Jump to content


Photo

Television direction


  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 rajakahn

rajakahn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 12 posts
  • Director

Posted 13 February 2010 - 07:47 AM

Hi Friends!

I am a newly promoted television director and have just started my career as a director. i just have one query for now:) that, what could be the best and quickest possible way to shoot a sequence where you have a lot of characters(7-10) in a scene with major action happening among just 4 actors. In television u always have a time constraint and can't always have the liberty to invest time in multiple masters and various angles. moreover producer is always looking at you with squinted eyes.

I would be greatful if someone could help me out and tell me the best possible way to shoot a family drama scene with (7-10) actors where major action is happening among 4-5 key actors.

Thanks
Raja
  • 0

#2 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5070 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 13 February 2010 - 10:48 AM

Basically work out what the scene is dramatically about and ensure that action suitably well covered. Usual TV thing is to shoot a wide that catches the key action or that action you plan to use in a wide and then cover the actors in tighter shots. Wides tend not to get used that much in the final cut on TV, so don't over cover using multiple masters. Often they mostly just serve to let everyone on the set and the editors see what the action is and sneak in a bit of extra rehearsal, whilst keeping the producer happy because you're shooting. Don't go for performance perfection in the master, you won't have time, go for that in your tighter shots
  • 0

#3 rajakahn

rajakahn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 12 posts
  • Director

Posted 13 February 2010 - 12:30 PM

Thanks brian!

i will keep that in mind !
But, just the fact that some times shooting a additional mid master to give a different perspective visually looks too tempting, and it also adds to production value but if we just take master for establishing and closing and defining some character movement and rest all in c/ups it looks very boring.. i was wondering if there is a cost effective way to add that extra value but not compromising too much on time as we are always short and more over, if u tell a cameraman to change angle he will take additional hour to light the set! which is suicidal in television...!
  • 0

#4 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5070 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 13 February 2010 - 03:32 PM

You can only work within your time constraints, if the hour isn't available you can't do it, this applies to features as well. However, advance planing may allow the cameraman to rig lights for these shots in advance, but if you're adding shots as you go along there's a good chance that you'll run out of time. Also, if you can plan to do the shots without moving the camera around too much does help time wise e.g doing all the shots favouring an actor at the same time.

Unfortunately, too much TV does consist of ping pong CU talking head shots.
  • 0

#5 rajakahn

rajakahn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 12 posts
  • Director

Posted 15 February 2010 - 07:41 AM

Bryan,
thanks for your reply. I believe that is good if you go for a scene with 2, 3 characters but i am cool with that. infact i love doing those scenes as i can concentrate on composition theme and performances, but real problem comes where it is a 4 page dialogue scene .

ok i ll just give a briefing ,

A COP enters a house to arrest 2 BROTHERS for a complaint and there is a joint family living there, one brother is already present there. there are dialogues and then after a bit of confrontation with BOY"S FATHER. another brother also comes. later,one of the BOY"S WIFE also comes to the hall while the talk is on. Other family members are also there like one of the one BOY'S WIFE their GRAND FATHER and SERVANTS. cop finally arrests them and while he is leaving with the two brothers along , their grand mother is trying to stop. Cop finally tells her not to interrupt as it is a legal matter and leaves and we charge on to father who is just standing. I ll shoot it in a hall. but how should i go bout it in a best possible way.

i can have one whole master to explain geography and entry of characters and then conversation with father and cop in O/S and mid master and a track shot of cop making arrest and grand mom stoping and following him, in addition i will take reactions and look exchange in two shots as well. but placing of characters in a big scene has always been a challenge. kindly help me how will you go about it as in execute it in best and fastest possible way! without compromising on the aesthetically

thanks
  • 0

#6 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5070 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 15 February 2010 - 10:50 AM

A lot depends on depends on the style of your programme and the layout of the location. The basic dramatic rules still apply, but the scene breaks down into blocks. The over all scene must have a purpose for your main character and and by the end they will either succeed or they don't succeed in what they're trying to achieve.

From a coverage point for example you could just do it in single shot built around your main character - some episodes of a UK police series called "The Bill" used to do this with a hand held camera with the same situation. The downside is you need good actors with great timing and the camera operator needs to be into the flow of the scene. As the director you must have a vision of the scene and decide what the scene is about and how these characters lives are affected by these policemen coming in. Work it from the characters rather than mechanical camera coverage.
  • 0

#7 rajakahn

rajakahn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 12 posts
  • Director

Posted 16 February 2010 - 04:04 AM

hey Brian,
one takes and hand held is forbidden, as it is a family drama and pace is relatively slower so, reactions and involvement of other characters becomes unavoidable. and one takes are unfortunately seen as a way of finishing shoot if we have a telecast problem and is considered a short cut(unfortunately). so i sometimes try and cover half the scene in 1 shot after choreographing the movements and then do the rest in usual cuttings. may be because I am new , i am not being given freedom to experiment and i believe, i ll have to cope with this injustice to my creativity for some more time till i am lil old in the industry. (i will try one takes for the movie i am writing. it would be suspense, thriller;)! i am working the costings ) anyway,now you know the suffocating situation i am into. so now tell me if the scene i had given earlier is to be shot how in the best possible (and quickest) way will you execute it.

start with full masters and then cutting or, do master chunks only for movement and character establishments and then finish one side and then go to other.

if i ask you as a DPthe best possible way to shoot thie sequence. what shot will you take first and what last( from execution point of view) you know the constraints of time and all. pls do lemee know
i am greatful for your help.
  • 0

#8 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5070 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 16 February 2010 - 04:33 AM

There are no rules, but the quickest way from a camera viewpoint is to work in from your wides and shoot the closer shots that don't require major re-lighting and do any re-lighting for the opposite direction, do wides if required and then closer shots. However, that mightn't work for your actors.

The really quick way is to know which angles you need and just shoot those, giving your actors breathing space to perform. Get enough to tell the story and leave any "nice to have stuff" until the end. One TV director described this as being like your house being on fire and you've only got a limited time to get your most important possessions out. You personally have to select the most important possessions, everyone will pick differently.
  • 0

#9 rajakahn

rajakahn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 12 posts
  • Director

Posted 16 February 2010 - 07:51 AM

hey Brian , thanks a bunch! I think the quote u mentioned was cool as is xplaining it all in its entirety!
I am really greatful for your time

it was really helpful!
will keep troubling you here for my unforseen worries. :)
  • 0

#10 Michael Nash

Michael Nash
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3330 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Pasadena, CA

Posted 17 February 2010 - 10:55 AM

Rajakahn, you don't say whether you're shooting with a single or multiple cameras. Shooting with two or three cameras (if practical) can help you get the most coverage quickly. Two cameras can overlap coverage on one take (for example; A Camera covers the group while B Camera gets a couple characters within the group; subsequent takes can have the cameras getting separate singles simultaneously).

Another important thing is blocking. The more you can arrange the blocking of the scene into two "sides" of the set, the less relighting there will have to be. In a perfect world you can even shoot the wide or master from the same relative angle as one of the "sides" (angles) as you use for coverage. With a little practice you can get some nice angles this way without having the shots look too constrained or repetitive.
  • 0

#11 rajakahn

rajakahn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 12 posts
  • Director

Posted 17 February 2010 - 12:14 PM

Hey Michael,
No, i am talking about single cam. its usually single cam shoot, but we have instructions to avoid 1 takes. only problem is with execution when u have multiple characters and u have to keep all characters connected to story . and if its a 5 page scene u want to move your characters a bit as well to give some pace and variety . but in television you never have the time to plan and list your shots. so i was wondering if there is a simpler way to achieve it without complicating the shoot too much. as it gives you more time to get performance out of your actors. if i have time i would like to invest it in bringing out the best performance. here is a brief of the scene for reference.

A COP enters a house to arrest 2 BROTHERS for a complaint and there is a joint family living there, one brother is already present there along few members. there are dialogues and then after a bit of confrontation with BOY"S FATHER. another brother also comes. later,one of the BOY"S WIFE also comes to the hall while the talk is on. Other family members are also there like one of the one BOY'S WIFE their GRAND FATHER and SERVANTS. cop finally arrests them and while he is leaving with the two brothers along , their grand mother is trying to stop. Cop finally tells her not to interrupt as it is a legal matter and leaves and we charge on to father who is just standing. I ll shoot it in a hall.


please do let me know.
ll be greatful
  • 0


The Slider

Abel Cine

rebotnix Technologies

CineLab

Willys Widgets

Rig Wheels Passport

CineTape

Ritter Battery

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Opal

Glidecam

Technodolly

Paralinx LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

Wooden Camera

Tai Audio

FJS International, LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

The Slider

Technodolly

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

Tai Audio

Ritter Battery

Opal

rebotnix Technologies

Glidecam

CineTape

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Visual Products

Abel Cine