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"Speeding" vs. "Speed"


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#1 Steve London

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 02:05 PM

I'm a lighting guy but when the 1st AD calls the roll I hear camera operators from various good university film programs say "speeding" or "camera is speeding." Can speeding possibly be the right term? Doesn't the practice come from the days when all cameras were mechanical and the film (or later, maybe tape) had to get moving at proper speed? The appropriate term is speed, is it not, as in, "The camera is up to speed?

Anyone else hear "speeding" and annoyed by it? Anyone hear "speeding" on a major motion picture?
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#2 John Sprung

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 02:32 PM

In the olden days of optical sound, the sound guy would reply "Speed" because it actually took a few seconds for his equipment to get up to speed. Next, the Second would voice slate the scene and take. Then they'd start the camera, and the First or Operator would call "Rolling". The Second would then clap the sticks and depart. A Mitchell comes up to speed quite quickly, so this order of procedure saved film on the camera side.

At this point, it doesn't really matter what words they use, so long as everybody knows what they mean.




-- J.S.
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#3 Bryan Fowler

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 03:21 PM

I say "speed'olicious"

or "let's do it!"

I also get looked at oddly.
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#4 Tom Jensen

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 05:34 PM

Speed is the correct term. The less said, the better. Speeding means you're going too fast.
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 06:23 PM

I say speed, and get made fun of infinitely as I apparently have a certain "odd" way of saying it...

or I'll say "it goes," or sometime similar
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#6 Jim Hyslop

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 10:02 PM

But is it even "speed" or "speeding" for the camera? I was taught (Ryerson University) that the sequence is generally:

1AD: Roll sound
Sound: Sound speed
2AC: (reads off slate)
Cam Operator, when camera is at speed: Mark it
2AC claps sticks & exits
Cam Operator: Frame
Dir/AD: Action

--
Jim
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#7 David McDonald

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 10:21 PM

I think it's just an evolution of the word...people say "speeding" some times because it sounds more active. It just sounds more like "rolling"..."speeding"

The correct word is "speed" though. But it doesn't really matter anymore anyway...the sound guy could just say rolling or whatever and everyone would get it.
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#8 Tom Jensen

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 10:24 PM

But is it even "speed" or "speeding" for the camera? I was taught (Ryerson University) that the sequence is generally:

1AD: Roll sound
Sound: Sound speed
2AC: (reads off slate)
Cam Operator, when camera is at speed: Mark it
2AC claps sticks & exits
Cam Operator: Frame
Dir/AD: Action

--
Jim

It's close enough. It depends on who you work with. The less said,the better. It is usually the first that says speed and the operator rarely says "frame." The second ac usually doesn't call the scene/take until the camera is speeding and he often says mark.As an operator I would only say "Mark it" if the 2nd was waiting too long to mark it and I will say "set" when I'm ready. And sometimes "GET OUT!" if he lingered too long but only if there are no actors. When you have actors on the set, you want to be as quiet and low key as possible. This is Actor Time and you should have your act together when one steps onto a set.
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#9 Tom Jensen

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 10:28 PM

I think it's just an evolution of the word...people say "speeding" some times because it sounds more active. It just sounds more like "rolling"..."speeding"

The correct word is "speed" though. But it doesn't really matter anymore anyway...the sound guy could just say rolling or whatever and everyone would get it.

I haven't shot any digital but with time code all you have to do is make sure the camera and sound are rolling. If the camera records time code on the edge, you don't even need a slate and if it doesn't all it needs to do is film the numbers rolling. Clapping the slate is really just a back up as is calling out the numbers

Edited by Tom Jensen, 02 December 2010 - 10:30 PM.

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#10 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 10:44 PM

As Tom mentions, generally the less said the better, as you're pulling money through the camera.

When it's me it's:

Roll Sound
-Rolling
(read slate)
Camera
-Speed
(click)
-Action

Sometimes there will be a background action before camera rolls, other times right after slate.
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#11 John Brawley

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 06:49 AM

When I moved to Sydney from Melbourne, I realised that everyone looked at me strangely because I said "frame"

Eventually i was quietly informed by an AC that the correct phrase was "set"

I like frame. It's camera operator specific. "Set" could apply to anyone.....

Must be a Sydney thing....

jb
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#12 Edgar Dubrovskiy

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 06:29 PM

When it's me it's:

Roll Sound
-Rolling
(read slate)
Camera
-Speed
(click)
-Action


Agreed. Only addition would be "Set!" before "Action!" with some operators/budgets.
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#13 Ben Luke Taylor

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 06:34 PM

I haven't shot any digital but with time code all you have to do is make sure the camera and sound are rolling. If the camera records time code on the edge, you don't even need a slate and if it doesn't all it needs to do is film the numbers rolling. Clapping the slate is really just a back up as is calling out the numbers


Yes where i work a majority of the time we shoot digital (XDCAM).

I have never seen a slate on set as it is all done by time code!

But then again, us camera assistants also have to do the grip work instead...
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#14 John Sprung

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 08:21 PM

We always slate sound takes with sticks. Time code can drift.



-- J.S.
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#15 John Brawley

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 08:07 AM

I have never seen a slate on set as it is all done by time code!




It's worth remembering that although the slate primarily allows for the recording of a sync reference, it also has the effect of providing an important ritual in the lead up to a take. Like a starter at the race the effect is the same for everyone, helping to focus all, especially the cast.

The ''on your marks...get set....GO " effect of the slate has an important disciplinary side effect as well as being good for checking sync.

jb
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#16 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 09:56 AM

And it contains important information for an editor to look at later on saving them headaches (even if that editor is you)
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#17 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 10:53 AM

The typical sequence from the First AD's perspective: [excerpt from What I Really Want to Do: On Set in Hollywood]


7:05 A.M.—REHEARSAL
You’re like the ringmaster in the circus, and it is up to you to try to establish a pace and keep some momentum going throughout the day. Get pertinent people to the set and start the rehearsal.

Be mindful of where the Actors must go, if Extras are needed, where the camera(s) has to be, what lighting is required, and any other time-consuming details. If you need answers to any of those questions after rehearsal is completed, quickly approach the department heads and get their time estimates. Let the Director know how long it will be, and let First Team return to BASE CAMP to complete Hair, Makeup, and Wardrobe. Call for SECOND TEAM.


7:15 A.M.—CAMERA SETUP
Stick close to set to keep an eye on the setup. In most cases, each department looks out for problems that they can solve on their own, but some challenges aren’t immediately obvious. It’s your job to facilitate the crew in getting the day’s work IN THE CAN, so anything you can do to that end is expected and appreciated.

As the setup looks like it is close to being ready, ask the DP specifically for another estimate. When you are within five minutes, call to your Second AD and get First Team warmed up and on the move. Make sure the Director is also on his way, and then let the on-set crew know that First Team is coming in. Once everyone is happy, call for “LAST LOOKS,” and let everyone know that the next one is “for real” and not a rehearsal.



7:45 A.M.—ROLL CAMERA
Make sure that camera and sound are ready, then call out to the Sound Mixer, “ON A BELL.” Once you are reasonably sure that all unnecessary noise has ceased (trucks outside the stage door, airplanes overhead, conversations) call out to the stage and over the radio, “Roll sound!” The crew will take it from there. Once the Boom Operator says “Speed,” the Focus Puller will turn the camera on, and the Second Assistant Cameraman will say, “Marker” and hit the sticks on the slate. A moment later the Director will say, “Action!”

At this point, you’ve accomplished your main job by getting all the necessary elements for that shot into this place at the proper time. With any luck, you’re also on schedule.


7:48 A.M.—CUT, LET’S GO AGAIN
The shot is over and the Director calls, “Cut!” In most cases, you’ll figure out without asking whether he wants to do another take. Sometimes, it isn’t so clear; you’ll have to get a clear answer either way.

Find out quickly what the problems were with that take, if any, and communicate that information to everyone. Do whatever you need to so that shooting can resume as quickly as possible.


8:10 A.M.—CUT, MOVIN’ ON
Great! The Director is happy and no one seems to have any problems that would necessitate another take. Get everyone quiet to run a rehearsal for the next piece. When that is done, release First Team and bring Second Team back in. Get the time estimate from the DP, communicate it to the Director, and do it all over again.




From the Second AC perspective:

7:45 A.M.—ROLL CAMERA
When the time does come to actually roll film, grab your slate and step out onto the set. You need to place the slate directly in front of the camera so that the Operator will not have to move his frame to find the slate. It also must be at a distance at which the slate “FILLS THE FRAME.”

When the First AD calls, “Roll sound!” put the slate into the shot with the STICKS open. The Boom Operator says, “Sound speed!” Wait a beat, then say, “Mark.” While holding the slate steady, clap the sticks together. Scurry off the set as quickly and quietly as possible. Find a place to go that will be out of the Actor’s eye-lines and stay quiet as any movement or noise may distract them.
Figure 22.1 Smart Slate
7:48 A.M.—CUT, LET’S GO AGAIN
Once the shot is over, the Director yells, “Cut!” and the Operator turns off the camera. If you can’t see the footage counter, ask the First AC for the number and then write it down on the camera report. Write the next take number on the front of the slate in case they go again.

Keep up with the math on the report so that you know how long each take is. If it doesn’t look like there will be enough film in the camera to complete another whole take, let the First know immediately. Take the spent mag, make sure that all the necessary numbers are written in on the camera report, and hand the report to the Script Supervisor. Put the new camera report on the back of the slate. Write the new roll number on both the report and the front of the slate. Double-check what take is next and write that on the slate, too. Let the Loader know about the reload.


8:10 A.M.—CUT, MOVIN’ ON
Once the Director decides that he’s got that shot, the whole process begins all over again for the next setup. On a typical shooting day, you may accomplish around ten setups or so requiring five to twenty takes per setup and anywhere from three thousand to thirty-thousand feet of film. This varies, of course, with the complexities of the shots or limitations of locations. But the gist of your job is to help set the camera up, hit the sticks, and move the carts around.




From the Sound Mixer's perspective:


7:45 A.M.—ROLL CAMERA
About a minute to thirty seconds before the take, the First AD will shout out, “Put us on a bell.” That’s your cue to hit the button on your cart that sounds a loud buzzer. Hit it once for about five seconds. On a soundstage, this button will also turn off the air-conditioning and activate some blinking red lights outside the doors.

When everything has quieted down, the First AD will then call out, “Roll Sound.” Hit the switches on your recorders and do a quick scan to make sure everything is indeed rolling. Listen quickly for the output (the sound coming from the boom mic to the recorder then back to your headphones). Using the microphone you have mounted in front of you, identify the scene and take number (audio SLATING), such as, “This is scene 11, take 4.” The Boom Operator is listening to the output as well so after he hears you slate the shot, he’ll announce to the crew, “Sound speed,” indicating that the equipment is up and running.

After that, the Camera Assistants will hit their slates in succession (A-camera first, then B, and so on). Soon after, the Director calls, “Action!”

If you’ve been doing this job for a while, you may have tricked out your sound cart with a monitor so you can see the shot as it is happening. Once you have a good sense of what the shot looks like, it sometimes helps to close your eyes so you can concentrate entirely on the sound.


7:48 A.M.—CUT, LET’S GO AGAIN
If there were any problems at all, take the time to try to fix them. If the shoes of an Actress make too much noise as she walks from one spot to the next, you can have the Wardrobe Department put tape on the soles. If the crew is making too much noise as they move around, you might be able to lay carpet down. Work with the Boom Operator to adjust the mic position if necessary. Your goal is to alleviate any potential problems that are within your control.

After each shot, you also want to fill out the Sound Log with the scene and take numbers. If there are any problems relating to specific takes, jot down some notes for the Editors to refer to later.


8:10 A.M.—CUT, MOVIN’ ON
Once the Director has the performance he wants out of the Actors, he will want to go to the next shot. If Camera and Sound have no problems that necessitate having to go again, the AD will say, “Movin’ on.”

Just like the beginning of the day, pay attention to any rehearsals that take place or any significant changes that might affect your sound as the next setup is being built.


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