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Aidan Gray

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About Aidan Gray

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  • Occupation
    1st Assistant Camera
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • My Gear
    Sony FS7

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  1. I'm going to put a disclaimer here that this is just my experience and I'm not certified to give rigging safety information so follow this at your own risk. In my experience, I've had plenty of success with the DBI Sala full body harnesses - they have a large pick point at the back for fall arrest devices which left the front relatively clear of things that would get tangled in the way. They felt very safe and weren't as uncomfortable or cumbersome as I'd expected - they're also not crazy expensive (although no price is too costly when it comes to protecting a life). Not sure if they're available in Germany, but regardless I'd look into full body harnesses. Also, these are things the production company should be providing for you - in the US under OSHA, they legally have to provide it/bare the expense.
  2. Hey so after doing a bit of searching, I found this one on the ARRI Expendables site. It has loops to go around Magliner or Filmtools cart handles. Hopefully this is helpful (:
  3. ...except my Arri Base Camp lasted maybe a year? And I've met several 1sts and Ops who have had the same experience... Since then, I've just been investing in proper widemouth work bags and just replacing as the wear out. $220 is a bit too much to pay for an unreliable product in my opinion.
  4. Hey! The best option would probably be to ask a rental house for a Big Ben clamp and a section of Speedrail. With this setup, you'll unfortunately only get two lights instead of the 4 that Alex likes to use, but thats usually not a problem for Poor Man's process stuff. I would also suggest picking up some ratchet straps and a Menace arm kit so that you can tension the arm and avoid any bowing. I don't know what those lights are exactly, but they look like LED Dedos or similar.... Whilst they might be battery powered, I would try to stick to AC power if you have access to it. Gives you the option to use larger fixtures and easier to trouble shoot than faulty DC.
  5. Hollywood Camera Works makes an app called Shot Designer. If you buy the iPad version, it comes with a code for the desktop version and its possible to sync the two of them to automatically stay up to date. I'm not the most pleased with it, because it feels rather basic and I'm used to things like Vector Works and AutoCAD from my theatrical background, but I think it'll be great for what you're looking for!
  6. I've never gotten a chance to AC with the 702, but a DP I work with just bought one for his Ursa and he's in love. He says its been a while since he's found an on-camera monitor he's been that happy with.
  7. For sodium vapor, I've actually found great success using real sodium vapor lamps. I love them because, much like other pressurized gas lights, they stupidly efficient and I can absolutely bake a room with lights on a single house power circuit (plus they're like $80/head - which makes production happy). Recently on both Black Mass and Spotlight, they employed a lot of sodium vapor lighting - but they just used 400w Sodium floods on condors instead of dealing with other lights. You get really gross looking skin tones and need to be careful about over amping and clipping the red/green channels, but thats generally 100% fine in situations that take place under where a sodium light would be located. I've used the both flavors of the Rosco vapor gel and whilst I appreciate them, they don't quite have the same quality (and I need a higher wattage light to really get a proper effect on camera because the transmission coefficient is so low). That being said, if power/budget isn't much of an issue, I would take the tungsten to have it as an option. Anyone know if a light meter reading of a sodium vapor would be accurate or would it be inaccurate due to spikes in the spectrum (like with LEDs)? Paging Guy Holt!!
  8. Do you plan for the windows to be in focus? Like Mr. Mullen said, unless you're using hard gels, gelled windows almost always look pretty bad. The best way to do it is with a spray bottle (I do a little bit of soda and water) and a squeegee, but even then you'll see microbumps that will appear like rain unless you have completely clean windows and gels. I would recommend trying to throw the window out of focus and then using something like Rosco 3423 (Cinescrim) behind them. This is much easier to attach to the outside of a window. Ideally, If they're really out of focus, you can try to use something like a 4x4' double net, or whatever will fit your window.
  9. Totally unhelpful response here, but I read the subject and then saw the Alexa and I laughed way more than I should've.... Best of luck finding an LCD cover! :)
  10. Diamond prop looks amazing! Too enhance that, try coating the inside of a bowl with CDs (broken or whole is up to you). Thye bounce light around in very interesting ways.
  11. Scoops are an awesome recommendation - totally forgot about those! At one of the theatres I used to work at, we had a special 154 with "EXTERMINATE" stenciled on the side.... Good times!
  12. Well the simple way is using focal lengths - choose a longer lens and back the camera up, thus "compressing" the Z-axis of the frame and making the light seem relatively larger. Another good idea would be to find something silver and reflective (like a beauty dish) and fixing it to the front of the light. I did this for a theatrical show where we wanted lights that appeared to be the size of 5K Skypans, but running off of 150w bare tungsten bulbs. We took old clamp lights and wrapped them with sheet metal to create the look of larger sources (because to the eye, all you see if a glowing sphere).
  13. I would totally vote for a Dedo DLED4.1 kit! I just used a set of 4 of these on a shoot recently because we were working with mainly daylight balanced units and still needed the ability for small pools of light and/or a lot of controlled fill. They're great for what you're describing as I found the color to be incredibly accurate (and I hate most LED units) and they still work with all the standard Dedo accessories. If you need a very direction spot of light, I would suggest a DLED4 and an 85mm (or possibly 100mm) projector lens attachment. This will give you shutters and an iris, and it also acts as a clean spot, which will give you a great beam if you introduce haze. If the output is too much, they have great dimming capability and I found them fully flicker-free (although thats not an issue for stop-motion). Finding a rental house in NYC that carries them shouldn't be too difficult either.
  14. There are generally sweet spots when shooting cars - these are at corners of the car, where the curvature of the car wraps around the lens. Also, cars are all about what you see in the reflections. Whilst you might not be able to fly a soft overhead light in a parking garage, you can certainly find a way to fly a large bleached muslin that you can shoot lights up into. This is what I've seen done with car shoots on location (mainly in dealerships and showroom floors).
  15. To quote producer Ted Hope: "We cannot logically justify any ticket price whatsoever for a non-event film. There are too many better options at too low a price. Simply getting out of the house or watching something somewhere because that is the only place it is currently available does not justify a ticket price enough. We still think of movies as things people will buy. We have to change our thinking about movies to something that enhances other experiences, and it is that which has monetary value. Film’s power as a community organizing tool extends far beyond its power to sell popcorn (and the whole exhibition industry is based on that old popcorn idea)." Everyone in this thread brings up fantastic points as to the current failings of "theatrical distribution" but whats the solution? Is it another distribution method? Is it interactive content that forces you to pay attention and make decisions in order to follow a narrative? I have 0 experience with actual distribution and I generally work with people way smarter than myself and entrust that responsibility to them, so this is just my untrained opinion. If the revolution we've faced in cinema technology is anything like the revolution thats happening in film producing and distribution, I'm sure things will pick back up. We've travelled from the glory days of celluloid, where there was only one person on set who really knew what was going into that can to cameras in the pocket of almost every person on Earth. But the amazing thing to me is... We're heading back to those origins. Sure, we have LUTs that show us roughly what we're going to see, but Exposure Indexes are gaining mainstream adoption and with new log gamma profiles, what you're seeing isn't even all the information being captured. I think much like the economic market, the film market crashed in 2008. The lack of financial support was met with a technological explosion and a revolution in the way visuals are captured. Unsurprisingly, most of that technology has been abandoned in favour of more traditional digital camera formats and as a result, I think we're picking back up. The specialist died for a few years. Following DSLRs, the one-man band popped up and I have producers who entered the industry at that period laughing at me when I ask for $1500/day for a 3-person G&E crew and $3500/day for lighting kit rental that I deem a necessity to make the most compelling visual for the story. The larger conversation that is a little more enticing to me, however, is how we're going to keep the next generation interested. Having spoken with the heads of development at several TV networks, who were once duking it out with NBC and HBO, this is the problem that really matters. Theatrical release might be dead - okay fine. But what about keeping the next 30 years interested in the medium? You'll always have your kids like me who feel a little out of place in their obsession for visuals, but what about the mainstream? In an age where user input matters more and more, how do we keep narrative content relative to an unknown and quickly changing generation of users? This is where that whole cycle thing I was talking about early comes back into play. What was the main driving force of the "Glory Days" of Hollywood? It was a combination of grandiose escapes from everyday life (the things action films are generated from) and timeless insights into human nature (hello drama). With almost every blockbuster using immense layers of flashy (yet ultimately pointless) visuals, the only way to keep viewers attached is by telling compelling stories. To quote screenwriter Billy Ray (in his brilliant speech “A Warning for Our Next Great Screenwriters” which is a required read if you’re in this thread), “…the idea that dazzlings visuals are enough, has led to a certain kind of movie-making laziness that has not been good for anybody”. As of now, the “numbers” matter more than faith in the thesis. If we focus on telling better original narratives and perhaps start doing what Ted Hope suggests and using films as a tool to build communities and conversation, rather than upon focusing on the ability to make wheelbarrows of cash, we can get people back into theatres. If not into theatres, then at home. Much like what camera you should buy in 2015, I don’t think the venue matters as long as theres a vested interest in visual narrative.
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