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Tools, not toys!!!!!


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#1 Daniel Pearl ASC

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 09:39 PM

Do not fall into production's way of making light of our requests for equipment that is necessary to get the job done well and quickly!!!! You won't become rich and famous playing with toys, and more importantly, you can't fight very hard for toys. They are tools, and all of us should be quick to correct any producer or PM who uses the term. I promise you that if you let it go, the term will put you at a disadvantage before too long. Daniel Pearl, ASC
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#2 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 10:25 PM

True indeed!
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#3 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 10:31 PM

Whenever anyone comes on this board and asks what format to shoot on, what film-stock to use, and so-on, I feel like answering, "Well, you visualize what you want the film to look like, then you figure out the tools that get you that look ... And then the producer tells you what you'll be using."

Wish I knew how to win that fight.

You're stuff looks great.
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#4 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 01:30 AM

I'll second that, Daniel, Aliens vs Predator : Requiem looked great and really creaped me out, Good job. :) I was actually studying your use of red light in the APC sequence because we plan on using a lot of red light in Blood Moon Rising.

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 09 December 2008 - 01:33 AM.

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#5 K Borowski

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 02:24 AM

I'll second that, Daniel, Aliens vs Predator : Requiem looked great and really creaped me out, Good job. :) I was actually studying your use of red light in the APC sequence because we plan on using a lot of red light in Blood Moon Rising.


Ahem, cough cough, did you read the title of the, cough ahem ahem, thread, Steven? ;-)
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#6 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 02:46 AM

Yeah, I know, I was just agreeing with Jon. apparently Daniel USES his tools to great advantage. Besides I doubt whether anyone's gonna disagree with him on this issue. :rolleyes:
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 03:07 AM

I heartily agree with that working philosophy, especially when speaking to production about getting those tools. That said, can't we also appreciate the beauty in well-crafted tools? They are pretty cool bits of machinery, after all. ;)
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#8 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 04:06 AM

a very true statement indeed. I feel, however, that too many people before our time working with said producers have tapped this resource all too much. In that, I mean that they have expressed a "need" for something and hardly used it at all. Furthermore, I've seen many talented folks make something of nothing on quite a few productions I've worked on. I guess its all about the relationship the DP and Production heads have with eachother, and how much trust is invested in the DP.
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#9 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 04:10 AM

In that, I mean that they have expressed a "need" for something and hardly used it at all.

Well, sometimes a certain tool is really needed for only one or two shots. That doesn't mean it isn't needed. Although I understand how that can sometimes look to a producer, and of course sometimes a compromise is in order.
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#10 Ram Shani

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 04:25 AM

wise words

i will definitely adapt it :)

ps

it's so great to meet top dp's here

i love cinematography.com!!!!!
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#11 Chris Keth

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 04:26 AM

It's even worse when a piece of equipment is rented and then there's pressure to use it a lot since it's been paid for. It results in shots made to fit the equipment, rather than find the equipment to complete the desired shot. It makes me a sad panda. :(
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#12 Andrew Koch

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 07:58 AM

Even on the lowest of budgets, I've had this come up. I was shooting a student short where the director/producer was paying for rentals. There was no money for any HMI's so I requested that we at least rent one shiny board for our day exteriors. The director finally caved and spent the 20 dollars for the week. All forecasts said there would be clear skies, but the days ended up being overcast and sometimes raining, rendering the shiny board pretty much useless. I worked around it and made it a soft look, but this angered the director. Every day I was asked by the director when I was planning on using the shiny board that had cost soooo much money. I said due to circumstances beyond our control, we no longer needed it. The director found this unacceptable and demanded that I use it for the next scene which was a night interior. I still didn't need it, but to get the director off my back I put the shiny board on a stand and would have one of the grips shake it up from time to time. It had absolutely no use in the scene, but it fooled the director enough to drop it. I don't like to waste the grips time with such nonsense, but at least it helped to keep some sanity on the set.

On another occasion, I had to convince a producer that having P2 cards for an HVX was necessary for storage and not just a luxury.

I realize that this is a professional forum and these stories are more from student and amateur productions that I did a couple of years ago, but I figured it might be amusing to share them. I in no way mean to detract from Mr. Pearl's intention with this thread. He is a phenomenal cinematographer and is working at a much higher level than I am currently at. I guess it doesn't really matter what budget your are working with, there will always be a battle to get the right TOOLS, NOT "toys" for the job.
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#13 Serge Teulon

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 10:56 AM

In regards to getting the tools necessary to do the job I believe that trust is the key word here. I think this is one of the reasons why our industry is so "inner circle" based. It takes time to work with the same group before there is real trust. This in turn allows everyone do their job.
Unless of course you have a ASC or BSC etc...after your name.

I worked with a good commercials director that was constantly calling my equipment "Toys".
But I quickly understood that, for him, using the terms "Toys", was exciting and not detrimental! He by no way allowed his term of "Toys" as either an indulgence or for it to give a meaning of less importance to the needs of certain equipment.
This has to date, been the only situation like that!
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#14 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 01:19 PM

This is from a string of pre-production emails regarding my equipment order between the producer, and a vendor:


"What do you suggest?

Forget the dolly -- drop it from the order -- then go with the package plus whatever additional items from the order you can find? My DP -- like all DP's -- always asks for much more than he needs."

Thanks, Dude.
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#15 Mike Washlesky

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 02:04 PM

I still didn't need it, but to get the director off my back I put the shiny board on a stand and would have one of the grips shake it up from time to time. It had absolutely no use in the scene, but it fooled the director enough to drop it. I don't like to waste the grips time with such nonsense, but at least it helped to keep some sanity on the set.



I had to do this recently as well, sort of. My last shoot had a mexican soap star as the lead who is accustomed to being on over lit studio sets. She was always complaining that I wasn't lighting her enough. So I took a 2x2 shiny board and would place it near her in every shot, just out of frame. It served no purposed except to keep her quiet. We called it the Pacifier.

Edited by Mike Washlesky, 09 December 2008 - 02:04 PM.

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#16 John Sprung

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 02:12 PM

My DP -- like all DP's -- always asks for much more than he needs."

Much like a general going to war, a DP doesn't know exactly how the battle is going to go each day, and exactly what will be needed when. It's always better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.



-- J.S.
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#17 Mike Nichols

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 10:45 AM

Wah!!!!! Keep crying and you'll be lucky to get a 1K on your next shoot :)

Hey, us producer's deal with it from every angle! Lest not ye forget the inexperienced DP's who absolutely demand 10K HMI's, 100ft Cranes and Grapes off the vine for the $200K indie shoot :)


(runs for cover...)
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#18 Mike Washlesky

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 11:51 AM

Wah!!!!! Keep crying and you'll be lucky to get a 1K on your next shoot :)

Hey, us producer's deal with it from every angle! Lest not ye forget the inexperienced DP's who absolutely demand 10K HMI's, 100ft Cranes and Grapes off the vine for the $200K indie shoot :)


(runs for cover...)



Ouch.
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#19 Alfeo Dixon

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 11:35 PM

As a Steadi Op, I've been the right "Tool" needed for one shot and felt guilty about a well plained production when I was called in at lunch, ate, built, shot and wrapped before the ice cream for desert melted. But, tooo many times have I been the dolly-pod because of the producers killing the dolly because they have steadicam for the day... not the right "tool."

call me a "Toy" and get the fist!
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#20 Daniel Pearl ASC

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 07:35 PM

Somehow a producer snuck onto this message board!

QUESTION: How many producers does it take to screw in a light bulb?

ANSWER: Does it have to be a light bulb?
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