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So nervous waiting for the telecine!


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#1 Anne Winter

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 06:57 PM

Well I shot the 16mm film at the weekend and I did the best I could and it was tough as I'm fairly new to this, didn't have an assistant and we had a lot to get through in three days. I think that everything should have come out ok although I have some doubts about a couple of shots that were done by a stedicam operator. I guess I just really felt out of control of the situation and I think that there may be a problem with the matte box edging the frame in a couple of shots he did as we went to a wider lens after the camera was on his rig and I couldn't see the set up properly. I know if this is the case that it is entirely my fault but I am hoping that something can be done in post to make the shots usable.

Does anyone else get this nervousness waiting to hear that the film is ok? I'd be devestated if it all comes out badly especially as I did the shooting for an old friend who really needs this film to be good. One thing I learnt is that if your shooting a film where you have a lot to do over a short period of time it's that you really need an assistant you can rely on as trying to think about everything from the creative aspects down to loading the film and doing the camera reports was just too much when working at such pace.

So tell me about how you all feel waiting to hear about the film you just shot, any disasters or surprises? I read in the Sight and Sound Cinematography Special today a quote by Dante Spinotti "A lot of cinematographers will tell you, We know what we're doing. But it's not true. We're guessing most of the time."

I certianly feel that I was making my own best educated guess while shooting and I just hope that it was good enough!

Edited by Anne Winter, 18 March 2009 - 06:59 PM.

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#2 Bob Hayes

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 08:24 PM

Imagined failure has the same effect on your psyche as real failure. Your mind can not tell the difference. So if you spend a couple of days imaging the worst and then everything turns out great you will have experienced all the pain of a failure that never has occurred. When dealing with uncertainty try to focus on the possibility of a favorable outcome. You will be in a much better place to deal with what ever happens.
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#3 John Brawley

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 12:32 AM

Does anyone else get this nervousness waiting to hear that the film is ok? I'd be devestated if it all comes out badly especially as I did the shooting for an old friend who really needs this film to be good.



It's one of the most rewarding things to finally see your footage. Almost always it never turns out quite the way you expect, but it's usually as good or even better !!!

I think this ritual is one of my most favourite parts of the process. Bah Humbug when you can *see it all* on set !

Im sure you'll be fine.

It would have been much better if you could have supervised the transfer. Then on the spot if say the mattebox was in shot a little you may have been able to fix it by blowing up the image a little and no one would be the wiser !!

jb
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#4 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 01:24 AM

Hey Anne,

I know how you feel. I'm still waiting to see footage from a short I shot back in January!! The producers still have no money for a telecine. I took a lot of risks shooting the project (talk about educated guesses!) so I was horribly nervous to see it the first week or two after we wrapped. After that, I've put it out of my mind and I am on to my next project, which helps a lot. Once you move on to your next shoot, the nervousness goes away - I guess the fear is that you've screwed up so bad that no one will ever hire you again, so when someone does then it's a relief.
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#5 Serge Teulon

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 11:03 AM

That moment in waiting is very addictive!!
Enjoy it, as once you've seen the footage it will be gone....until the next time you shoot again!
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#6 Serge Teulon

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 11:09 AM

That moment in waiting is very addictive!!
Enjoy it, as once you've seen the footage it will be gone....until the next time you shoot again!

Also, a good assistant is worth his/her weight in gold! It's a false economy to cut that corner.
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#7 Dan Goulder

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 11:53 AM

It's one of the most rewarding things to finally see your footage. Almost always it never turns out quite the way you expect, but it's usually as good or even better !!!

Agreed. You'll find that film has a surprising amount of latitude. The anticipation you're experiencing is common, and may never fully recede. Then again, that's what makes finally seeing your work so much more satisfying. Your confidence in the results will grow over time.
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#8 Michael Collier

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 02:59 PM

Totally normal. My first telecine I was nervous as hell. Today several films later I don't really get that voice of doubt, because I work each setup mechanically and double check the work my whole crew is doing.

Did I really pull that 85b when I switched from bedroom to living room? Did I forget to remove the pola when we went inside. Did I accidentally load 500t when I meant to load 200t?

The thing is, when you look back over notes and remember how the shoot went, you should remember how attentive to details you were. Checking the t-stop before each take, carefully calculating filter loss when setting your meter, obsessing over every detail as you went. If you stop and start to question that your going to convince yourself that you did something wrong. Remember how careful you were on set and trust in that. It hasn't let me down yet.

I recall one shoot where I was careful about checking the T-stop all day, but for some reason I doubted if I had checked it during the last few takes. In a hurry to pack out of the location I must have rolled the iris while either checking the gate or putting the camera away, and was horrified later that night when I took the camera out and saw it was on a T5.6 instead of the T2.8 that I had metered for. Of course it just let me worry, I did check the iris before each shot, but sometimes things that are so drilled into your brain, so mechanical, if you have to think back and ask if you ever did it, sometimes its not clear. Sort of like if you leave your house and mid day wonder-did I lock the door? If you lock the door every day odds are you did today, and its become so much habit you don't clearly remember doing it. Sometimes I end up doing things twice just to be sure. Just so long as in the moment your paying attention you will get everything right, but you will still be able to convince yourself you were wrong.

Head up, telecine will come back beautiful. And we all need quality first ACs. Even with a first on set you need to know they are 110% at their job, or you spend just as much energy checking their work.

As for the steadicam op, well you should be able to trust him hopefully. If he is even somewhat experienced he should see the matte box in the monitor and probably corrected for it without telling you. Maybe in the future if you can't afford a modulous, then you can at least put a clam shell on his sled so you can watch video playback after takes.



My guess is once you get the footage back you will have a similar reaction to it that I did with my first telecine. Good. Technically mistake free....but I wish I had been bolder! Film can handle a lot, and first time out the gate few are ready to start pushing the limits. Use that to build on and see how far you can push the image. But I doubt you will see any shots that will ruin the film. Have faith!
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#9 Dominic Case

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 05:43 PM

This is interesting. It's many years since I shot film for someone else - and many more years still that I first shot anything. But I really don't remember any apprehension waiting for the rushes.

I think it's because I'd never shot anything except on film (there wasn't any other way :o ). So I was used to waiting for my film to come back ever since my first roll of black and white 620 at age 7 or 8. So by the time it came to serious cinematography, I knew the form. You set it all up, as well as you know how. You check - on the camera, and in your mind. You shoot what you think is right. Then you wait - there is nothing else you can do.

If you have been used to seeing what you are shooting on a monitor, as you shoot, then you haven't become used to that element of shooting blind.

But as I write this, I think I can recall the apprehension of walking into the chemist (that's where you got your film processed) with saved up pocket money, to collect the little envelope of prints.

As others have said, there will always be a few surprises. Some will be happy ones, some will be ones that you will never ever admit were surprises.
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#10 Anne Winter

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 08:19 PM

Thank you everyone for sharing your experiances and your support. I have not seen the telecine yet myself but I got a call from the director and everything came out okay. The exposures and focus were perfect apparently which I am happy about but it is not problem free. There is a small amount of vignetting from the matte box that I mentioned in my earlier post which I think could be framed out okay. There is also a big flare on one of the shots. I don't really know if anything can be done about that. The matte box we had did not have any flags and so I improvised with some black wrap but I failed to elimiate it all. Finally on a sequence of shots we did outside in the shade it is a little flat. I am hoping that it can be made to look better in the grading but I think this is an example of what Michael talks about in wishing I had been bolder with these shots as I guess I knew in the back of my mind at the time that they were pretty flat compared to the other shots we had done. I just didn't have the confidence to trust my instincts. Still I'm not sure what I could have done to bring it up a bit as we had no outdoor lights and were confined to our location as it had to match up with the earlier steadicam shots that had been done. But perhaps even a bit of bounced light might have made the diffrence.

I do tend to lack a bit of confidence or self belief which I know will do me no favours but I did have the interesting experiance of another friend of both myself and the girl directing on set. He is a professional stills photographer and is very technically minded and frequently commented on and questioned my lighting and exposure choices. He was only try to help and at times he was and I really appreciate that but his ideas of what would make for a good shot and my own which were based on discussions with the director were quite different. I know I should have just focused on my own vision and I think I mostly did but at the same time I did end up second guessing myself a bit and doubting my own conception of what the director wanted.

Well I'm saying all this and I haven't even seen the footage yet!
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