Everytime I think I know a lot about video production. I find a ton more I don't know.

P.S. Iwill also need a Lighting gaffer and sound engineer in england.



Hello, Benjamin! A couple of questions first. You say that you are new to Film/Video yet you are also a DP? I only ask because it is helpful to understand the level of someone's experience in order to better answer questions. An experienced DP would likely know the answers to your questions, so I'll have to go on the assumption that the first statement about being new is more accurate.

In my experience, having any more than one camera requires that ONE of the cameramen be the acting or appointed DP. On two camera shoots, the two cameramen can bounce ideas off of each other, but only one of them should be in charge ultimately. It's not that the other guy's ideas are bad or won't work...there are a million ways to light the same thing and get the same picture....but at some point, in the interest of just getting the work done, somebody has to have the final say so everyone else can get to work to make it happen.

That said, I think that while a DP could operate his own camera when there are, say, around two or three cameras rolling simultaneously, once you get above three, that person should step back to oversee what is going on and not operate or be the only person lighting. With four or more cameras rolling, it is helpful and arguably necessary for the DP to have dedicated Operators who can worry about their own cameras and the minutia that goes with the assignments. It is also necessary for the DP to have a Gaffer and a lighting crew (dependent upon how much has to be done), so that the DP isn't neglecting the camera aspects of the setup because he is too hands on with the lighting.

Can one guy do it all? Sure, but you don't get something for nothing. Having a DP who is also Operating and lighting means that he can't devote enough attention to the other cameras (if there are concerns there) or to the lighting (if there are problems) or to the Director (if/when he changes his mind about something). Theoretically, the more bodies you have doing specific jobs with someone assigned to oversee it all (the DP), the more efficiently the whole day will run and the Director will (hopefully) have a better chance of achieving his goals. Skimp on crew, equipment, prep, meals, etc, and it WILL impact what ends up on screen.

Good luck with the project!
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#3 Benjamin Smith

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 11:12 AM

Hello, Benjamin! A couple of questions first. You say that you are new to Film/Video yet you are also a DP? I only ask because it is helpful to understand the level of someone's experience in order to better answer questions. An experienced DP would likely know the answers to your questions, so I'll have to go on the assumption that the first statement about being new is more accurate.



Thanks a lot. Sorry about the confusion. I have been working in film and video for coming up on 3 years but only doing cheap promo and commercial stuff. So I am a director and can manage a crew. I am a "self-proclaimed" cinematographer. Basically know how to frame shots but in no means a full fledged DP.

You were very helpful I your thoughts go along the same lnes as mine. I figured that the DP would step away from the cameras and be able to manage all of them from his own screens so in his experience he can help the camera men frame their shots. We will also be hiring lighting specialists to work with him so he is not managing everything.

Thanks again
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#4 John Holland

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 11:38 AM

Hi Benjamin you say you will be 5 men ? what are they going to be doing ?
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Visual Products

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Broadcast Solutions Inc

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Opal

Rig Wheels Passport

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Abel Cine

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

Aerial Filmworks

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

The Slider

Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery