Production of a Motion Picture
Now it's time to shoot the film. First, let's have a look at the
camera crew, then the video crew, and then, the sound crew.
Other people's jobs will be discussed, when they happen to be necessary for the soundtrack
to be made.
the camera crew
A basic camera crew consists no less than three people :
|- the Camera Operator
- the Focus Puller
- the Clapper Loader
The camera operator takes care of the frame composition (sometimes,
the director of photography or even the director takes care of that himself). For that, he usually has both hands taken by the cranks, and since the
focus is manual on professional cameras (film or video)...
Camera Op (right) and Focus Puller
focus puller at work (bottom left)
||... a second person is needed to take care of the focus : the
Auto focus systems using lasers or infra-red beams do exist, but these techniques
do not anticipate an actor stepping in the foreground of the frame !
Thanks to a dial on which he can jot down marks, the focus puller takes care of focus
according to the marks he took during the technical rehearsals, with the help of
the clapper loader (who will unroll a tape-measure from the camera to the
elements of the frame supposed to be in focus... usually : the actors !)
A great deal of collaboration is necessary between the production
recordist, the boom operator and the camera crew, and this must
be clearly reminded during pre-production. It is indeed perfectly normal that for
each shot (each time the frame changes, actually), the boom
operator obtains from the camera operator that he tells him if the microphone is
in the frame or clear from it (see side note).
|If the production recordist doesn't have a video monitor capable of
indicating the shot composition (what is exactly in the camera's frame), the only person that can help the boom operator for this precious information
is the camera operator.
Who do you think gets his butt kicked when the mike enters the frame ?
Even if it's the camera operator that didn't respect his marks ???
Did you guess ???
I'm sure you did.
Before the video monitoring systems got to be used almost systematically, some camera
operators even cowardly took advantage of the situation, shouting "boom"
to interrupt a take of which they had screwed-up the movement. Nobody was there to
check if the mike was indeed in the frame, since the screwed-up takes aren't used
(not even transfered to positive from the original negative).
Now that the director and the production recordist each have their own video monitor,
such cheating is no longer possible.
optical viewfinder :
Aaton model with a super 35mm frame, 1.78 aspect ratio (exterior)
and TV aspect ratio frame (interior)
the viewfinder of a camera includes a thin frame (at least one,
there are dozens of different models) that indicates what will really be
printed on the film. The camera operator can therefore "see the boom coming"
in the frame during the technical rehearsals. Here, a second frame, inside the first
one, indicates what will really be seen on a TV screen.
The boom operator can then take his own marks, knowing that, say, when such actor
gets to such pebble on the sidewalk, his boom should be at such a height, a building's
rooftop in the back helping to find that correct height time after time during the
multiple takes of that scene's shooting.