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My Sh*& Don't Stink and Yours Doesn't Either. What's the best shot you've done and why?


Dave Chameides
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Dave,

Great thread my friend! Way to steer the discussion back to what it really is all about...The Shot!

Dave that shot is fantastic and yeah my knees are aching as well! Doc that ER shot was great, beautiful hand offs and the story about the Mystery Men is awesome!! Love it. Fabian, really nice...and to nail the lock off at the end of that had to feel great! Maybe got behind a few transitions, but very beautiful work.

 

I'll jump in with two short shots from way back in 2005 I think. Two of my favorite shows were ER and West Wing. Loved the way both of these shows pushed the envelope for the use of Steadicam on a daily basis. Hell they were proud of fact that they could write and execute a 5 page oner that was beautiful and be home after lunch! The first clip is a homage to Guy, Dave, Terry, Doc and all the other great operators that raced down those hospital halls for what seemed like longer and longer shots. I didn't work there til it was was down the line, but I always enjoyed it! Albert, Tom, Toby, and many more...great group!

 

 

The other short shot is from The West Wing. Loved the writing in particular, but the cinematography was always held to a very high bar. I came in after my show got canned and somehow I locked into the additional unit that ran nearly the entire second half of the season(think it was season 5, but not really sure). Looking back, both of these shows seemed a little ahead of there time...commiting to a 16x9 frame alone long before anyone else even considered such a thing and the way they held the cinematography in such a high regard was special.

 

http://vimeo.com/80089264

 

Cheers!

John Joyce

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John, I've been asked to talk to my son's class about Steadicam and motivation for a moving camera. With your permission I would like to show the clip from ER. It will fit in perfectly. Hell, who am I kidding, I'm going to show it to them with or without your permission. But would rather do so with your blessing!

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John, that's some fine work. Brings back ER memories for me as well and memories of 18 hour days onthat West Wing shot, which was really great. I was doing a show on a stage next to West Wing at WB and we worked some long days. But I can't ever remember leaving for home and not seeing the red light running on the West Wing stages as I walked to the parking garage.

 

Fabian, that was some real solid operating in some tight spaces.

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John -- very nicely done! What an exciting time it was to work on such a steadicam-friendly show!

 

I didn't do a ton of ER like Guy, Dave, or Terrance did, but the few days here/there I did from '04 to '06 were always a lot of fun and challenging (I think Charles did quite a bit of the additional units as well). Thank god all the actors were pros and knew how to make things work and had excellent timing. All I had to do was walk around in circles and where ever I pointed the camera they'd just pop in and say their line!

 

Now it seems I mainly do walk and talks or steadi-pod (because it's soooo much faster!). Fun shots like these don't come up very often for me...and when they do, post usually cuts the shit out of them!

 

Here's a shot from an additional unit of ER in 2004 when I was young and pre-downward spiral. Not the best shot ever -- also one of only two shots I happen to have on my computer!

 

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Ron that is a fantastic shot! Beautiful transitions, the shot has a great feel to it and I couldn't agree more that the actors were very Steadicam friendly! And Doc, yeah the hours on West Wing could be crazy long. I'd work 3 days and it felt 5.

Kris, please be my guest and thank you for being so kind to ask! I'm stoked you'd like to show it.

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Love the ER stuff Ron. God that was a fun show to do. Like being a kid in a candy store. The admit desk was always a blast just because of how it lent itself to these kind of things.

 

As to hours on West Wing. I did the first five or so months and I recall the first few episodes being all stage work and we'd generally come in at 4 or 5 pm on friday. What a suck. At least we were able to do great work but still a killer. And to think that both of these shows were back in the day when there was only one op. Makes my back hurt just thinking about it.

 

Ron - as to the steadipod. I'm almost done with my lock off reel. It's four straight hours of some of my best lock off works with some shots lasting as long as 3 minutes. I'm going to try to market it because really any idiot can move the thing but how many people can stand really still for long periods of time and have it look no different than how the host was supposed to be done correctly. Now that's talent.

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Thank you James! Thank you John! Thank you Lawrence!

 

Fabian,

That was totally rockin. Great stuff. Your operating was absolutely brilliant as it's just completely solid and there were a lot of really tight spaces there (or at least it seemed so). Out of curiosity, what were you unhappy about? A few moments where the transitions were a little sloppier than the others which were really tight, not because of operating but because of the subject matter. Intertested to hear your thoughts. Either way, great great video. Congrats.

Thank you Dave!! :-)

 

What I dont like at all (and only happened in that take) is the part at the bar (0:55-) where I lost the guy and didnt really know when the girls going to walk off. (They were all extras so their moves were pretty individuall in every take....) So you can see the uncertainty in camera movement I think.

 

We also wanted to keep the camera moving at all times - yet this wasnt possible when action was behind. (Like at 2:04) When the doorkeeper comes in and I almost had to stop.

 

Then the transition at 2:48 did look better in other takes when the hand of the girl that pulls the guy back came in more obvious.

 

Finally at 3:05 the space at the door was so tight that I couldnt frame the doorkeeper perfectly as my sled would have knocked the door (Also I had to keep the door open with my foot and the ac had to scurry behind me too - keeping him in focus at closest focusing distance ;-))

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Even more impressive than! I see what you are talking about and actually assumed something along those lines at the door. A good place for a bridge cross but without background who are on specific timings it's a crap shoot of course. Well done again. Great stuff and it seems like the things you don't like were out of your control while you nailed the stuff that you could control.

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I've been holding back on posting because of the epicness of the operators sharing their great works. I also mainly shoot commercials, so I don't get the opportunity to do long shots, or even shots that are purposed for the Steadicam. That's just the nature of my market I guess.

 

I'll share this one clip for a hunting show that I thought came out alright. It is heavy on post coloring and re-framing however.

 

I can't figure out how to embed here.

 

http://vimeo.com/34354946

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Cool stuff Kevin. I hear ya on having different stuff due to the nature of your work but it's exactly my point. You posted up something that i wouldn't have really considered that came out pretty cool. Heavily manipulated of course but still good stuff.

 

I posted the link and it embedded. Not sure why or how and why it does sometimes and not others.

 

For anyone else reading this who is feeling like they don't make the grade, you're wrong, and you should post something up. This is about shots you are proud of, not because they are long, or excellent in all senses, or can't be critiqued because they are perfect, but because you are proud to have accomplished them. And that's the key to me. We should all be psyched about the work we are doing and regardless of experience level should want to share that stuff (while explaining experience level etc so it's scene within context). I just think we all should be stepping up and saying "I did this and I like it".

 

Cool. Anyone else? Bring it.

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Not a oner, but this was a music video I shot this summer that made me think "I did this and I like it" - I was very happy with my operating at the end of the day and the cute girls didn't hurt either!

 

My favorite shot falls at 2:05 - ending with a really nice big tilt/lockoff over a balcony. We shot it twice, used the first take. You know that feeling, where it just goes right... and you're holding it.. and you don't wanna let it go. Yeah, I like that feeling.

 

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OK, Dave… you asked…. I don't usually post footage on the Forum because I suck! And, I'm lousy at getting footage, hosting web videos, etc.

 

So, I'm cheating with a couple of links to Afton Grant's fabulous site: www.steadishots.org

 

While this clip from 30 Rock's first season is nothing very difficult, operating-wise, I just love it as a film geek (and it still closes my reel):

 

http://steadishots.org/shots_detail.cfm?shotID=217

 

On Season 4 of "Rescue Me," they brought me in to do a number of long "oners" to mix things up a bit. The show is otherwise all handheld so I struggled a bit on how to approach this without it looking like a huge departure. This shot was for a bad dream that "Tommy" has where all the dead people in his life come back and visit him. We wanted a bit of mystery and ghost story feel to it. The thing about Denis Leary is that he never rehearses for camera. We did a rough blocking rehearsal and then did a couple of 2nd team rehearsals (knowing they'd never be the same) and then rolled on "the rehearsal" with first team. That is what you see here, complete with some bad choices on my part, but somehow, I still love this shot. We did a second take for safety where I made sure Denis hit his mark in the mirror (he hates marks, but was actually very cool about this one since these oners were his idea - and I was squished in a corner and had very little room to fix it with camera) and made sure he was not hidden by the door jam when sitting on the bed (you very clearly see me fighting to reposition the sled in the doorway and that one still bums me out!). But, as I knew on the day, they used the first take - a decision I'm OK with - because there was something more raw about it that fits the show. Oh, the next shot in the sequence is still there too on Afton's site so its attached. It makes the first one look like technical genius with all it lacks but that one was 100% improvised. All I knew was Denis would hack the wall apart with an axe (and to be clear of it!), that he'd run out of the room all together at one point, and then eventually get the Vodka bottle from the freezer and fall down. I'm a lot less proud of this one as I manage to loose the man entirely at times! OK, enough excuses:

 

http://steadishots.org/shots_detail.cfm?shotID=270

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Ha, I always wondered who did that 30 Rock shot. Classic. Charles Papert sent me that before I started watching the show and it's what got me into ti in the first place. Love how little they care that 99% of the people won't get that joke.

 

And the Rescue Me shot is a whole mother story with no real rehearsal. That's ballsy for sure with flying by the seat. Well played. I agree with the energy of it that you spoke of. Cool shot.

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