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< Part 14 | Introduction | Part 16 >

The Videomaker's Journey: part fifteen
The Crew.

Use the links in the text to move between sections.

CONTENT

The Crew

A small crew is best - keep the use of lights to a minimum.

Clapper sticks [clapper-boards] are not necessary for video work - they would be an unwanted distraction. With a fifteen minute movie, two cameras and no slate, I had no trouble editing the movie. A slate with the shot number and take number was not needed at the start of each take. In the early years, as a director and when shooting out of sequence for a club competition, I would call out the shot number as follows:-

Director: "Camera running?"
Camera operator: "Running."
Director: "Shot 4-3 take 2 action."

The Size of the Crew

(a) one person crew
While the screenplay might have been written by someone else - the movie maker does all the rest and sometimes acts in the movie. If you are in a very noisy environment you really need to use a microphone on a boom. Then place the boom on a tripod so as to get it in close.
(b) two person crew
The director holds the microphone boom . The director or the video camera operator wears the headphones. The rest of the work is shared. Having two people in the crew makes it much easier to learn how to make movies.
(c) a three person crew is desirable
The third person holds the microphone boom.
(c) a four person crew
The fourth person would be the director's assistant. This would reduce time on the shoot, thus making the actors' lives easier. The director and the camera operator would have less pressure on them.


The Director - is completely in charge off making the movie and drafts the shooting script and draws the storyboard.

The Video Camera Operator - is the second crew member and must take care that the microphone is not in the the shot.

The Microphone Boom Operator - is the third crew member who wears the headphones, if reliable in this work. (Make sure the headphone volume is turned up to 50% maximum volume.) The boom operator should do the following:

  1. test that the microphone works just before the next shot starts.
  2. hold the microphone close to the actors as directed.
    The boom operator slowly lowers the boom microphone. The camera operator watches the eye piece and as soon as the microphone is seen, calls "In!"
    The boom operator immediately slowly raises the microphone. As soon as the microphone is out of the frame the camera operato, calls "Out!"
    The boom operator then lifts the microphone another 300 millimetres and makes a mental note of its location.
  3. The director calls: "Quiet on the set" and starts the next shot.

The Director's Assistant - is the fourth crew member who watches continuity and checks that the director has not missed any instructions on the shooting script or storyboard. Sets up the lights as directed - checks that the microphone is working - supervises that the microphone is not in the shot. Marks off each shot as it is taken - marks the lined script, if told to do so. (The director will also tick off the shot.) Makes sure the director does not miss the extra shots recently marked on the shooting script.


The Lined Script

We don't use this - but I show you an example, in case you don't know about it.

Many years passed before I finally figured out what it was. It records a system of taking of the shots as a group - I now call this "overlapped shooting." It is a regular practice that is not normally published in the technical books. I accidently stumbled on to this at a script reading. I was explaining how the off-screen actors would speak - so as to motivate the on-screen actor and also provide reaction shots. In this way I was making the actors act before they had to speak and keeping them acting after they spoke. One of the actors shouted: "Yes!" I then said I would continue the shot over as many adjacent clips as was practical - more shouts of "Yes".

I later found that this allows the actors from the repertory theatre to get a lot of enjoyment as they act. The lined script I show below is the actual shooting script I used when directing The Trouble With Harry. It wasn't marked as a lined script at the time. I now have lined it - to show how I take the shots.

The wriggly part of the vertical line indicates off-camera action and off-camera dialogue. There were 5 takes. These collected the 8 shots we needed. They also collected 11 reaction shots.

Shots 3-13, 3-13b, and 3-14 had to be taken separately as shown.

When I started the first take I was amazed at the performance of the actors. I had a mini stage play performing right in front of me. I was getting an enhanced performance from the actors. I had some understanding of how Jean-Pierre Jeunet felt, when he found enormous enjoyment on the occasion when he first directed actors.

I looked across at the cameraman. He had stood up and was watching what was going on with a big smile. He wasn't watching the camera.

Shooting Script for The Trouble With Harry

Sample lined shooting script.


< Part 14 | Introduction | Part 16 >

© copyright Arthur Bullock, 2007


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