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Giving advice to someone who is about to shoot on film for the first time


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#1 Fhj Ais

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 09:55 PM

I'm about to run a one man show as DP on an indie film, meaning I'll be loading and setting up everything by myself (minus lighting). What field tips can you give?

Edited by Fhj Ais, 17 March 2010 - 09:57 PM.

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#2 David Bowsky

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 12:32 PM

Without any additional info, I would suggest trying to find at least someone to be your extra hands. One man camera team on film can be done I guess, but you'll really want to pay attention to your DP duties rather than spending time loading magazines, lugging gear around, or troubleshooting the camera. Depending on format you could be taking the workload of 2-4 people. Or more. More experienced folks around here could give you better info though.

Of course that really depends on format. If you're doing 8, then pretty much can ignore what I said. If you are doing 35 on the other hand ...

Edited by David Bowsky, 18 March 2010 - 12:34 PM.

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#3 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 12:50 PM

Yes, you do not give enough info on your project, film format. You do say it is your first experience shooting film. If that is the case, have you ever shot any still film? do you know how to use a light meter? etc. etc.
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#4 Fhj Ais

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 03:59 PM

16mm
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#5 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 07:53 PM

<_< That is all the info you can post so that other people help you?

16mm


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#6 Patrick Nuse

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 10:17 PM

I'm about to run a one man show as DP on an indie film, meaning I'll be loading and setting up everything by myself (minus lighting). What field tips can you give?

Without knowing more about the specifics, Practice loading mags with dummy film or as I did with leader film. Load in your tent by feel and check to see if you did it right. Working inside a changing tent is not the same as just blindfolding yourself when practicing, because you will also be practicing how to lay out everything you need in the tent and then finding it by feel. Like having a precut piece of tape handy inside for when you put exposed film back in the can for example. Don't forget to tape the edge of the can back up all the way around and be shure to label it "exposed" right away!. Practicing using a light meter with a manual SLR may be a good idea if you never did that before. There's the bare basics. Oh and I am assuming this is your first time shooting film, is that correct? or is this old news.

Edited by Patrick Nuse, 18 March 2010 - 10:19 PM.

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#7 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 12:52 AM

I'm about to run a one man show as DP on an indie film, meaning I'll be loading and setting up everything by myself (minus lighting). What field tips can you give?


Get lots of magazines in the package or you'll spend so much time in the darkroom/bag, that you'll be neglecting the things that a DP SHOULD be doing, like collaborating with the Director. And since you're likely also operating, it's likely that you won't be investing enough time to camera setups and practicing moves. And if you're also pulling your own focus, you won't concentrate enough on getting marks, or if you do, then it means that your attention will be diverted from the blocking and lighting.

In short, you don't get something for nothing. You certainly can do it all, but the quality of the work will be less AND/OR you will invest ALL of your attention into every aspect of the DP job, but it will undoubtedly means less setups accomplished throughout the days and that obviously impacts the logistics and budget of the project overall.

DP is a big job so to pretend that you can do it all and turn out the best quality work you are capable of if you weren't doing it all, is folly. If you absolutely have to do it all by yourself, go in with the realistic attitude that you can only do your best. You'll get so frustrated otherwise, that you'll inevitably hate what you're doing and not only with the quality of your work go down, but your reputation as a professional may suffer as well.
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#8 Ian Cooper

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 04:22 AM

<_< That is all the info you can post so that other people help you?


I'm guessing a it'll be a shot on the gentleman's own Eclair NPR that's just been serviced, on a shooting ratio of 2:1, over the course of a sat/sun.
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#9 Mark Dunn

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 03:11 PM

You'll be doing three or four jobs at once. At least with some help you'll be down to two or three. At college we managed with two crew, DP/operator and clapper/loader.
Slating single-handed will waste a lot of film- that's one occasion where you really do need to be in two places at once. You also can't really pull your own focus, unless it's documentary style. Doing your own loading will cost time.
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#10 Jake Iesu

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 05:16 PM

where are you based?
You may be able to get some extra hands on deck (for little money) if you advertise. Im sure you could find a film school guy who at the very lease will be able to help you lug gear.
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#11 Keneu Luca

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 07:43 PM

I'm about to run a one man show as DP on an indie film, meaning I'll be loading and setting up everything by myself (minus lighting). What field tips can you give?




16mm


Keep your expectations miserably low for the end result of the film.

I suspect you don't have a crew because you don't like to communicate....
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