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General rule for takes? How many takes is enough?


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#1 Yash Lucid

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 01:39 PM

What is the general rule when it comes to takes? I'm sure every director is different, but what is the general amount of takes that one does before moving on?


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#2 Freya Black

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 02:18 PM

I always move on as soon as we have got it right.

 

I guess if you have the budget you could do a few more takes to see if there are some interesting variations in performance.

 

Freya


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#3 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 02:39 PM

How many takes depends on your budget and schedule, if possible it's worth having a couple of good takes, with one being the saver. Given the budget, you can push for a performance, but actors don't always peak at the same time.


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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 03:08 PM

I feel almost like this is like asking how many licks to the center of the tootsie pop.

It 100% depends on what you're doing, not just budget and talent, but also scene. Let's say you have a scene where you want a really run down actor-- well one way to very inhumanely get them that way is to keep repeating the scene over and over again, and perhaps playing some mind tricks on them (I am reminded of The Shining on this one). While other times, you may only get one.


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#5 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 04:23 PM

Often it depends on how much rehearsal has been done either before the shoot or in camera run throughs.  Ideally you'll rehearse enough to have it down so that you only need one or two takes.  Then there's the "one more for safety" take which is a good way to cover yourself from things you may not having noticed in playback or during the take.  Like a potential boom shadow, or soft focus, etc.


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#6 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 05:49 PM

There tends to be more takes on commercials than long form drama.


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#7 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 02:11 AM

I'd always tend to go until I feel I've got the take in the bag. That said, a lot of the directors I've worked with move on much too quickly for my tastes. Most takes, don't take all that much time to do - changing setups does. So moving on before you're sure you've 'got it' seem highly inefficient to me.


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#8 Freya Black

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 08:25 AM

I feel almost like this is like asking how many licks to the center of the tootsie pop.

It 100% depends on what you're doing, not just budget and talent, but also scene. Let's say you have a scene where you want a really run down actor-- well one way to very inhumanely get them that way is to keep repeating the scene over and over again, and perhaps playing some mind tricks on them (I am reminded of The Shining on this one). While other times, you may only get one.

 

This is spot on.

You also might be shooting something where you want a low budget badly acted feel for example and it will depend on how long it will take you to get there with whatever actors you have.

 

You stop when you know you got it, or in really bad cases where you feel you might be able to cobble something together from 2 takes that have separate bits that were working and you don't want to beat your head against a wall any longer.

 

If you have the budget and really fabulous actors, you might keep going to see if you can find some extra magic but realistically that isn't usually going to happen.

 

Freya


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#9 Will Barber

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 05:20 PM

I was on a feature where I heard "one more for safety" or "another one, just like that" on just about every angle. That's how many is too many. I personally think 3 or 4 should be what you aim for, but obviously something complex should allow a little leeway. Get the performance you want, but I think its the director's responsibility to get the actors ready for take one to be golden. Then after that, only slight performance tweaks between takes during the time it takes to reset. Be efficient on time, roll digital like you're rolling film. I hate being on productions that roll the camera before they're ready, resulting in extra takes that are barely usable because of blocking or camera issues because they didn't rehearse or get marks or anything. All because everyone has a 5" glowing monitor and can "do it on the fly." But then on the camera report you have several minutes between take 1 and 2, of a scene that lasts one minute on screen, because no one knew what was going on before they pressed the little red button.

 

Long story short, have the scene ready before you press GO, and cut down on the crap that digital has brought to production.


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#10 Yash Lucid

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 05:56 PM

Thanks everyone! Great feedback from every single one of your comments :)

 

I'm feeling a little less tense about my first big directing gig on a full production now - It's really the silly things that were getting to me. 

Thanks again :)


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#11 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 06:25 PM

I have to agree with Will.  It's important to remember that the "One more for safety" is a "safety take"  Meaning, you got it.  So you go again quickly but you don't make that safety take into some kind of Living in Oblivion style nightmare where you spend all day on it.  You go for it one more time and if you get it great, if not, move on.  Very important to remember and many directors forget and when you remind them they get angry. lol.  


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#12 Will Barber

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 09:57 PM

But if you already have 4 takes of basically the same thing, that "one more for safety" is probably going to be no better than the 4 similar takes you already got. Obviously if every take was for a large error, then yeah, you might want another clean one. But in most cases, I've found that the safety take gets abused.


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#13 Will Barber

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 10:00 PM

Also, don't let a big production change how you direct. The job's the same, you just have more tools. Seize the day, make the best film you can make every day you're on set.


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