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2 hours ago, John Brawley said:

This is known as “the pattern”

....

Time is the thing we all struggle most with. Time to light, time to shoot, time to tweak.  

The pace of TV has a way of “honing” your choices and teaching you to react and trust your instincts. 

Thanks John, informative post.

A couple of questions:

1) If you don't mind me asking, how often does The Pattern you describe finish an episode?  I'm keen to understand shooting ratios etc.  I understand if this info is a bit too sensitive to share, and I understand it's talking about people other than yourself, so no worries if you decline.

2) a bit OT, but the pace of such a schedule reminds me of the you tubers who create daily content (vlogs normally).  Casey Neistat is the oft cited example but many more are similar.  Casey created a 5-15 minute upload every day for something like 500 days straight, including doing everything himself from story design, shooting, editing, colour and export and upload, and the episodes were competently edited with structure, music, B-roll and sometimes FX.  He mentioned it involved editing for 4-9 hours a day.  

Your comments frequently align with these creators, they shoot 1080 for ease of editing, they get colour right in-camera, they have multiple setups, etc, and prioritise story-telling and throughput over other concerns.

My question is - have you seen any impacts to the industry from this segment of high-productivity film-makers?  I'm assuming that before vlogging was a thing very few people even attempted to maintain a pace similar to a professional shooting schedule.

Thanks!

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2 hours ago, John Brawley said:

Don't weep. I'm very kind to sound.

Phew! :-) Good to hear, it makes a massive difference when the DoP (and director, and 1st AD etc) work with sound instead of against sound. 

 

 

2 hours ago, John Brawley said:

I used to be on the other side of that fence.  I had Zaxcom Deva serial number 4 which was lighter than the PD2 I started with. I went to the Zaxcom factory a few times and knew Glenn quite well.  Back in the day I used to hang with the likes of Glen Trew and John Coffee at trade shows and I cursed the day MS stereo was invented for all the BBC shows I worked on.

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/rec.arts.movies.production.sound/_pL641Crbhg/mJPF4mlnDNkJ

So I get it. I used to be that guy that no one talks too. (sound joke)


OH!
WOW!

I had no idea you had one of the first Deva recorders! What a pioneer.

After you gave that RAMPS link I looked around and read a few more:

https://groups.google.com/d/msg/rec.arts.movies.production.sound/IFhNAzhv73k/KfWPgfOTAsYJ

 

That is incredible, I had no idea you used to specialize in being a sound mixer instead, how did you find yourself transitioning from that to now becoming a successful DoP?

Am quite curious as I entered film school with the desire to be a "DoP" (and prior to film my interest had been in photography as a hobby) and in the earliest years I was focused on just the camera department, but a few years ago I decided I'm better off doing more sound work and it has got to the point I now almost exclusively work in the sound department. (maybe only once a month I'll "play at being a DoP' and do a little short film with friends, or film a music artist, or a few episodes of a web series, but that now is the limit of my camera work usually)

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I feel like in TV everybody works fast.

In VFX at least you generally complete the shots as quickly as you can while still adhering to some sort of quality standard, so generally unlike films, nobody is going to A/B your final shots with the original to pixel peep on your images.  As long as it looks right and matches the script, most people are happy that it's done.

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Stealing from Facebook:

Quote

Yiorgos Jun Tryfonas‎

In case people are wondering :) Another confirmation it works out of the box with Ronin-S. I have a Ronin-S but this is not my camera. Yet.
* Image was posted at Ronin-s group by Edward Kostakis.

36625035_10154822397812168_4020567908542

 

Quote

Franco Padrón‎

Low light sony a7s ii alike?

 

36632929_10156413874679882_7816456869420

 

 

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3 hours ago, SR said:

Stealing from Facebook:

36625035_10154822397812168_4020567908542

 

 

36632929_10156413874679882_7816456869420

 

 

Well to be completely fair, if the camera uses EI like all other Blackmagic cameras, then that's the equivalent of 3 stops underexposed shooting at 3200 ISO which is the camera's native.  That's not THAT high as plenty of cameras can recover 3 stops underexposed with those noise levels.

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11 hours ago, John Brawley said:

 

We average about 35 setups or “slates” per day. Have done as high as 60 on Resident. 

 

Thanks for your insight! But what is the definition of a setup? Is it when you change location, change one light, change tripod height/angle/placement, change camera settings? As making 35 light setups a day seems brutal and 35 tripod changes seems very doable. + then we even have not discussed the amount of takes that actors require to land a good performance. (or at least in my experience it takes several takes per shot, but I have not worked with any greatly talented actors either, but I do have seen David Fincher grind 35 takes on hollywood actors as well :) )

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Set up means any substantial change. 

You move the tripod over by a few feet? That is a new set up. 

Go from easyrig to handleheld?

That is a new set up. 

Swap lenses? 

That is a new set up. 

Change the lighting from late morning to an early evening look?

That is a new set up. 

 

Etc 

Etc

Etc

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46 minutes ago, zerocool22 said:

Thanks for your insight! But what is the definition of a setup? Is it when you change location, change one light, change tripod height/angle/placement, change camera settings? As making 35 light setups a day seems brutal and 35 tripod changes seems very doable. + then we even have not discussed the amount of takes that actors require to land a good performance. (or at least in my experience it takes several takes per shot, but I have not worked with any greatly talented actors either, but I do have seen David Fincher grind 35 takes on hollywood actors as well :) )

 

A setup is anytime the script supervisor changes the ID on the slate 🙂

That's a lens change or a substantial change in storytelling shot construction.  On take 1 of a setup, if there's something blocking and screwing up the shot and you have to move the A camera six feet to get around it, then the shot is considered the same shot, you go to take 2 and its the same setup because the intention is the same.  Kind of the same if the lens change is from a 27mm to a 24mm because you're not quite fitting everything in.  

Sometimes though on take 3, the B camera has gotten what they need and you give them a different shot to do so that would generate a new setup and a new ID on the slate. (don't get me started on the differences between US and AU slate ID's.

The lighting is always being tweaked to each CAMERA (not shot) so that's constantly updating in small ways.  I tend to have some go-to ways to light for cross shooting and it's established often on the first setup and then tweaked to each subsequent setup.

Kubrick seems to have the reputation of most number of takes.  

"For The Shining I spent two weeks on the set in Elstree. My scene with Jack Nicholson lasted about eight minutes. We shot it 50 or 60 times, I should think - always in one take. Then Jack Nicholson, Stanley and I would sit down and look at each take on a video. Jack would say, 'That was pretty good, wasn't it, Stanley?' And Stanley would say, 'Yes it was. Now let's do it again'."

 

9 hours ago, IronFilm said:


OH!
WOW!

I had no idea you had one of the first Deva recorders! What a pioneer.

After you gave that RAMPS link I looked around and read a few more:

https://groups.google.com/d/msg/rec.arts.movies.production.sound/IFhNAzhv73k/KfWPgfOTAsYJ

 

That is incredible, I had no idea you used to specialize in being a sound mixer instead, how did you find yourself transitioning from that to now becoming a successful DoP?

Am quite curious as I entered film school with the desire to be a "DoP" (and prior to film my interest had been in photography as a hobby) and in the earliest years I was focused on just the camera department, but a few years ago I decided I'm better off doing more sound work and it has got to the point I now almost exclusively work in the sound department. (maybe only once a month I'll "play at being a DoP' and do a little short film with friends, or film a music artist, or a few episodes of a web series, but that now is the limit of my camera work usually)

I always wanted to be in the camera department.

My first job was working for a camera rental house but the owner was a working DP.  He shot a lot of documentary work and TV promos. I was his full time assistant for nearly 5 years. It was really like going to DP school for 5 years.  But being his assistant meant you had to record sound.  So I learnt to record sound 🙂

He was by far the biggest single influence on my working style  He taught me the importance of a bedside manner on set, he taught me to pull my own focus when shooting (when necessary) he taught me how to test, how to be hungry, to learn.  He was a technology innovator and a true pioneer. One of the first to embrace HDTV in Australia.  One of the first to buy RED cameras and advocate them.   I wrote about his passing here. https://johnbrawley.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/the-passing-of-john-bowring-acs/

It's never too late to change 🙂

10 hours ago, kye said:

Thanks John, informative post.

A couple of questions:

1) If you don't mind me asking, how often does The Pattern you describe finish an episode?  I'm keen to understand shooting ratios etc.  I understand if this info is a bit too sensitive to share, and I understand it's talking about people other than yourself, so no worries if you decline.

2) a bit OT, but the pace of such a schedule reminds me of the you tubers who create daily content (vlogs normally).  Casey Neistat is the oft cited example but many more are similar.  Casey created a 5-15 minute upload every day for something like 500 days straight, including doing everything himself from story design, shooting, editing, colour and export and upload, and the episodes were competently edited with structure, music, B-roll and sometimes FX.  He mentioned it involved editing for 4-9 hours a day.  

Your comments frequently align with these creators, they shoot 1080 for ease of editing, they get colour right in-camera, they have multiple setups, etc, and prioritise story-telling and throughput over other concerns.

My question is - have you seen any impacts to the industry from this segment of high-productivity film-makers?  I'm assuming that before vlogging was a thing very few people even attempted to maintain a pace similar to a professional shooting schedule.

Thanks!

I'm not sure what you mean when you ask "finish an episode".  It NEVER goes longer than the number of days.  It's scheduled within an inch of it's life and if the schedule isn't make-able then it's re-written 🙂

TV drama and Docos are where I've trained in.  The pace is not new.  What's gotten better is the production standards generally.  We've gone from using 2/3" video cameras to S35 sized sensors and cinema style framing and editorial style.  

Streaming services and VOD has lead to a new era of "elevated" TV drama.  It's shot like a movie, it's got MOVIE actors and directors working on it and it's visually told in "movie" style choices.

Except we have to still shoot it as fast. Yeah I know time is always the enemy.

Typically a movie, even a low budget one, aims for 2-3 mins of screen time a day.  TV drama is typically 6-8 mins on location and 7-12 mins in a studio.  I like shooting with more cameras (three full time) because it gets me more shots from the same number of setups.  More shots = more coverage. Simple maths.

Some shows are different.  A show like stranger things shoots an episode every 14 days. They shoot it "one camera" style and this takes longer.  I know some crew on that and they tell me that they never make their days and that the directors on that can pretty much do whatever they want and Netflix don't care much about the show's budget.  But that kind of "auteur" perspective in a TV show is pretty rare and unusual and is only permitted because of the show's great success. Arguably this could be why it's successful too.   Most directors would be fired or never re-hired again if they didn't deliver an ep in their allowed days.

When I look up directors I'm about to work with, I look at how many episodes they've done on a show.  If they've only done one and never gone back, it's a pretty good sign they're going to be....difficult.

I know a great director who started doing TV drama. He loved big architectural wide shots.  We shot a few scenes without ANY close coverage.  I begged him to shoot close up passes "just in case" and he was adamant.  Nope.  If we shoot those shots they'll use them !

He got reamed in the edit when the producers screening happened.  They asked for closeups on his edit and he said he didd't have any.

He's never been employed again by one of Australia's most prolific producers.  If any other producers call him to ask for a reference guess what he's going to tell them.

TV truly is a "producers" medium and these days, most of the producers are really writers.

JB

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, John Brawley said:

He was by far the biggest single influence on my working style  He taught me the importance of a bedside manner on set, he taught me to pull my own focus when shooting (when necessary) he taught me how to test, how to be hungry, to learn.  He was a technology innovator and a true pioneer. One of the first to embrace HDTV in Australia.  One of the first to buy RED cameras and advocate them.   I wrote about his passing here. https://johnbrawley.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/the-passing-of-john-bowring-acs/

Wow. That was a touching read. Thank you. 

 

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11 hours ago, John Brawley said:

I always wanted to be in the camera department.

My first job was working for a camera rental house but the owner was a working DP.  He shot a lot of documentary work and TV promos. I was his full time assistant for nearly 5 years. It was really like going to DP school for 5 years.  But being his assistant meant you had to record sound.  So I learnt to record sound 🙂


Ah, very interesting, so Sound was never your main focus but you got a lot of exposure to this for a few years along the path to becoming a DoP much later on. 

 

12 hours ago, John Brawley said:

It's never too late to change 🙂

My short/medium term plan is to keep on almost exclusively focus on location sound (perhaps with getting into a little of post sound as well) as this is going well for me. 

But just keep up a little bit of camera stuff on the side very occassionally (when it comes along, not chasing it) such as short films with friends or a music video here or there. 

Then only if I get a lucky break such as maybe if I'm DoP for a  small indie feature film (had a couple of offers come along but not pan out) which does ok then maybe I might try to make the jump back into focusing on being a "DoP" instead. 

But I doubt it, as the more and more successful I'm as a sound mixer the harder it would be to give that up to start again from the bottom elsewhere!
 

12 hours ago, John Brawley said:

TV truly is a "producers" medium and these days, most of the producers are really writers.

Yeah I've noticed that how the Directors seem to just be interchangeable to an extent you'd never ever see for a feature film. 

 

11 hours ago, Savannah Miller said:

Running a big TV set is expensive, so I assume they're very strict in how you work as both cost and not getting behind are very important.  Once it enters post it seems to be more of a free-for-all in terms of getting things done.

Post is very expensive too, and can experience serious budget crunch as well (especially if they're starting to run out of money by this stage...). 

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1 hour ago, webrunner5 said:

Your lucky that Silent Movies was a passing fad!

I read somewhere that apparently they're making a come-back, or at least subtitles, because people watch on their phones in public and their headphones are probably a small Gordian knot in their bag!

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On 7/2/2018 at 1:30 PM, John Brawley said:

It's never going to happen.

Sony won't allow it.  They will never allow it.

Kinefinity can say "future adaptors" all they like.  Sony run a closed eco-system.  This is their MO.

Sony own the mount.  No other camera other than one made by Sony will have a native E mount.

I'm not so sure about that.


The Hasselblad Lunar had a fully capable E-mount.  Also, the physical E-mount has already appeared with at least two other camera systems, and that physical mount has been offered separately online for some time.

 

No doubt, it has occurred to Sony's camera division that they could sell more lenses if the E-mount were widely adopted.  In light of the Sony CEO's recent declaration that the company is moving away from manufacturing "gadgets" (apparently including digital cameras), it certainly is conceivable that their camera division might consider selling more lenses, in deference to their scrutinized bottom line.

 

 

On 7/2/2018 at 1:30 PM, John Brawley said:

Did you know that this year they went past 130 million lenses made ?

130 million EF mount lenses have been made ! 

Think of it like this....that's 130 million potential customers.

Canon make the worlds most popular and numerously made lens mount.

I did not know that there are that many EF lenses.  That's incredible.

 

The EF scourge is even more prevalent than I realized!

 

 

On 7/2/2018 at 1:30 PM, John Brawley said:

Once you get serious about cinema glass, then you go to PL.

So, if I want to get serious, I should ditch my set of M-mount Summicrons and get a set of PL Tokinas?

 

 

On 7/2/2018 at 1:30 PM, John Brawley said:

Adapted 135 format glass...is amateurish.

Does that include the PL rehousings of FF (and MF still) glass, especially those that are being used with the recent large format cinema cameras?

 

Or, is it just using an adapter with a stock still lens that is amateurish?

 

 

On 7/2/2018 at 1:30 PM, John Brawley said:

I hate to sound like a snob but it's really really hard to make them fly on real jobs.  In the end it's often very difficult to make it work on set. Yeah I know you CAN do it,  yeah go post your vanity projects and your music clip that looks great but i'm saying generally, it's a pain in the arse and no one aside from hobby-ist and indie shooters can be bothered futzing around with these jigs.

Well, I suppose some folks are more "adaptable" than others.  I have done okay changing between different mounts and adapters in fairly rapid shoots.  With a couple of ACs, usually one of them knows how mount a speed booster, so it makes things much easier.

 


It seems to me that "futzing" is sometimes a part of filmmaking, especially if one is trying something completely new.  Furthermore, if a little futzing adds some distinctiveness that sets my work apart from the run-of-the-mill, I will gladly futz.

 

 

On 7/2/2018 at 1:30 PM, John Brawley said:

Look at how successful that JVC was. Name a show shot with them.

Huh?  If you are referring to my earlier mention of the JVC LS300, I brought it up because it merely proves that an M4/3 mount works fine with a S35 sensor.  I would not know a show shot with that camera nor with most any other camera.


On the other hand, I have seen some good footage from the LS300, including clips shot by our own @Mattias_Burling

 

 

On 7/2/2018 at 1:30 PM, John Brawley said:

Show me someone who did some amazing creative work on that camera because it existed and did something no other camera could do.

I would guess that we differ slightly in regards to the notion of what constitutes "amazing creative work" (not that one notion is better than the other).

 

I am not familiar enough with most of the existing footage from the LS300, but I think that it's special capabilities shine if one shoots with a set of lenses made for different formats or if one uses focal reducers or tilt adapters with a S35 sensor.

 

 

On 7/2/2018 at 1:30 PM, John Brawley said:

I'm a lover of obscure lenses, but the obsession with adapting and speed boosting lenses...  I say this with love of anything that isn't conventional, but to disparage camera manufactures for making a mount that services BY FAR the vast majority of the existing stills DSLR market for doing just that but holding up very marginal cameras like the JVC and Kinefinity as a beacon of success doesn't fly for me.

I'm sorry, but I have to disparage some camera manufacturers for their arrogance and short-sightedness (who are possibly unlike the two manufacturers that you disparage).

 

Outfits like BMD, Red and Canon, etc. are not interested in the fact that what I advocate does not preclude the use of EF lenses to their full capability, nor are they interested in the fact that what I propose requires ABSOLUTELY NO FUTZING for EF users.

 

There are several inexpensive ways to make such a versatile front end, of which EF users would be completely clueless to the fact that the EF front is removable for those who need a shallower mount.

 

The simplest example that I can give is to merely imagine a Red camera, but with its lens mount plate set further back to accommodate a shallow mount (such as the E-mount,  M4/3, EF-M, Fuji X,... whatever).  If such a camera is shipped with a smart EF lens plate already bolted on, the clueless EF users won't notice any difference, and such hidden versatility won't affect sales figures at all.

 

In regards to your mention of Kinefinity, a typical shooter might consider them marginal.  However, Kinefinity has already beat the larger "non-marginal" BMD (and several others) to a few important milestones, including offering a raw, M4/3 4k camera and offering a raw, FF camera.

 

 

On 7/2/2018 at 1:30 PM, John Brawley said:

Because the market has already spoken.

Well, the market has also said that it prefers Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber over the Beatles.

 

 

On 7/2/2018 at 1:30 PM, John Brawley said:

Making a camera that has a sensor that is LARGER than it's native lens mount (MFT) which FORCES you to always use and adaptor or advocating a mount that is proprietary (E mount) is commercial suicide.

Those two scenarios are not exactly what I am advocating, but I would certainly be fine with either.

 

Again, with the right front end design, most would never know that a camera has (or can have) a shallower mount, and the camera manufacturer would not even need to supply an E-mount -- it would not be "commercial suicide."


Furthermore, the notion that a S35 sensor is "LARGER" than an M4/3 mount is completely arbitrary -- especially since the LS300 (and other camera/adapter combos) proves that such a configuration works.

 

 

On 7/2/2018 at 1:30 PM, John Brawley said:

It forces the user to have an adaptor.

Actually, it doesn't (not that I find anything wrong with using adapters).

 

 

On 7/2/2018 at 1:30 PM, John Brawley said:

Imagine all the idiots who go buy an MFT native lenses and post about the lens not covering their sensor.

I have heard that excuse before, but if the front end is properly designed, there is no problem.

 

Also, even if such a camera only has an M4/3 mount, a prominent qualifier in all literature and on all pertinent web pages should prevent most such problems.

 

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2 hours ago, tupp said:

The Hasselblad Lunar had a fully capable E-mount.  Also, the physical E-mount has already appeared with at least two other camera systems, and that physical mount has been offered separately online for some time.

Hasselblad and Sony have a special relationship.

 

A little like Leica and Panasonic, but more. 

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9 hours ago, IronFilm said:


Ah, very interesting, so Sound was never your main focus but you got a lot of exposure to this for a few years along the path to becoming a DoP much later on. 

 

My short/medium term plan is to keep on almost exclusively focus on location sound (perhaps with getting into a little of post sound as well) as this is going well for me. 

But just keep up a little bit of camera stuff on the side very occassionally (when it comes along, not chasing it) such as short films with friends or a music video here or there. 

Then only if I get a lucky break such as maybe if I'm DoP for a  small indie feature film (had a couple of offers come along but not pan out) which does ok then maybe I might try to make the jump back into focusing on being a "DoP" instead. 

But I doubt it, as the more and more successful I'm as a sound mixer the harder it would be to give that up to start again from the bottom elsewhere!
 

Yeah I've noticed that how the Directors seem to just be interchangeable to an extent you'd never ever see for a feature film. 

 

Post is very expensive too, and can experience serious budget crunch as well (especially if they're starting to run out of money by this stage...). 

VFX is expensive, but it makes no difference if you do the an episode over 2 days, or over 2 weeks, as long as they get done and take the same relative amount of time it costs the same.  Same with any other job.  You can have more people do it and get it done faster, or less people and just take longer.

 

With the amount of shows a VFX studio does at a time, you're rarely 100% dedicated to one show.  The real problems happen if the shots are initially harder than planned or new shots turn up during editing. 

Not all delays in post cost money, but on set it's more of an issue.

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