Jump to content


Photo

Shooting blind, without a viewfinder or monitor


  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 Robert Edge

Robert Edge
  • Sustaining Members
  • 401 posts
  • Other

Posted 04 November 2005 - 04:19 PM

Roger Deakins, in the Nov. '05 issue of American Cinematographer, p. 47, says that some of the sequences in Jarhead were shot with Arriflex 3-C's, held in front of the body rather than on the shoulder, while running both over flat land and up and down sand dunes, without looking through the viewfinder. It appears that when Deakins was the operator on these shots, he framed by visual guesstimate. However, he says that when Scott Sakamoto, his second camera operator, was doing this, he used "an old-fashioned parallex-type sight with a couple of sticks, so he could tell where the top of the frame was when he was running." I assume that they must have been using fairly wide lenses and fairly healthy apparent depth of field.

I'd appreciate any tips on shooting blind, apart from the injunction "practice, practice, practice". As an aside, if you shoot regularly with a video camera, do you get to the point where guesstmating the frame is pretty easy?

The article does not elaborate on Sakamoto's parallax-type sight. I suppose that one could be made by taping a dowel vertically on either side of the camera body, rather like goal posts, with a mark on each dowel, or perhaps a piece of string between the dowls, representing the top of the frame. This would have to be done for a specific focal length and for a specific eye distance and orientation in relation to the dowels. Or is there is some other, more precise or sophisticated, way to create such a sight?

Thanks.
  • 0

#2 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 04 November 2005 - 06:04 PM

The dowels, or a frame of coathanger wire, would work provided that you had something with a hole in it at the back to look through. On early hand crank cameras, that's pretty much what they had. But you do need the back piece to get your eye in the right place.

You might make a test/practice rig like this on a consumer video camera and run around with it. Care and perfection are exactly what you don't want in that kind of action shooting. The right approach is to embrace the randomness of it, and depend on the editor to choose the good stuff.



-- J.S.
  • 0

#3 Luke Prendergast

Luke Prendergast
  • Sustaining Members
  • 491 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Victoria Australia

Posted 04 November 2005 - 06:25 PM

Like the Eumig Nautica


Posted Image
  • 0

#4 Brad Grimmett

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

Posted 05 November 2005 - 08:50 PM

I did something similar a few years ago. I was doing steadicam with an F900 and the camera was having some problems and kept blowing a fuse, which in turn killed the video out. The viewfinder still worked but I couldn't get video to my monitor. Our choices were to either lose a bunch of shots that were suppossed to be steadicam or try to shoot the shots "blind". I didn't want to shoot blind because I was scared of the potential (bad) results, but the DP urged me to do it, so I gave it a try. I was VERY surprised at how well the shots turned out. Most of the shots were done with a pretty wide lens, which helped, but I was really surprised at how well I was able to judge framing based on my knowledge of the field of view. Even the headroom was decent for most of the shots.
I think sometimes when doing handheld like what was described for Jarhead, it's better to just do it the way Deakins and Sakamoto did as oppossed to trying to watch a monitor. Sometimes paying too much attention to the monitor can get in the way of walking. Of course with steadicam it's different, but for handheld it can make sense. I saw some of the BTS footage and saw them doing this. Some of it was intercut with the footage they were shooting and it looked good. The framing wasn't always perfect, but it seemed to be a very effective way of getting those shots.
  • 0

#5 Michael Collier

Michael Collier
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1262 posts
  • Gaffer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 08 November 2005 - 03:17 PM

I shoot everyday with a video camera and fujinon lens (7.5-110mm, 2/3" chips) and can guestimate resonably well, but like anything I hate to do it. A little confidence will put that edge into your shot, so if you can rig something up to show you what you are shooting, even if its reletive then your ahead of the game. I wouldnt recomend building a frame to mock a veiwfinder, I would rig something up so you know the reletive center of frame. If you are used to the lens and you know where center is you can base everything off that. it will give you better results than trying to line one charecter up on the side of your mock frame, only to find your frame was off and your charecter is not cut off at the nose on the extreme side of frame.
  • 0


Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Willys Widgets

CineTape

Glidecam

Tai Audio

Abel Cine

The Slider

Wooden Camera

Aerial Filmworks

Rig Wheels Passport

FJS International, LLC

Metropolis Post

Paralinx LLC

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

CineLab

Opal

CineLab

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

Tai Audio

Paralinx LLC

Wooden Camera

Glidecam

Abel Cine

Visual Products

CineTape

FJS International, LLC

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Technodolly

Opal

rebotnix Technologies

The Slider

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Willys Widgets

Rig Wheels Passport