How Our Set Works

How does the set work?

ImageThe short answer is "drunkenly". But actually the way we tend to shoot is fast and with a lot of shortcuts.
The trick with shortcuts is to know when you can take them and when you can't. We, for instance, are very very bad about actually saying the name of the scene and the number of the take at the beginning of a scene. That's because it's typically easier for us to look through all the takes we did on a given day to see all the shots we got for a given scene.
In other words, we don't really care that this is scene 55J-series take 18. After all, when we load all the takes into the timeline we can see that's it's take 18. Why bother saying it just before we drop the slate?
And that brings me to another thing. If we're on take 18 of anything, we're in a lot of trouble. Typically we never go above three takes of any given shot. Which means, yes, you're only going to do your closeup once.
But we're going to be working all day. Not this start-and-stop nonsense where we spend the better part of an hour lighting the reversal of a scene. This has the inadvertent effect of making the acting part more fun.

I'm going to talk to the 1st AD about you.

There's no 1st AD. We don't have much use for someone to say "roll sound" and "lock it up". The director or camera person can do that just fine. Now I wouldn't complain if we had a 2nd AD. No sir. Because that would be awesome. But in 2011 we don't have one.

Well at least I can complain to the script supervisor.

Ha! No. There is no script supervisor.

Why not?

Again, it might be nice to have a scripty on set, but we can't afford one. Nor can we afford the time they'll take by trying to document everything properly. We shoot nigh on 80 to 100 setups a day and the way we do that without everyone getting cranky is to just move the camera and start shooting.

What's up with slating and all that?

This is how we do it.
DP/Director: "Slate up please"
(slating person gets the slate ready)
DP/Director: "Roll Sound please"
(sound person presses "record" button)
Sound Person: "Take 238" (or whatever the take is)
DP/Director: "Take 238. Mark it."
Slate Person "Mark"
Slate person drops the slate and runs away.

Ted Raimi in Bloodmask (Millennium Crisis)

Let's talk about cameras

The Panasonic GH1

The GH1 we have is hacked(external link) to shoot at 30MB/s. Here's our GH1 page.

What's all this about a "radio play"?

Sometimes, when there's an issue with sound things, we do a version of the scene which is just the actors gathered around a microphone. See the page on production sound for more.

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