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how do you make your day?


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Im just wondering if theres anything you ensure you do as a DP that helps you make your days? I always find we go way overtime and usually its because we tried to be too ambitious but I feel like I need to direct my focus more into ways to keep to reasonable timelines.

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It really depends on the shoot, right? The general thing to go by is focus. I've seen tons of sets full of waddling around and taking too long on split-decisions.

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As a DP you can only control what is in your ability to control.

 

1. careful scouting of the locations and make a good list of the needed equipment.

2. have crew begin lighting the next scene while still shooting the previous scene if possible.

3. make sure you have rehearsals with actors for blocking and lighting before they go to makeup/wardrobe to get ready.

4. have the proper number of crew members for the work you plan to do. For example, if you're shooting a day exterior and will be using lights and large scrims, you will need extra crew to move and set all this equipment up and safety it.

5. crane shots eat up a lot of time. Plan for it.

6. plan the day in advance with the director and 1st AD

7. arrive to set before call time with the director and 1st AD to make further plans for the shooting day.

8. say "no" to good suggestions from crew that will take too much time.

 

You can't control how much time a director will spend working with actors.

You can't control the parking of the equipment trucks.

You can try, but you can't control if art department will have the set ready in time.

You can't control actors showing up on time and preparing makeup/wardrobe on time.

You can't control having the director show up at call time.

You can't control the availability of key actors and locations for most efficient shooting.

You can't control the weather.

You can't control having a good producer who will control all the things you can't control :)

 

Everyone is welcome to add to this list too!

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8. say "no" to good suggestions from crew that will take too much time.

This is easily the most important in my experience. Or just making sure crew isn't exerting energy into things that don't immediately get the shoot done.

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You can't control having the director show up at call time.

 

 

Yeah exactly, I'll show up when I feel like it, you and your guys can wait Bruce. :rolleyes:

 

R,

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Yeah exactly, I'll show up when I feel like it, you and your guys can wait Bruce. :rolleyes:

 

R,

We will not be waiting, but we might be setting up the wrong shot:)

 

Merry Christmas and happy new year Richard!!!!

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We will not be waiting, but we might be setting up the wrong shot:)

 

Merry Christmas and happy new year Richard!!!!

 

I discuss the first set up of the next day with the DOP & First AD, before we leave for the night. It's their job to then have everything set up and ready for shot one in the am, they can get up at 5am and arrive bright and early. I will arrive once a lens is up and the actors are almost done processing. I do this to maximize my own sleep, and the fact that there is nothing for me to do while trucks are being unloaded, and gear set up. Plus it's flipping freezing in the early am before the sun comes up, even in Africa!! They are also not reliant on me to arrive so they can start work, and no time is lost at the start of the day.

 

During the day I am probably the most conscious on set re:time, as I am also the producer. Working with kids and animals, automatically restricts the number of takes, animals have 1-3 good takes in them, max. And the kids are on restricted work hours. On my last shoot, the crew only had one 12 hour day the entire 5 weeks of shooting, the rest were all 9-10 hour days. Everyone was very happy, as we paid them all for a flat 12 hours, yet they only had one 12 hour day.

 

R,

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I discuss the first set up of the next day with the DOP & First AD, before we leave for the night. It's their job to then have everything set up and ready for shot one in the am, they can get up at 5am and arrive bright and early. I will arrive once a lens is up and the actors are almost done processing. I do this to maximize my own sleep, and the fact that there is nothing for me to do while trucks are being unloaded, and gear set up. Plus it's flipping freezing in the early am before the sun comes up, even in Africa!! They are also not reliant on me to arrive so they can start work, and no time is lost at the start of the day.

 

During the day I am probably the most conscious on set re:time, as I am also the producer. Working with kids and animals, automatically restricts the number of takes, animals have 1-3 good takes in them, max. And the kids are on restricted work hours. On my last shoot, the crew only had one 12 hour day the entire 5 weeks of shooting, the rest were all 9-10 hour days. Everyone was very happy, as we paid them all for a flat 12 hours, yet they only had one 12 hour day.

 

R,

This can work, depending on the style of production. Some projects absolutely benefit from "1st team rehearsal" first thing in the morning.

 

When I've worked on network TV series, where time is very limited, the director and actors are on the set, ready for rehearsal, right at the call time. There are "pre-calls" for trucks and camera assistants to prepare earlier.

The director works the scene, marks are placed for actors and camera, the talent goes to get ready, and the lights and camera moves are finalized using lighting stand-ins.

 

It is kind of hard to block a scene in advance when tomorrow's location is new, and the actors have never seen it, or worked with it.

 

The best part of working this way is that when the actors are ready and come to set, we are ready to shoot. Otherwise, delays will happen when the blocking does not work out to the way it was imagined. We are always doing our best not to interrupt the concentration of actors with technical delays. If we have done our job well, we will be prepared for quick lighting changes for the coverage and reverse angles.

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On a lot of the bigger films I write about, the 'leapfrog' approach seems prevalent, so you've got one of the operators and and AC setting up the next shot while the first one is getting worked on.

 

Also, having 2nd unit working adjacent to the main unit, so it can pick up stuff that would otherwise put production behind schedule, though I realize most shows can't afford a second unit at all, let alone running one alongside the main shoot.

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Bruce hit the nail on the head.

 

I do think the other thing that helps a lot is leap frogging setups. So many people forget about that, but I always bring on a few extra people in the gaffing, grip and camera department so after the first setup is up, we can go explore the second setup and get things prepped during the first setup shoot. Then all ya gotta do is leap frog from setup to setup. I've done this with setups in the same facility and in different facilities and it works well. When ya gotta do 3 - 5 company moves a day, this sorta technique works so well and it helps move the production along so all you're really doing is waiting for the cast and crew, rather then the setup time.

 

Obviously when you're shooting outside or with minimal light, this isn't as big of a concern.

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  • 2 weeks later...

this is all great insight folks. thank you for that. Leapfrogging is great advice, which I've already implemented on this new years sets. So is understanding what I can't actually control. The one thing I don't often have the luxury of though is extra crew. Typically I'm using 1 AC and gaff+grip. so everything takes time. Gotta start pushing for more.

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