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Re: Was I asked a trick Question?

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Rick Wise
Re: Was I asked a trick Question?
on Jun 13, 2008 at 6:43:48 pm

Courtesy and respect to and from everyone on the set is basic protocol. I give and expect it all the time, and spread that to the graduate lighting classes I teach at the San Francisco Academy of Art. I'm curious what school allows such shoddy behavior.

In any case, the focal length question is well answered. If you shoot long enough with the same type of camera, you will instinctively know what focal length you want. I can do that easily for 35mm and 16mm film, but haven't yet learned it that well for video. But the simplest answer would have been something like, "We are framing just wide enough to cover Actor A and Actress B from head to knees, and the camera will be here. So everything from X to Y will be in the shot." As the director, you are likely to have a pretty good idea about that field of view. However, there are directors who don't have much of a clue on such issues, and leave it up to the DP to figure out framing, angles, coverage. As a student director, you will find it more than a little useful to constantly be breaking down your scene into shots, if only in your mind, well in advance of the shoot. When the shoot days come, you will undoubtedly change everything, but having pre-viewed your shots, you will be even more able to adapt and improvise when your actors come up with some new and terrific ideas -- though you may decide their ideas don't really fit the film and have to reign them in. It's a constant dance between you, the chef d'orchestra, and everyone else on the set.

I have one and only one rule about someone on the set being rude or lazy or indifferent: I never hire them again.

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA

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