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Tom Laughlin
Trying to figure out how this shot, and want to try and replicate in future...
on May 15, 2018 at 4:43:14 pm
Last Edited By Tom Laughlin on May 15, 2018 at 4:43:43 pm

Cinematographers, I recently watched a beautifully shot interview with James Cameron and George Lucas for the AMC channel, I'm sure a few of you have seen this clip already. I just wanted to know what you would say as to what they may have done for this interview set-up, cameras, lighting, camera movement, lens flares, etc.





Thanks in advance, Tom 👍

Tom Laughlin
Producer/Editor
Salt Lake City, Utah
digitalchophouse.com


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Stephen Smith
Re: Trying to figure out how this shot, and want to try and replicate in future...
on May 25, 2018 at 9:17:54 pm

To me, it looks like the 3 cameras are on sliders or dollies. Since this looks expensive I would imagine their camera are on a motorized slider. For example, Syrup Genie will allow you to set the rig so it moves the camera left to right and then it will go right to left. So it ping-pongs back and forth until you stop it.

I own a Genie 1 and the marketing team claims you can do this but the motor in the device is way to loud in my opinion. I'm curious if the other rigs would work. If not you can always hand move it.

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page


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Stephen Smith
Re: Trying to figure out how this shot, and want to try and replicate in future...
on May 25, 2018 at 10:30:53 pm

Ha ha, YouTube just placed this in my recommended videos. Here is a video that shows you what you are looking for:







Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page


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Todd Terry
Re: Trying to figure out how this shot, and want to try and replicate in future...
on May 26, 2018 at 1:37:28 am

It's a very good looking setup.

But not a hard one at all.

The key light could be something as simple as a single china ball hung above the table just out of frame. I'll note that the light on Lucas is pretty flat (the key is hitting him straight on), whereas it is not quite as flat on Cameron... he is obviously a little to one side for it. That could have been on purpose, or he could have simply shifted his chair a bit.

The lens flares couple be real and practical, or might have been added in post. The have a little bit of a Magic Bullet look to me, which makes me think they might have been a post effect.

And yes, as Stephen pointed out the camera moves are just slider or dolly moves on curved track.

For a similar setup that looks great watch David Letterman's interviews on his new Netflix series. The lighting (lots of backlighting) and camera moves (lots of arcing dolly moves) on that show are brilliant, giving a real dynamic feel to what is basically two people sitting still on an empty stage.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark Suszko
Re: Trying to figure out how this shot, and want to try and replicate in future...
on Jun 1, 2018 at 3:12:38 pm

I enjoy that guys' how-to videos, but the use of the slider here makes me want to comment.

Sliders and dollies give an amazing look. But it's not always appropriate, and these days, the ease of using sliders can lead to their over-use or inappropriate use. Most especially in situations where it's left on full automation and looping mode. Doing that for an interview setup kinda makes me cringe a little.

It's highly situational, but what I'm getting at is, there are times you really should keep the shot(s) static, and not leave it to chance and automated sliding moves. One important factor is knowing what is going to be said in advance. If the remarks are scripted, then you have a better sense of when the camera move is appropriate and can program it to synchronize timing with the sound bite. Also, in the initial phases of an interview, where the stuff being talked about is introductory in nature and less important, slider moves are okay IMO. Though they can complicate your edit if you need to telescope down and shorten the narrative; suddenly, you have moves maybe happening in opposite directions and distracting in the middle of the sound bite and if you don't have a static "B" or master camera to cut-away to, your edits could get awkward or unusable.

If your whole point is to shoot a short "one-ner", then the slider is a nice way to add some production value and visual drama. But in a more complicated edit, it can bite you. What I would try to do is take the same question twice; once with the slider on, and once without it. This gives me more insurance for the edit.

The time I don't like sliding the camera is when I have no idea what's going to be said next, or how long it's going to take to get the narrative out. Also, when the discussion's focus is first-person or third-person makes a big difference. The chances then are good that the slide, especially an automated one, will be more distracting than helpful, and then in those cases I think it's time to go back to static camera shots where the moves happen unseen, between the cut-aways, and not in the actual takes. I prefer to use cutting to punctuate the narrative and put the emphasis where I want it, not where the servos ended up randomly putting it.

Then again, I'm old. I had to laugh at the start of the tutorial video, because the crew all looked to me like a startup boy band, lol. And where's the women? Not one crewgal in the bunch?


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Tom Laughlin
Re: Trying to figure out how this shot, and want to try and replicate in future...
on Jun 1, 2018 at 4:33:54 pm

I absolutely agree, sliders are cool, but not necessarily needed for every interview. It seems like there are a ton of very young filmmakers who are pushing gear, and though very cool, you need to ensure you are using it with a purpose, and not just using it to be cool, or be trendy. The other thing is, everyone's stuff starts all looking the same, as everyone wants to stand out, me included, you start seeing a ton of the exact same types of slider interviews, and some of what is being said, doesn't seem to warrant such a set-up. But in the case of James Cameron and George Lucas, where there is significantly profound ideas and discussion going on, then yes. But an interview with a slider, where your buddy is saying how great of a film course you have made, is not maybe the best reason use the slider, but I could be wrong. Two rhino sliders at $1100/slider, I would imagine that the tutorial video takes point on some product placement for sure, and rightfully so, cause it made me want to buy one! Thanks for everyone's comments!

Tom Laughlin
Producer/Editor
Salt Lake City, Utah
digitalchophouse.com


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Tom Laughlin
Re: Trying to figure out how this shot, and want to try and replicate in future...
on Jun 1, 2018 at 4:28:59 pm

Literally the day after I posted this question, I ran into this same video, so thanks for sharing!

Tom Laughlin
Producer/Editor
Salt Lake City, Utah
digitalchophouse.com


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Stephen Smith
Re: Trying to figure out how this shot, and want to try and replicate in future...
on Jun 5, 2018 at 7:34:15 pm

I think overusing or misusing a technique can be applied to a lot of things in our industry. It's our job to figure out the best way to tell a story and what can be done to enhance that experience and not detract from it.

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page


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Todd Terry
Re: Trying to figure out how this shot, and want to try and replicate in future...
on Jun 5, 2018 at 7:52:49 pm

[Stephen Smith] "I think overusing or misusing a technique can be applied to a lot of things in our industry. "

True.

I think there was a couple years during the early 90s where every single shot I set up was a Dutch angle. Looking back at archives, you'd think every scene I directed was in a Batman villian's hideout.

I'm guilty of that a bit today with curved sliders, too.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Stephen Smith
Re: Trying to figure out how this shot, and want to try and replicate in future...
on Jun 6, 2018 at 5:07:01 pm

Trust me Todd, I'm guilty as well. Funny about the "Dutch Angles". I watched Thor 1 with my daughter the other day and mentioned that there are a lot of dutch shots in this film. She said like in the Batman movie? Of course, referring to the Adam West Batman movie. That film cracks me up. I really love the bomb scene.

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page


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