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Tips for operating B Camera?


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#1 Connor Thompson

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 09:48 PM

I'm filming a ballet recital tomorrow and was just wondering if there was anything to keep in mind when shooting b roll for a live event. We have two cameras set up, one stationary and one roving. I'll be operating the roving camera for half the performance to get close ups and such. Are there any suggestions to compensate for the spontaneity of the shoot? We're only filming one performance and haven't had a chance to sit through a rehearsal. Thanks.
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#2 Bob Hayes

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 11:01 AM

Make sure your shots are long enough. Because you are rushing when you find a cool shot you may only film it for a short two seconds and it will seem like 20. Try to make as much of your footage useable as if you are the only camera. When people are looking at dailies they don't want to see lots of junk. Make sure you find out what the DP and director want from you.
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#3 Tom Jensen

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 11:09 AM

Make sure your shots are long enough. Because you are rushing when you find a cool shot you may only film it for a short two seconds and it will seem like 20. Try to make as much of your footage useable as if you are the only camera. When people are looking at dailies they don't want to see lots of junk. Make sure you find out what the DP and director want from you.


That's probably some of the best advice I have ever heard. It is so tempting to make something happen when you think nothing is happening only to get into dailies and have someone ask, "what are you doing, the shot was fine as it was?"
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#4 Chris Keth

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 01:27 PM

Make sure your shots are long enough. Because you are rushing when you find a cool shot you may only film it for a short two seconds and it will seem like 20. Try to make as much of your footage useable as if you are the only camera. When people are looking at dailies they don't want to see lots of junk. Make sure you find out what the DP and director want from you.


That's the biggest complaint people had when I shot events and reality for the first time. I would never hold shots for long enough and I had to learn to give good natural in and out points, clean entrances and exits, etc. Also, communication with the A operator is important. You don't want to be coincidentally holding the same shots all the time.
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#5 Tom Jensen

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 05:19 PM

That's the biggest complaint people had when I shot events and reality for the first time. I would never hold shots for long enough and I had to learn to give good natural in and out points, clean entrances and exits, etc. Also, communication with the A operator is important. You don't want to be coincidentally holding the same shots all the time.


What happens is you start to think that you area the A operator and have the A shot. I did a Gwen Stefani live show before she went to Japan a few years ago and 5 cameras had a great shot of Gwen but nothing else. She's a camera magnet.
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#6 Michele Peterson

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 01:26 PM

It's hard to have to step back when doing B camera and let A cam take the best shot & or angle. I remember a show I used to do where I shot B camera on a 2 camera shoot. I regularly found myself immediately spoting a great angle to shoot from, but the DP saw it too and since he was A cam, he got it. Always keep your ego in check, and don't argue when you get kicked out of the best spot to get the shot. It's going ot happen a lot.

It's an up hill battle sometimes because some producers don't want to spend time lighting for the second camera, but then expect it to look just as good as A cam. I always found it best in that situations to get a similar angle, but frame the shot wider or tighter than A cam (when A was a static shot), but sometimes was forced (by the producer) to shoot at a different angle, like profile, even though it made an inferior shot that ended up never being used.
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#7 Tom Jensen

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Posted 12 June 2009 - 02:56 PM

I regularly found myself immediately spoting a great angle to shoot from, but the DP saw it too and since he was A cam, he got it. Always keep your ego in check, and don't argue when you get kicked out of the best spot to get the shot. It's going ot happen a lot.


Which brings up another good point, always be looking for a shot.
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