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Technical Grand Prize, Cannes 2007


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#1 Hal Smith

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 04:13 PM

What kind of incredibly complicated gear do you have to have available to win the Technical Grand Prize at Festival du Cannes? That's Janusz Kaminski on the wheelchair AKA Ghetto Dolly.
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http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401383/

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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 04:32 PM

Awesome. :lol:

I knew that wheelchair I bought from goodwill wasn't defunct yet :-D

Edited by Chris Keth, 24 October 2007 - 04:33 PM.

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#3 Xavier Plaza

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 04:41 PM

jajaja unbelievable :lol:
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#4 Tom Lowe

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 05:17 PM

Hahaha, nice.
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#5 Max Jacoby

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 02:14 AM

The name 'Technical Prize' is a bit missleading, it is not meant to give credit to a technical invention, but to the artistic work of a 'technician', which mean anyone besides director, screenwriter and composer.
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#6 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 02:36 AM

I don't know whether it's a funny or incredibly distasteful joke...considering the plot of the film ;)

Still, I look forward to it. I've loved everything Schnabel's done thus far :)

Edited by Jonathan Bowerbank, 25 October 2007 - 02:36 AM.

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#7 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 02:43 AM

The name 'Technical Prize' is a bit missleading, it is not meant to give credit to a technical invention, but to the artistic work of a 'technician', which mean anyone besides director, screenwriter and composer.


Still, one has to love the image and what it represents. Here in the US, the trend is to get the highest quality, top-dollar, latest equipment or else. On most self-respecting US feature productions the sight of a wheelchair dolly would be near-death embarrasment for the producers. Producers who would do anything to prevent such a picture to be disseminated, in the event that it was even used, over their dead bodies. And most of the same productions, albeit techincally perfect, amount to a big pile of steaming poop. With very few exceptions, of course. Hence our amusement.

Any movie that uses a wheelchair dolly and gets in to Cannes, let alone manages to win the tech prize -for whatever "technical" reasons- wins our low budget, real-world hearts!

Who needs a Fisher 11, then? If a wheelchair dolly is good enough for Janusz Kaminski, it's certainly good enough for me!
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#8 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 09:54 AM

"On most self-respecting US feature productions the sight of a wheelchair dolly would be near-death embarrasment for the producers. Producers who would do anything to prevent such a picture to be disseminated, in the event that it was even used, over their dead bodies."


I find that really bizarre! The most convenient, efficient and cost-effectice way to do something is the way to go. I would think that producers would be proud of that.
I heard that NASA spent 1 million dollars developing a pen that could write in outer space (you never know when you'll have to sign a cheque or contract!) The Russians just used pencils!
I guess over-kill is trendy in more ways than one right now.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 10:14 AM

I've shot thirty features and I've never had a producer care whether I moved the camera on a wheelchair, an office chair, or a remote crane (unless they couldn't afford the remote crane.) There's nothing lower-tech than a handheld camera afterall, and they do handheld shots even on big movies. Look at "24", which is not a cheap show -- they move the camera on essentially rolling office chairs of some sort.

It's standard operating procedure on most movies, big or little, to use whatever works efficiently and quickly. Sometimes the problem with a low-tech solution is that suddenly the director asks for a move that the low-tech dolly can't handle, and then you've lost time setting up a second type of dolly to now handle the new type of move the director wants.

If you need to move the camera in a manner that a Fisher 11 does better than a wheelchair, you use the Fisher 11. The advantage of the wheelchair is when moving over uneven ground like a sidewalk.

You need to have an open mind when making movies -- and that means being open to considering high-tech as well as low-tech solutions.
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#10 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 12:04 PM

I've shot thirty features and I've never had a producer care whether I moved the camera on a wheelchair, an office chair, or a remote crane (unless they couldn't afford the remote crane.) There's nothing lower-tech than a handheld camera afterall, and they do handheld shots even on big movies. Look at "24", which is not a cheap show -- they move the camera on essentially rolling office chairs of some sort.

It's standard operating procedure on most movies, big or little, to use whatever works efficiently and quickly. Sometimes the problem with a low-tech solution is that suddenly the director asks for a move that the low-tech dolly can't handle, and then you've lost time setting up a second type of dolly to now handle the new type of move the director wants.

If you need to move the camera in a manner that a Fisher 11 does better than a wheelchair, you use the Fisher 11. The advantage of the wheelchair is when moving over uneven ground like a sidewalk.

You need to have an open mind when making movies -- and that means being open to considering high-tech as well as low-tech solutions.



For the record, the Fisher 11 reference was a joke. And I was being a little too sarcastic and cynical about producing rather dying than using wheelchair dollies.

Honestly, though, I guess David is lucky to work for the people he does. In my experience -not thirty, but about 14 movies that I have worked on, and not as a DP- the definite trend is to push it as far as it'll go, budget-wise. I could mention some ASC members I have worked with that have used technocranes and the like on everything, apparently whether it serves the story or not . . . I will refrain from "naming names." And there are some other ASC members who are down to earth and bring their own older lenses, or accesories sometimes crudely adapted to be used on newer cameras, especially on the lower budget ones. This I respect, for I am all for simplicity. As Einstein said, the best solution to a problem is the simplest one that works.

But, on some other $50+ million productions, if the producers hear some other movie is using such and such piece of equipment they don't have or can't afford, they get envious- going as far as proposing to the production team if they should "borrow" the equipment from the other production. No joke. This one time, the DP- anonymous ASC member- had to step in saying that they really didn't have to borrow anything, since what they were using would do. It was rather embarrasing to witness.

There are good movies to work on and not, I guess. I am in the unlucky crews most of the time . . .
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#11 Hal Smith

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 12:15 PM

If you need to move the camera in a manner that a Fisher 11 does better than a wheelchair, you use the Fisher 11. The advantage of the wheelchair is when moving over uneven ground like a sidewalk.

You need to have an open mind when making movies -- and that means being open to considering high-tech as well as low-tech solutions.

What surprises me is that none of the dolly manufacturers seem to have incorporated the idea of big wheels like on a wheelchair into a professional product. I was on a guerilla shoot a few months ago that was using a wheelchair and ended up with a on-screen credit as Key Grip because I kept solving all the problems the wheelchair posed as well as many other grip issues. Crazy gig, I was called in to bring over some lighting gear by a friend on the crew, fixed all their grip problems, and then recorded the dialog that day. Is there a standard industry credit for "Jack of all Trades and Master of Some"?
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#12 John Holland

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 12:37 PM

I am sure i remember a production still of Jame Wong Howe with a camera on his shoulder doing a tracking shot in a wheelchair on the film "Seconds " . I have used wheelchairs loads of time just make sure you dont have to much air in the tyres if to hard makes bumpy .
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#13 Max Jacoby

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 01:03 PM

I don't know whether it's a funny or incredibly distasteful joke...considering the plot of the film ;)

It's very likely just a pov shot from the main character who is tied to a whelchair. Unfortunately I haven't seen the film yet, but from what I read, the whole beginning of the film is all pov shots of him lying in hospital bed.
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#14 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 11:30 PM

What surprises me is that none of the dolly manufacturers seem to have incorporated the idea of big wheels like on a wheelchair into a professional product.


This is my vintage Vinten dolly/crane:

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Note the motorcycle wheels on the front ('coarse the back wheels are dinky, but then again so are the front ones on wheel chairs :D )

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 25 October 2007 - 11:31 PM.

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