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Operating Handheld Between Takes


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#1 Matt Sezer

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 07:37 PM

When operating handheld, is the operator usually expected to hold the camera the entire time while the scene is being lit or just during the final rehearsal and takes?

 

I usually just set the camera down unless the director wants to see the frame or check lighting. However, it does take a few seconds for me to get the camera back up on my shoulder, which I would imagine would be unacceptable on more professional sets.

 

How have people here seen it done? Does the operator hold the camera the whole time? Do they have a PA hold it? Do they put it on a tripod or stand with the approximate frame?


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#2 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 07:47 PM

If I'm operating handheld, I generally don't pick the camera up until the 1st AD yells 'roll sound', and I hand it off to my assistant as soon as I hear 'Cut!'.

 

I'll usually try to keep the sticks somewhere close, so I can give the Director a rough frame in between takes.


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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 09:03 PM

You get away with that?!

 

I'm sure I'd be shouted at the second I put it down between takes.


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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 09:04 PM

You only hold it for the take and for a rehearsal, otherwise you stick it on a tripod (if digital, so the DP can see the lighting) or roll in B-camera planted on a dolly or sticks so that there is something to see on the monitors.  Maybe at some point, I'd ask the operator to pan around the room or do a rough move with the camera on his shoulder so I can see how it is all working, but I'd never expect the operator to just hold a heavy camera between takes or during a set-up.


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#5 Jeremy Parsons

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 09:31 PM

When I'm on a shoot as 1st AC and there's a HH shot, I generally hold the camera until the AD/DP/Op calls for it. I then take it from him/her after cutting the camera for them. In many cases camera-mounted shoulder pads interfere with with the sliding base plate, so I am stuck holding the camera. 

 

In the cases I am ACing for a DP/Operator, he or she is usually goes to the director or gaffer between the take. During that time, I find it helpful to them to stand in their place and hold the frame so they can talk about what's going on. On the occasion I have a 2nd AC around, I have them fly the tripod in if there's going to be some time til the next take.


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#6 Douglas Johnson

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 10:34 PM

What Jeremy says. 

 

As soon as I hear the word cut I offer to take the camera from the operator or offer an apple box to sit on if they don't wish to put the camera down.  There's no reason to ruin your back, shoulders, or legs as the operator will just not be able to do their job effectively as the day goes on.

 

Now, if I'm doing reality sort of stuff with smaller, lighter weight cameras, I will sometimes just take a knee or keep the camera on my shoulder as they are working out what's going to happen to next.  In this situation you never know when your going to have to suddenly grab a shot or follow the action.  But, in a situation with relights, set ups, and discussions between takes I prefer to have the operator put the camera down or take a seat. 


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#7 Jorge Alarcon Swaby

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 12:51 AM

As an operator, I usually don't pick up the camera from the First AC until we are about to roll, and I always hand it off back to him as soon as they yell cut.  

 

On other shots when I'm DP/Operator, I always have the AC place the camera on sticks with a frame of the shots to help with lighting and blocking. 


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#8 Darren Levine

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 03:13 PM

Indeed, a good AC keeps an eye out for his/her camera op and relieves them when possible.

 

You know what would be interesting? a stand with a hook that's about 7 feet high that you can hook the camera to right from your shoulder for instant relief/readiness.

 

tell me someone's rigged that, surely im not the first to think of such a 'inanimate AC'


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#9 Giray Izcan

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 11:31 AM

I was operating my personal camera BL4s on a project I was hired on as the dp. Yesterday, 90% of the day was handheld, and it was really beneficial for my 1st to grab the camera from me between takes. 


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#10 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 01:46 PM

Yesterday even oping my little pocket camera I still had the AC grab it between takes and somewhere around hour 15 of this music video it really started to get necessary for him to grab it from me.


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#11 Miguel Angel

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 08:13 PM

It's really interesting because in Spain and in Ireland (where I work as 2ac) is usually a grip who takes care of the camera between takes and if they are very busy getting some tracks or so, the 1ac gets the camera and keeps it with him / her all the time till the 1st AD says "let's shoot", so the sooner the 1ad says cut, the faster the camera operator gives you the camera. 

 

This is kinda funny because I've been in so many commercials which were shot hand - held and the cinematographer just threw the camera off his shoulder as soon as he listened to the word "cut" so you had to be very very fast to get the camera while falling! 

 

Kindest regards.


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#12 John Miguel King

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 03:41 AM

The magic words are "camera on" & "camera off". And then your grip comes to the rescue like the knight in shining armour he is. Love those guys.


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#13 Dan Finlayson

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 04:58 AM

I was operating my personal camera BL4s on a project I was hired on as the dp. Yesterday, 90% of the day was handheld, and it was really beneficial for my 1st to grab the camera from me between takes. 

 

Oooof heavy.


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#14 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 05:49 AM

And then your grip comes to the rescue like the knight in shining armour he is

 

Good grief, they do?!


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#15 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 06:00 AM

I've had grips carrying the Steadicam sled when rigged up with a 35mm camera. Although, I tend not to let them do it too often because the trimming can get knocked off, but they've all volunteered.


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#16 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 06:12 AM

Weirdly enough so have I, now I come to think of it. But some time ago.


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