I’ve been doing a bunch of corporate stuff – for Sterling Worldwide Entertainment, for other companies some event coverage – for example I just shot the Pole Dancing Federation championships (it is a hell of a lot different than you might expect.) and doc shooting of late – With Gayle Kirschenbaum – http://mynosethebiggerversion.com/crew.html also Karen Kramer http://www.karenkramerfilms.com/ . (I’m a name dropper, so shoot me.) I’ve been running into a new situation of late.
I started out shooting film – yeah baby that wonderful flexible celluloid backed emulsion, love it, love the smell of the film fresh from the lab. – Yummy. Also, a bit of an expense. You know, we could shoot an interview, and roll sound on a separate device (double system sound, and since most of the hour interview is going to use b-roll visuals, might as well cut the film camera and keep recording sound. Of course that is with Film. When shooting electronic capture the medium is so much cheaper, just leave the camera on recording the visuals of someone sitting there, in case something spectacular happens – they cry, their head explodes, etc.
So I’d shoot interviews, and was trained. start med wide, and listening to the dialog, change the frame. Zoom on in to the subject, find what is interesting and get the emotion of the shot. It is ingrained in me. When I spent a year and a half on the Survivors of the Shoah project, I was introduced to something new. Just go medium wide, and then come to a medium shot. Now I get it; the interviews were more about being chapters in a book, and not about the specific person. Still it was difficult, and the listening to the experiences the subjects were sharing, – like an alarm in the head – “Get Closer, Get closer, get that emotion, get the full impact.” It was difficult and took some time to fight the instincts and urges.
Shooting corporate interviews, or man on the street, still I want to change the frame size, keep it from getting boring. Or if the subject flubs something, change the frame size, so to make it easier to cut between the first part of the answer and the restart.
It is a tough habit to break.
Of late though when shooting, I’ve really been thinking of the advantages of using two cameras. This is something that is really unheard of for me. Two cameras, means two operators, two loaders (GET OUT OF THE PAST, ain’t no one shooting docs or corporate on film no more.) double the cost of the film and processing. Now though, with fairly decent cameras becoming so affordable, Might as well have TWO. Yes sure twice the work, twice the time to download the data at the end of the day. A little more work with the lighting and framing, but you are shooting from either two very different angles, or what I’ve been thinking of, shooting from almost the same angle getting a med wide and a C.U./Med C.U. .
Because I’m sitting there, and shooting, and what they are saying seems so incredible, I must slowly zoom in for dramatic effect, but no, it turns out to not be so dramatic, but now I’m in tight, I need to find a place to get out, back to the med wide shot. Think of the edit, is this a solo drop in, or will we be just sitting on the subject fro the whole interview. Don’t screw it up for the editor who has to go to B-roll because the zoom jerked, or the frame isn’t right. It’s the bread and butter of shooting, but even if I do it all correctly, sometimes you are going to miss something.
But with two well matched cameras one goes tighter, one goes wider. Sit back and enjoy. It just seems so counter to what I think. Somewhere producers are thinking – yep, pay for the second camera rental, lose another operator. Cha – Ching. Aside from the money saving aspects, I don’t think it is all that wrong an idea though. Certainly advantages – You don’t get caught in between, and if there is a problem with one of the cameras – you always have the second camera for back up.
Now I’m thinking there are the several issues of course. Getting the cameras close to each other. BUT. . . There are these nice new cameras out there. Single body, dual lens, dual sensor cameras designed to shoot in 3-D. Hmmmm, now if only we could uncouple one of the lenses, and shoot one wide, One tighter. Ahhhhhhhhh.
Now I do have a mea culpa moment here. On a recent shoot, there I am with two cameras, and I got to changing the frames. Old habits kicked in, and suddenly I thought the frames were too similar, and I made a mistake. It happens, and I’m not thrilled. On this shoot we hadn’t specifically discussed about changing frames, and I just reacted. It’s no excuse, because we shot before, and didn’t change frames. So I have no excuse, I made a mistake. I’m professional and will deal with the consequences. What I’m more concerned about is that the director can still use the parts of the interview that they want. I would just hate it if everything that we went through to get the interview was all for nothing because I screwed up the shot, and it hurts the film.
in the end, I think that with the advancing of technology, the lessening cost of media, and gear, I could get used to shooting interviews with more than one camera (or one camera with multiple sensors.) It is just going to take me a little more time to get used to it.
Thanks for reading.