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Embarrassing Film Question

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Rastus W
Embarrassing Film Question
on May 20, 2007 at 9:42:10 pm


I work in video.

On film sets, I frequently see a person taking tape measurements from what I think is the camera to an object being filmed.
What is this about?

Thanks
Rastus


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todd mcmullen
Re: Embarrassing Film Question
on May 21, 2007 at 1:58:40 am

well, it happens in video as well. this is the 1st assistant cameraman taking measurements from the film plane to the subject. In the uk the 1st can be known as the focus puller. However, the 1st will pull out his tape measure to to mark where an actor might be standing. And also they will measure where a actor will go. The camera operator does not pull his own focus, in the studio-independent-union-film world. for instance...if an actor is standing at 15 feet and he moves toward the camera into 2 feet then the assistant will have marks as to the start point at 15 feet, then depending on t-stop, he will set marks with tape or chalk on the ground at 10 feet, 6 feet and all the way to the end mark of 2 feet.The assistant will then match the marks on the ground to the marks on the lens and hopefully they will be in focus. Each persons methods vary but the result should always be the same. an actor in focus. Believe me, you have no idea what is like to go see dailies on a big screen with critical focus in play. The 1st assistant camera can be the most important job on the set these days, for a projected feature film that is.

Todd McMullen
Flip Flop Films
Austin
http://www.toddmcmullen.com


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tony salgado
Re: Embarrassing Film Question
on May 22, 2007 at 5:24:13 am



I thought the dude was actually measuring the amount of film they are predicting to roll on for that given take.

Since the film camera measures footage in feet I thought that was the reason for the tape measure to make sure they do not roll out of film in the middle of the take.


Seemed logical I guess.



Not!!!



Just kidding,



Tony Salgado


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Redflag
Re: Embarrassing Film Question
on May 22, 2007 at 11:22:05 am

This tape can also be used by the focus puller to see if they can get their wallet onto the set!!



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todd mcmullen
Re: Embarrassing Film Question
on May 22, 2007 at 11:56:15 am

Actually, these days assistants are using remote focus for features. This way they can stand away from the camera and see if the actor hits their marks. Im sure they get an upgrade as well, hence the fatter wallets.

Todd McMullen
Flip Flop Films
Austin
http://www.toddmcmullen.com


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Leo Ticheli
Re: Embarrassing Film Question
on May 22, 2007 at 1:35:12 pm

Please don't be misled by these cover stories about the tape measure being used for focus!
This is right in there with the, "chroma key to the gen-lock."

Everyone in the union is required to sign a confidentially pledge not to reveal that the tape is actually used to determine which size apple box is required to bring actors of short stature up to the eye level of actresses.

To avoid embarrassing the actors, the subterfuge of saying it is for focus marks was agreed upon. In fact, on the west coast the practice was called "pulling a Ladd" after the actor Alan Ladd.

On a drunken binge at a Hollywood party, Alan Smithee, the famous director, was on the verge of revealing the truth, but he passed out before he could finish. The studio was so outraged that they replaced him on the film he was shooting. This occurred in 1997 and poor Alan Smithee has not been able to find work since.

Since I'm not a union guy, I can reveal this previously unknown secret; next time you see the tape measure pulled out, you'll know they are working with a short actor.

Good shooting!

Leo







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Tim Kolb
Re: Embarrassing Film Question
on May 22, 2007 at 7:38:33 pm

Leo...I do believe I sense humor...

ROTFL!





TimK,
Director,
Kolb Productions,

Creative Cow Host,
Author/Trainer
http://www.focalpress.com
http://www.classondemand.net


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Redflag
Re: Embarrassing Film Question
on May 23, 2007 at 3:46:33 am

Some MEASURE of humour anyway!

Remotes have some delay.. its a brave man who uses them except a wide angle on a sunny day :)



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Redflag
Re: Embarrassing Film Question
on May 23, 2007 at 3:53:16 am

Sorry ..please read .. brave person



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Steve Wargo
Re: Embarrassing Film Question
on Jun 3, 2007 at 4:59:57 am

Yeah. Be careful or the chicks will get pissed.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona

It's a dry heat!


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Redflag
Re: Embarrassing Film Question
on Jun 10, 2007 at 8:21:32 am

I just thought there are a hell of alot of really good female focus pullers out there.



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