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Time/Resource management and low-budgets (6 replies and 5 comments)

Patrick Kaplin
4 months ago
Patrick Kaplin 4 months ago

Hello everybody,

I just wanted to thank Roger (and other contributors) for their time in contributing their expertise and sharing their knowledge for us younger cinematographers. The guidance is greatly appreciated. 

I’m currently prepping my next feature and it’s a good size jump in budget from my previous. I’ve put together an initial equipment wish-list, but was hoping for some feedback if it’s appropriate to the crew size/scale/budget of the picture:

-about $1.2 million

-G&E team of 2+2, 1st and 2nd AC

-roughly 40% night int, 10% night ext, 35% day ext, 15% day int 

-25 days shooting, 10 hour days, 9 year old principal actor in almost every scene (with POV shots to shoot as well)

-period film set in 1996

So with all those variables in mind, do you think the following camera and G&E list of the big ticket items is reasonable? After all, the equipment is no good if you don’t have the crew to set it up right?

Camera:

-Alexa Mini with Summicron-C 6 lens set

-Cooke Varotal 18-100

-bartech wireless FF

-teradek wireless monitoring 

-o Connor 2065 (standard, baby, hi-hat)

-3’ overkeeper

G&E:

-1x Arri M40

-1x Arrisun 2.5

-2x Arri M18

-1x JoLeko 800

-1x Arri S60 skypanel

-2x 2K blonde

-3x 1K openface

-3x 650 fresnel

-3x 300 fresnel

-3x 150 fresnel

-2x 750w source-4

-2x 1.2 firestarter leko

-2x kino freestyle 31

-2x kino freestyle 21

-2x 12x12 frames

-2x 8x8 frames

-1x 6x6 frame 

-Super Pee Wee III package with AKS

-1 Portajib

-Minimax hazer 

Any guidance on this would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much,

Always learning. http://www.patrickkaplin.com»

dmullenasc
4 months ago
dmullenasc 4 months ago

Couple of things seem missing but I'm guessing that this list is just the highlights -- for example, you don't have any monitors, onboard or otherwise, listed, plus matte boxes, filters, batteries, chargers, cables, etc.  

The Mini has internal ND filters but you may want an ND.3 and ND.6 because of the jumps (the camera has ND.6, ND.9, ND1.2, ND2.1.) You may want a Pola. Optical flat (clear).

If you shoot larger than S35, like 3.2K ProRes or 3.4K Open Gate, your 18-100mm will probably vignette at the wide end.

In terms of lighting, the 1.2K "firestarter" is a tungsten PAR or PARCAN, not a leko.

You'll have to specify which degree lenses you want for the Source-4 Lekos and how many of each. 36 degree and 50 degree are the most useful.

You'll want some 4x4 diffusion frames and beadboard (poly) bounces. Plus empty gel frames for color.

You need light stands, big combo stands for the frames, c-stands, sandbags.

Black flags of various sizes (4x4 floppies, 36"x24", 24"x18")

Power distribution.

Patrick Kaplin
4 months ago

Thanks for the input David. Do you think the listed package is manageable by a 2 and 2 G&E team?

dmullenasc
4 months ago

Probably... but that's their call, not mine. Depends on how big the set-ups get and if you need to leapfrog to prepare a space in advance. Also, if you end up putting up a 12'x12' overhead in a strong breeze, all your manpower is going to be spent holding onto the stands and lines...

Cinematographer Reggie A Brown
3 months ago

David,

Can you elaborate on what it means when you said 36 and 50 degree when in reference to lenses in this comment: "You'll have to specify which degree lenses you want for the Source-4 Lekos and how many of each. 36 degree and 50 degree are the most useful."

I'm not familiar with what you meant and it definitely piqued my curiosity and, I'd like to be familiar with the terminology. And does this apply to all lenses or specific lenses? Thanks.

dmullenasc
3 months ago

Source-4 Lekos use attachable lenses in front with different degrees of coverage (light spread) — though in Paris just last week we had Lekos with a zoom lens, which seemed to me to cause some loss of output. You can think of 50 degrees as being your “flood” setting and 26 degrees as being a “spot” setting though the circular pattern that any lens creates is flat, just a bigger or smaller circle depending on the lens, though the intensity is greater when the lens is narrower in coverage. So if you were going to throw the light over a great distance, you might even use a 19 degree or narrower lenses because over distance that circle becomes larger.

Cinematographer Reggie A Brown
3 months ago

Ok. Great info!! Thanks.

markmitchell
4 months ago
markmitchell 4 months ago

Your gear list looks good, but I’d say take your this list to your key grip, gaffer, and 1st AC. They would be able to look at what holes need to be filled and possible better equipment for them to use (carts, accessories, etc.) 

 

For example, my 1st AC hates using the bartech, so he has me get an Arri wcu4.

Or how do you plan on powering your m40, as it is a 60amp 120v light (30amp 240v) so your gaffer would have to figure out how they would want to power it - do they feel comfortable tapping into the busbar or would they need a generator.

 

Also, I think you will need an extra grip to run the dolly; he should be able to focus mostly on that, and help out with the other grip stuff if he has the chance to.

 

I definitely think 2 electrics and 2 grips (+1 dolly grip) should be able to handle what you have!

Cinematographer Reggie A Brown
3 months ago

David,

Can you elaborate on what it means when you said 36 and 50 degree when in reference to lenses in this comment: "You'll have to specify which degree lenses you want for the Source-4 Lekos and how many of each. 36 degree and 50 degree are the most useful."

I'm not familiar with what you meant and it definitely piqued my curiosity and, I'd like to be familiar with the terminology. And does this apply to all lenses or specific lenses? Thanks. 

alove189
3 months ago
alove189 3 months ago

My instinct is that you may be underasking. If this is all you need then go ahead but having a few big guns wouldn’t be out of the question on a >1MM budget, and the increased manpower to handle them. That said you know better than I what you need. I’d say definitely talk to your keys as they may have experience in working with productions of that size and will really nail down the full equipment lists.

dmullenasc
3 months ago
dmullenasc 3 months ago

It’s always a tough call because at some point, the size of the package can determine the size of the crew, or to put it another way, there’s no point in getting a larger, more expensive package if you don’t have the manpower to set it up, power it, wrap it, and maintain/organize it on the truck. For example, with just two grips, it’s hard to safely fly a 20’x20’ diffusion outdoors while also laying 100’ of dolly track. 

James Parsons
2 months ago
James Parsons 2 months ago

Initial reaction is that you may find yourself understaffed more than under-resourced. I second the motion that you’ll want a dedicated dolly grip. Other than that you might be fine for shoot days on stage or a single interior location, but anywhere your spread out, outside, pre-rigging, company moves, etc. I’d budget for some day-player help, including a loader for your camera team.

I’d have to look up the tier rates for union crew at your budget level, but I think the time saved by moving faster with the extra hands will be more cost effective.

j.j.m.m.w.g.du-p.

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