Set photography questions (1 reply and 4 comments)
Thanks so much for the thorough response!
To be honest, after sending that I instantly wanted to take back the 50% ideal, because that's not actually something I aspire to on a professional set, but more casual student sets where they don't need as huge a volume of images and I can do things more my way, especially since I've been working for free (only the last few sets have even covered those expenses and the one next week is the first with an actual personal rate in addition to covering film expenses).
But after shooting a night exterior shoot exclusively on film for my last set, even I want to shoot more digital. Both my cameras' shutters stopped functioning half the time in the freezing cold and the lighting was barely sufficient for the 800 speed film when they were at like a million iso, so it's miraculous I gave them results they were satisfied with.
Realistically I thought 25% film could be my ceiling on paid sets but I'm not surprised at all to find that that's still untenable for legitimate studio-financed movies.
That you accomplish all your work in the actual takes and rarely work outside that is pretty incredible and is right now the most daunting part for me. A ton of the shots I've done in the past I've asked for a few minutes with the actors after camera clears out. Sometimes it's just impossible to frame without crew or equipment in the way, the motion camera is just the only vantage point that sees just the action and I can't be where that camera is because physics.
One setup the space was tight so the camera department wouldn't let me behind the camera and nothing else was camera-safe so I just had to sit out on that scene by the monitor doing BTS of the director watching the monitor. I guess if it's truly impossible all I can do is tell the 1st AD and he/she can advise on the possibility of jumping in after and it's my job to make sure it's actually impossible to get what I need during the take before letting that happen. Part of the problem is my overreliance on medium format with its shallow DoF where I want to spend more time focusing and can't check after, so shooting more digital will definitely be the key.
I guess there must be a lot of shots you snap between takes that are effectively BTS but are able to be appropriated as promo since the frame's clear of crew and the actors appear to be more or less in character?
thanks again, this has been so helpful.
Your welcome. Yes, you have to pick and choose your battles. If you know that an image that you want to shoot is very important tell the story, but you can't make your way in the set, ask the AD for a minute afterwards. Finding places to be takes up a good part of my mental activities sometimes.
Again, film is great but even some of the best digital cameras are having a hard time keeping up with the Alexa and Red. I will sometimes use a monopod and shoot iso5000 f2.8 at 30th....you do the math on what you would otherwise miss with a film camera.
Very interesting discussion. It doesn't matter how long you've been in the business there is always something new to learn. I take off my hat to people taking candid shots of actors on set, you must be constantly searching for that one shot that match's your brief. Some actors will bend over backwards to help you get your shot but then there are others who make you work that extra hard just to be awkward. Keeping that energy going is a feat in itself. But it is a definite skill which only a few fully understand and not many people can master.
Very true, on all points,