Jump to content


Photo

Unsure about doing tv-drama


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 Lars.Erik

Lars.Erik
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 175 posts
  • Steadicam Operator
  • Oslo

Posted 28 September 2005 - 10:17 AM

I've been asked about being a DP for a new comedy drama series. It's a four week shoot. With one week of light rig.

The things that I'm unsure of is this:
They have planned to be able to shoot 9 minutes every day. This is a lot. And the company who will be making it hasn't made drama before. Only documentary, reality and stuff like that.

The place of shooting is also a concern. The ceiling is about 14 ft (4,5m) high. Making it difficult for a ceiling rig. But I've decided it has to be a ceiling rig, to save time. I'm thinking easy, but attractive look to the show. With a nice lighting contrast. I'm not that afraid if the actors walk into low light situations as long as they don't stay there too much.

But:
We will be shooting with 2 cameras all the time. This will save a lot of time. And the producer is also a really great guy. He seems very competent also. He's done a lot of drama. He is, along with me, a bit worried about the shooting schedule, and the ceiling. So it seems like he knows about the problems. But the production said it had to be there, due to money issues and time concern.

We'll be shooting with XDCam, Progressive, zoom lenses. The look we're gunning for is in the same style of "24". (I know, it's shot on film, big budget series etc., but this is what we've been thinking of).

My question is this: Is 9 minutes way too much too hope for? Only done drama with one camera situations before. What do you guys think? Personally I think it can work, but then again, we don't have a lot of time to do mistakes.

Edited by Lars.Erik, 28 September 2005 - 10:18 AM.

  • 0

#2 Landon D. Parks

Landon D. Parks
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1731 posts
  • Producer
  • Cincinnati, Ohio

Posted 28 September 2005 - 05:00 PM

I dont think 9 minutes a day is unreasonable. Most feature film will go thrugh more than that in one day. 9 minutes is less than a 1,000' mag of 35mm film. It depends on a lot of things, like how many setups you'll have to do, will you be moving to a different location durring the shooting day? Will actors have to go through hours of makeup after every scene?

It just depends, but no, I dont think 9 minutes is so unreasonable, depending on the situation.
  • 0

#3 Louis

Louis
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 103 posts
  • Student
  • San Fernando Valley, CA

Posted 28 September 2005 - 05:20 PM

If you have a good relationship with the producer, that in and of itself is a very good reason to take the job as far as i'm concerned. 9 minutes (I assume you mean about 9 pages) is definately a lot, but with two cameras, you should be able to pull it off with a good crew. In such a small location, there can't be too many set-ups per scene, right? And I'm assuming that you'll be doing a lot of handheld work, like 24? That should make things go by quicker as well. The last feature I worked on was also a 2 camera shoot, but we were shooting in a very large location (a casino), and we still managed to have three days in a row where we finished over 60 set-ups per day (including one day with 69). I'd say take it, but that's just me. Good luck.
  • 0

#4 Brad Grimmett

Brad Grimmett
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2660 posts
  • Steadicam Operator
  • Los Angeles

Posted 28 September 2005 - 06:04 PM

I dont think 9 minutes a day is unreasonable. Most feature film will go thrugh more than that in one day. 9 minutes is less than a 1,000' mag of 35mm film. It depends on a lot of things, like how many setups you'll have to do, will you be moving to a different location durring the shooting day? Will actors have to go through hours of makeup after every scene?

It just depends, but no, I dont think 9 minutes is so unreasonable, depending on the situation.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Why would you answer this question when you obviously don't know what you're talking about? Most features do NOT shoot 9 pages a day. I'd say 2-3 pages is about average, although some shoot more and some shoot less, depending on the day and the action.

To answer the question....I think you'll be OK, but a lot depends on the actors. If your actors constantly need lots of takes then you may have a problem. If they can nail a scene in 2 or 3 takes on a regular basis then you should be fine. Also, as you know, you will need a really good AD department to keep things moving. With the camera package you have and your plan to have a ceiling rig, I'm sure they won't be waiting on you.
Good luck.
  • 0

#5 Joseph White

Joseph White
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 143 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 28 September 2005 - 06:12 PM

yeah have to agree - with the multiple cameras and overhead setup, they won't be waiting on you. 9 pages a day is hefty, but i mean if its a talky show this will go by pretty swiftly. 9 pages of "gilmore girls" is really different from 9 pages of "CSI", you know?

good luck though! glad you have cool producers to work with - always a good thing.
  • 0

#6 Tim J Durham

Tim J Durham
  • Sustaining Members
  • 742 posts
  • Director
  • East Coast, Baby!

Posted 28 September 2005 - 07:41 PM

I dont think 9 minutes a day is unreasonable. Most feature film will go thrugh more than that in one day. 9 minutes is less than a 1,000' mag of 35mm film. It depends on a lot of things, like how many setups you'll have to do, will you be moving to a different location durring the shooting day? Will actors have to go through hours of makeup after every scene?

It just depends, but no, I dont think 9 minutes is so unreasonable, depending on the situation.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I don't want to be seen as piling on, but:

1) You've assumed 9 minutes of script equates to rolling 9 minutes of film. He'd have to be the most economical director of all time to get a 1:1 ratio. It's gonna be closer to 12:1 for a TV show and usually higher (maybe double) than that for a feature.

2) He's shooting video.
  • 0

#7 John Thomas

John Thomas
  • Sustaining Members
  • 116 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Akron, Ohio USA

Posted 29 September 2005 - 06:18 AM

Lars,

9 pages a day is not fun. Make sure that really great guy, the producer, gives you what you need for your pre-light. If you hang lights for a variety of situations and get them on a dimmer system you will make the first week much easier. After you've shot the sets once, the lighting will be easier. The key is being prepared to survive the first week.

Good Luck,

JT
  • 0

#8 Dimitrios Koukas

Dimitrios Koukas
  • Sustaining Members
  • 569 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Athens, Greece, London UK

Posted 29 September 2005 - 06:42 AM

I've been asked about being a DP for a new comedy drama series. It's a four week shoot. With one week of light rig.

The things that I'm unsure of is this:
They have planned to be able to shoot 9 minutes every day. This is a lot. And the company who will be making it hasn't made drama before. Only documentary, reality and stuff like that.

The place of shooting is also a concern. The ceiling is about 14 ft (4,5m) high. Making it difficult for a ceiling rig. But I've decided it has to be a ceiling rig, to save time. I'm thinking easy, but attractive look to the show. With a nice lighting contrast. I'm not that afraid if the actors walk into low light situations as long as they don't stay there too much.

But:
We will be shooting with 2 cameras all the time. This will save a lot of time. And the producer is also a really great guy. He seems very competent also. He's done a lot of drama. He is, along with me, a bit worried about the shooting schedule, and the ceiling. So it seems like he knows about the problems. But the production said it had to be there, due to money issues and time concern.

We'll be shooting with XDCam, Progressive, zoom lenses. The look we're gunning for is in the same style of "24". (I know, it's shot on film, big budget series etc., but this is what we've been thinking of).

My question is this: Is 9 minutes way too much too hope for? Only done drama with one camera situations before. What do you guys think? Personally I think it can work, but then again, we don't have a lot of time to do mistakes.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Lars,
Nine minutes is something that can be done, when using a two camera system.
One advise, and sorry for this I am sure you know your job.
Use some kinoflos on stands and be prepared to run them all around the set.
By the way, how many sets?
3rooms? 4-rooms?
One thing I am doing that saved me a lot of time is to clamp two 300 W fresnel with tough spun on cameras and hook em on a dimmer , to use them just in tight time situations, when u need this sparkle in the eye, that lights form the ceilling would never give u.Or almost never.
Dimitrios Koukas
  • 0

#9 Chris Keth

Chris Keth
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4427 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles

Posted 29 September 2005 - 10:48 AM

Why would you answer this question when you obviously don't know what you're talking about?  Most features do NOT shoot 9 pages a day.  I'd say 2-3 pages is about average, although some shoot more and some shoot less, depending on the day and the action.

To answer the question....I think you'll be OK, but a lot depends on the actors.  If your actors constantly need lots of takes then you may have a problem.  If they can nail a scene in 2 or 3 takes on a regular basis then you should be fine.  Also, as you know, you will need a really good AD department to keep things moving.  With the camera package you have and your plan to have a ceiling rig, I'm sure they won't be waiting on you.
Good luck.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



I don't mean to put words in Landon's mouth, but I think he was referring to 9 minutes of raw stock shot a day, since he mentioned it being less than a 1000' mag. I admittedly have never worked on a feature production, but this seems reasonable, if not a very conservative number for raw stock shot in a day.

Edited by Christopher D. Keth, 29 September 2005 - 10:49 AM.

  • 0

#10 Dimitrios Koukas

Dimitrios Koukas
  • Sustaining Members
  • 569 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Athens, Greece, London UK

Posted 29 September 2005 - 12:37 PM

And another thing...
Be sure that the studio cameras are what you need and they don't affect your job.
Check tv channel's signal with other channel's and see what is the difference, There weak stations among others that they can make your pictures look one stop down when ''on air''.
Don't affraid do go high key, when it's a comedy.
Dimitrios Koukas
  • 0

#11 Lars.Erik

Lars.Erik
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 175 posts
  • Steadicam Operator
  • Oslo

Posted 29 September 2005 - 02:36 PM

Hey there people. Thanks for the great replies. The producer called me today and I said "let's do it!". So on tuesday I'll be starting with pre-production.

To answer some of your questions:

A lot of the work will be done handheld.

We have about 6-7 sets. But they are all in the same building. We just have to switch on the different dimmers for each set. Some exterior work, but done by 2nd unit.

The actors are very experienced. Done lots of theatre and film. So that should be ok.


Again, thanks for the advice. Have a nice one.
:)
  • 0

#12 Dimitrios Koukas

Dimitrios Koukas
  • Sustaining Members
  • 569 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Athens, Greece, London UK

Posted 29 September 2005 - 02:59 PM

Hey there people. Thanks for the great replies. The producer called me today and I said "let's do it!". So on tuesday I'll be starting with pre-production.

To answer some of your questions:

A lot of the work will be done handheld.

We have about 6-7 sets. But they are all in the same building. We just have to switch on the different dimmers for each set. Some exterior work, but done by 2nd unit.

The actors are very experienced. Done lots of theatre and film. So that should be ok.
Again, thanks for the advice. Have a nice one.
:)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Congrats !
Dimitrios
  • 0

#13 Bob Hayes

Bob Hayes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1087 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Culver City, California

Posted 29 September 2005 - 03:55 PM

I average eight pages a day when I shoot episodic. On my current series ?Makaha Surf? we?ve shot a couple of ten page days so far. This is a two camera location drama. We shoot in ten hour days and have no prelit sets. In a prelit environment you should be able to shoot ten page days. About 1/3 is day exterior. But in Hawaii this requires some finesse to make it pretty.

There are several tricks to pulling it off. Don?t over cover your scenes. You should be able to tell any scene with three angles. Shoot more if you need them but not out of habbit. You should average around 35 setups a day. 45 with two cameras. If you find that you are doing seven and eight shots to do every scene you?ll get in trouble. Some inexperienced Directors or DPs will speak with pride how they were able to do a 60 setup day. Well Television is sometimes like golf. Two or three great shots will win the game more the ten poorly planned shots. Can you imagine Tiger Woods boasting ?Hey it was a par 5 but I did it in nine??

Avoid blocking that creates split looks and adds extra angles that aren't really needed.

When ever possible think about cheating coverage rather then relighting.

Try to take advantage of prelit areas for the next scene.
  • 0

#14 Brad Grimmett

Brad Grimmett
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2660 posts
  • Steadicam Operator
  • Los Angeles

Posted 30 September 2005 - 04:34 AM

I average eight pages a day when I shoot episodic.  On my current series ?Makaha Surf? we?ve shot a couple of ten page days so far. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Wow, you're really flying! The producers must love you! And I'm sure the crew does too if you're doing ten hour days every day.
  • 0


Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

Opal

FJS International, LLC

CineTape

Paralinx LLC

CineLab

Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Technodolly

Aerial Filmworks

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

Tai Audio

Glidecam

The Slider

Abel Cine

rebotnix Technologies

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Metropolis Post

Rig Wheels Passport

rebotnix Technologies

Abel Cine

Ritter Battery

Visual Products

Opal

The Slider

Tai Audio

Glidecam

Technodolly

CineTape

Willys Widgets

FJS International, LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineLab

Wooden Camera

Paralinx LLC