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#1 Dominic Disla

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Posted 05 May 2015 - 11:09 PM

BTS photo of Knight of Cups. It was shot on film and mostly handheld. How are they pulling focus?

http://2.bp.blogspot...ght-of-cups.jpg
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#2 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 05 May 2015 - 11:56 PM

With a wireless follow focus system and estimating distance by eye.
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#3 Dominic Disla

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 07:55 AM

Since there is so much improvisation in the film, how much leeway is he getting with the focus? I'd imagine it would be more difficult than shooting on a tripod. What would they do to make shots like this easier to film so that there is little to none focus pulling?
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#4 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 02:32 PM

Usually as a 1st AC you would know when you missed it during a shot and have to ask for a retake, or worst case not realize and then everyone would see it in dailies sometime later. If that happens frequently, you'd probably be fired unless the director and DP were ok with it for some reason. At that level, you're expected to get everything in focus, although of course no one is perfect. There's a little more leeway given when everything is improvised and the director is shooting a lot of coverage since no one knows how the shots will be cut together. But that's really the director's call.

The order of difficulty in nailing focus from lowest to highest: static camera - static subject, static camera -moving subject, moving camera - static subject, moving camera - moving subject. So yes, shots taken from a tripod are generally easier to pull on, unless it's something like a person running away from camera on a 1000mm lens. In order to avoid pulling focus at all, you'd have to stay at least 10' away from the subject at all times on a wide lens like a 24mm, stop down to at least f/8, and limit the actor's motion severely. Since you rarely ever see that style of shooting, focus pulling is almost always required.
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#5 Albion Hockney

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 03:35 PM

Satsuki don't most shoot like this on the highend incorporate some kinda laser focus assist system? I've never used it but I always assume that double barreled little thing on top of the camera placed right above the sensor was for that.


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#6 Miguel Angel

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 06:09 PM

Albion, that device you are referring to is called Cinetape and it measures the distance between the camera (usually where there is the symbol of the "focal plane"? is that the right term?) and the subject the Cinetape is pointing at. 

 

So you were right! :) 

 

It works through ultrasounds and usually a 1st assistant camera will have the cinetape set on the camera and in order to read the distance he / she will have either a box with the distance in the mattebox / camera body or if the person has a Preston wireless follow focus, he / she will be able to read the distance in the Preston as the Preston gives the reading also, thanks to an interface cable which is connected from the Cinetape to the Preston unit box in the camera. 

 

Cinetape

http://www.cinemaele...tapemeasure.php

 

Video

 

In every single job I have done since I started in the filmmaking business, the first assistant camera has had a cinetape, always. 

 

Have a good day. 


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#7 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 01:35 AM

The Cinetape is just a reference when you can't get marks, it doesn't pull focus for you.
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#8 Miguel Angel

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 03:34 AM

Thank God it doesn't or else the focus puller would be very bored on set!

Have a good day!
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#9 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 05:23 PM

Oh I don't know about that! You could still walk next to the camera and pretend to pull on the Preston. Less stress ;)

(Only kidding, Greg!) :)
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#10 Miguel Angel

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 05:32 PM

Haha that's true! still somebody would be needed to place the Cinetape ON the camera :D

 

I actually look forward to see the development of something like the Lytro camera in a cinema professional camera that you can activate whenever you need it (let's say a hand - held shoot, a 135 at T1, the actors running, the camera operator running, etc, etc) and helps the 1AC to be more comfortable with his / her work. 

 

By the way, the other day I was working on an Audi commercial (I started as a 2nd AC with 3 cameras under my wing, then I started to pull focus on one of them because there was only 1 focus puller for 4 cameras and I ended up as a camera operator with one of the cameras ha.. the point is that when I was pulling focus on the 50 - 1000mm in the 1000mm with the 1.5X + 2X extender length (3000mm), I was thinking: Now I understand how Greg feels, because of all the car chases! XD) 

 

Have a good day!


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#11 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 01:35 AM

Miguel, have you seen the Andra motion focus system yet? http://andra.com

I saw it at NAB 2014 and it was very impressive - the auto focus system was nailing focus on take after take of a Pelican case as it was tossed towards the lens. It could also ignore foreground and background objects on long lens takes following a dancer around the floor. Sounds like it will also integrate with a Preston HU so the 1st AC can override the auto on the fly.

Overheard Bill Bennett, ASC at the booth saying that they needed to get this into the hands of the top 1st AC's in the business since they would be the biggest initial critics and also the most likely customer base once the system addressed their concerns. Doesn't look like it has been released yet, but hopefully it will be a real usable tool soon.

I'm still hoping to see Preston and Arri integrate a reverse feedback mechanism into their FIZ systems so that the operator can just grab focus on the lens barrel with the motor attached, and that will feed back to the 1st AC's hand unit. Just like with a manual follow focus.
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#12 Miguel Angel

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 07:36 PM

I didn't know about the Andra motion focus, it looks amazing tho! 

 

It seems to me that you have to fly a boom pole mount with the "sensors" or something like that which is not the most interesting thing to have on set and it is another thing that you have to set up when moving from shoot to shoot. 

 

However, I really look forward to see it in real life and see how it performs because it is such an amazing thing! 

 

That reverse feedback in the FIZ systems would be very cool too! 

Thanks for introducing me to the Andra! :)

 

Have a good day!


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#13 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 08:00 PM

I think you can also plant a sensor on an actor just like a mic-pack and set an offset distance to their eye. So just let them free range on set without marks or rehearsals, kick back and relax. Kinda like cattle. 😁
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#14 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 07:55 AM

but what about porn shoots.. plenty of wide apertures and no clothes for the packs.. 


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#15 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 08:32 AM

I think you can also plant a sensor on an actor just like a mic-pack and set an offset distance to their eye. So just let them free range on set without marks or rehearsals, kick back and relax. Kinda like cattle.


We tried to develop a technology similar to what you are speaking of a quite few years ago. It failed miserably because of that exact offset constantly changed with actor's body language. Bending over, leaning back, etc. In the end, there is nothing that can replace good old fashioned, manual focus pulling that can remain subjective and help to tell the story.

I'm about to start a movie that is shooting with the Master Prime Anamorphics and Alexa open gate! There's the perfect storm for extreme shallow depth of field! I've designed a couple of new focus aides to help me but in the end, it's still me and the focus knob!

G
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#16 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 10:42 AM

I think there are circumstances where automation could help a lot and some where it wouldn't. The thought of a steerable laser rangefinder slaved to a touch screen is a nice one, and I think that's a very practical approach (I'm surprised nobody's done it).

 

We don't all have a man called Irwin available!

 

P


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#17 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 11:59 AM

My friend Howard Preston developed the Preston Light Ranger 2. It's the best option on the market today. I personally haven't had the opportunity to try it yet. Maybe now for Star Trek? Hmmm...



G

Edited by Gregory Irwin, 09 May 2015 - 12:00 PM.

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#18 Albion Hockney

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 12:37 PM

that seems similar to the red rock halo system, obviously a lower end solution ....I donno if I would risk using it but its interesting for sure.

 

http://store.redrock...o.com/halo.html


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#19 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 01:05 PM

We tried to develop a technology similar to what you are speaking of a quite few years ago. It failed miserably because of that exact offset constantly changed with actor's body language. Bending over, leaning back, etc. In the end, there is nothing that can replace good old fashioned, manual focus pulling that can remain subjective and help to tell the story.

I'm about to start a movie that is shooting with the Master Prime Anamorphics and Alexa open gate! There's the perfect storm for extreme shallow depth of field! I've designed a couple of new focus aides to help me but in the end, it's still me and the focus knob!

G

If the sensor is small enough, you could have the actor wear it on their head, like in the hair above the ear. No offset problems then. Some actors might prefer that versus having to hit marks for specific scenes. But of course you're right, you need a way to manually take over seamlessly. Human still wins in the end.

Good luck on the next job Greg! Live long and prosper. :)
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#20 Albion Hockney

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 02:39 PM

Haha that's true! still somebody would be needed to place the Cinetape ON the camera :D

 

I actually look forward to see the development of something like the Lytro camera in a cinema professional camera that you can activate whenever you need it (let's say a hand - held shoot, a 135 at T1, the actors running, the camera operator running, etc, etc) and helps the 1AC to be more comfortable with his / her work. 

 

By the way, the other day I was working on an Audi commercial (I started as a 2nd AC with 3 cameras under my wing, then I started to pull focus on one of them because there was only 1 focus puller for 4 cameras and I ended up as a camera operator with one of the cameras ha.. the point is that when I was pulling focus on the 50 - 1000mm in the 1000mm with the 1.5X + 2X extender length (3000mm), I was thinking: Now I understand how Greg feels, because of all the car chases! XD) 

 

Have a good day!

 

 

Miguel what 50-1000mm lens where you using?  and what was the 3000mm shot...guessing straight on car coming toward camera with the heat waves thing? is that a typical thing to shoot that long? Im really interested in use of super long lenses I haven't really gotten behind 800mm or so though because of logistics.


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Pro 8mm

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Aerial Filmworks

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