Utilising 2nd Units (2 replies)
I wanted to ask you and the Forum members about your experiences when you have utilised 2nd Units on your larger shoots, such as BladeRunner 2049.
Specifically, I'd appreciate any guidance about how specific you are in terms of the information that you provide to a 2nd unit DP in seeking to ensure that the 2nd unit photography is consistent with that of the main unit, particularly in relation to lighting and composition.
For example, when delegating scenes to be shot by 2nd unit, how prescriptive are you in terms of lighting? Would you typically provide a specific, detailed lighting diagram to the 2nd Unit DP for their execution?
Similarly, in terms of composition and camera settings, would you typically provide a very specific and detailed storyboard to the 2nd Unit DP, that prescribe, for example, the lens to be used, the T-stop and also elements such as the positions of actors/extras, foreground/background details? Or is there a certain amount of discretion/flexibility for the 2nd Unit DP to determine some of these elements?
Importantly, what criteria do you consider when selecting your second unit DP? Is it mainly about finding a DP that has like minded sensibilities?
Thank you very much and kind regards
I've heard when you hire Mr. Deakin's to shoot a movie as the DP... you hire him (along with James of course), his camera, and that's what you get. There is no 2nd Unit... Blade Runner didn't have a 2nd Unit or even multi camera setups. 1 DP/1 Camera.
There was once an exception made on Skyfall where a 2nd Unit was used for one sequence in Turkey I heard, but Roger can elaborate.
The iMDb credits page for Blade Runner 2049 suggests that there was a 2nd unit:
Under the heading "Camera and Electrical Department" there are several crew credited as "Second Unit", including "Pierre Gill" who is credited as "second unit director of photography".