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Working on Commercials


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#1 James Malamatinas

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 02:35 PM

Hey, I'm 2nd AC'ing on my first commercial later this week and I was wondering if there is a difference in the way that they are shot and in turn, is there anything I should be aware of having only worked on features and shorts?

I have that the tempo can be quite a bit quicker, but aside from that is there a differance?

Thanks in advance
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#2 Tom Jensen

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 04:08 PM

yes there is. The pace can be frenetic and it can be quite slow. It really depends on a lot of things. Location or stage, number of days, size of commercial, number of cameras, is it FX laden. Generally, the pace is quicker and you have to always be ready. I did quite a few commercials, mostly films and TV and I thought I knew a lot until I worked with Bruce Logan. Bruce is a commercial director/cameraman who has done a handful of movies and TV but his expertise is commercial and FX for film. He had me spinning in circles. Every shot was a shutter angle change, a frame rate change, a filter change or something and then he would turn to me and ask me the stop. He is probably the exception rather than the rule but every now and then you will work with someone who is head and shoulders above the rest. Stay organized, always be ready, always stay on the set and don't fall asleep.
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#3 James Malamatinas

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 04:35 PM

Thanks for your advice Tom, what you said re-enforced much of what I had been told by friends who have existing commercial experience, and as you point out the question can be answered so many ways depending on the type of shoot it is! Eitherway I'd like to make sure I can prepare myself for a someone like Bruce and be ready to impress.

The shoot was today and I managed not to fall asleep! I thought things went well, there wasn't a huge volume of complex shots, no VFX (apart from some plate shots) or multiple camera takes. It definitely felt like there was a nice, quick pace when shooting but there were still the usual lulls when setting up at the start of the day and between set-ups. My 1st was great and helped me out with anything I didn't know. like a few slating terms I hadn't come across (Cable Plates?). I also came into contact with a video mixer for the first time (although I wasn't operating it) - amazing stuff, I didn't even know they existed on-set like that.

Looking forward to hopefully doing more in the future, thanks again.
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#4 Tom Jensen

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 05:15 PM

You're certainly welcome. I fell asleep once after lunch sitting in a chair. I had worked something like 8 straight days on different projects and it caught up with me. They didn't care. It was bad form and I should have hid somewhere for a few minutes out of sight. I never got hired back. It was top commercial shooter who paid great money and I really wished I had not done that.
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Metropolis Post

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Wooden Camera

Glidecam

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Paralinx LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

FJS International, LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Willys Widgets

The Slider

Visual Products