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5 minutes ago, Phil Rhodes said:

I don't know if this stuff is taught in acting school.

I think it varies. Old school screen actors came from a stage tradition where hitting your marks was part of the trade. These days, I think many acting schools emphasize emotional reality and improvisational skills over technical competence.

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13 hours ago, Gregory Irwin said:

If you ever meet a focus puller who says he/she never has a soft shot, I will tell you right now that they are not being truthful or they haven’t done it for very long. 

Yep and that includes digital cinema, where the operator and crew know right away if it's sharp or not. 

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Posted (edited)
On 8/22/2020 at 8:22 AM, Gregory Irwin said:

 It used to be that actors would be held accountable for their part in hitting their marks and finding their light. They would also have the awareness to find the lens every time and understand frame size. Those days are over. Now we have to pander to their whim of where and when they move, try to unbury them from behind another actor who has also missed his/her mark. A lot of my success is knowing when and how the camera will move to compensate. 

I don't like it, but I get it.  Film language changes from decade to decade.  It just feels a little like, for the sake of art, redesigning a house right when construction is starting.  Is the juice worth the squeeze?  I don't know.

Edited by Justin Hayward
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I just saw a brief clip of this focus puller rockin’ it on Instagram. This is just a snapshot but he’s moving around...really into it. 
 

what I noticed is that he’s not even looking at the tool (sorry, I’m not sure what the proper name for it is). I’ve only seen pictures of them, but from what I understand they have various distance marks and whatnot? He’s just whipping that thing back and forth, watching the monitor (and dancing along apparently). I think it was a music video. 
 

 

FC794D25-A0E4-473C-87C8-45CC435B5E62.jpeg

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You can only look in one place at a time. So it’s either at the action, the lens, the hand unit, or the monitor. Usually, whether you are using a wireless hand unit or a manual focus wheel, you rarely need more than peripheral vision for a peek at the distance scale anyway. Your muscle memory will recall where your marks are, it’s more important to keep your attention on what the actors are doing and anticipate their actions.

In the old days when the 1st AC usually stood next to the camera and pulled focus manually, the common method was to position yourself slightly behind the lens so you could see the action (and your floor marks) and the lens focus scale without moving your head and flick your attention back and forth as needed.

Nowadays, it’s more usual for the 1st AC to be further back from the action and pull focus wirelessly with a hand unit while looking at a monitor. Of course, since the monitor is also usually wireless, you can position yourself where you can still keep an eye on the action as well. But sometimes on multi-camera shoots with long static setups, I’ve seen the 1st ACs all line up next to each other in a row to simplify the cable runs to the DIT cart, and pull strictly off of their monitors. 

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Gregory Irwin said:

Way too much information.  Keep it simple and just pull focus.

G

We used to use these in the UK in the 80,s .. had to look it up.. quite nostalgic to seen again .. I remember on very easy shots .. whipping this out and looking all intense as if I was doing something really difficult before the shot ..  trying to impress makeup mostly .. ..  never worked of course ..

images.jpeg

samcine_480x480.jpg

Edited by Robin R Probyn
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I keep it even simpler. I say "Hello, person who is not me whose job it is to make the shot not be out of focus. Please make the shot be in focus."

Yes.

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16 hours ago, Robino Jones said:

Cued a video about Kubrick's solution to pulling focus with the F0.7 lens in Barry Lyndon.

 

Many years ago, I worked as a trainee for Doug’s son Mark. He used this exact system on a number of difficult shots.

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1 hour ago, Robin R Probyn said:

We used to use these in the UK in the 80,s .. had to look it up.. quite nostalgic to seen again .. I remember on very easy shots .. whipping this out and looking all intense as if I was doing something really difficult before the shot ..  trying to impress makeup mostly .. ..  never worked of course ..

images.jpeg

Ah yes, reminds me of this aperture calculator I used to use back in the 20s, before lightmeters were invented 🙃

1258589378_PathePosographcopy.thumb.jpg.80f295730c20ef5c07119cad364b84f0.jpg

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24 minutes ago, Dom Jaeger said:

Ah yes, reminds me of this aperture calculator I used to use back in the 20s, before lightmeters were invented 🙃

1258589378_PathePosographcopy.thumb.jpg.80f295730c20ef5c07119cad364b84f0.jpg

haha ! .. no really we used this DoF calculators .. it was the standard bit of gear .. that and this fancy leather tape measures .. with the brass winder .. I still have mine .. !   you could write on the leather with your china pencil..  and the little colored tape triangles on the white plastic removable discs.. heady days indeed ! ..  

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2 hours ago, Stuart Brereton said:

Many years ago, I worked as a trainee for Doug’s son Mark. He used this exact system on a number of difficult shots.

Sadly departed .. but thats another story ..

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1 hour ago, Robin R Probyn said:

fancy leather tape measures .. with the brass winder .. I still have mine ..

The famous Rabone Chesterman tape measure... I still have mine too.

 

1 hour ago, Robin R Probyn said:

Sadly departed .. but thats another story ..

Yes, very sad, and a terrible accident.

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4 hours ago, Robin R Probyn said:

We used to use these in the UK in the 80,s .. had to look it up.. quite nostalgic to seen again .. I remember on very easy shots .. whipping this out and looking all intense as if I was doing something really difficult before the shot ..  trying to impress makeup mostly .. ..  never worked of course ..

images.jpeg

samcine_480x480.jpg

Ha! I still have mine too! 
G

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The Samcine DoF Calculator! They were quite expensive back in the day. I bought a used Mk3 off another AC on this site around 15 years ago. It had a compass in the middle that unscrewed to unlock the vertical slide. One time it came off and the slide lost its calibration, making it a bit useless. Luckily, pCAM soon after became available for the iPhone...

Bright Tangerine made a Rabone replica that was nice. Don’t know if they still make it. 

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8 hours ago, Gregory Irwin said:

Remember the Kelly Wheel? Not as accurate as the Samcine.

 

801BA038-42D7-440C-AFF1-4635F3BB1FD1.jpeg

Never got to use one. I didn’t like that you had to buy a separate version for 16mm and 35mm, so I held out for the Samcine. Was there a way to choose a circle of confusion? 

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21 hours ago, Robin R Probyn said:

Yours truly, back in the day, with a young Barry Ackroyd BSC in the Sahara desert .. sometime in the 80,s !!

92963506_10222770601237295_154145422770700288_n.jpg

Crikey, I interviewed Barry a while back. Wish I'd had this to show!

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55 minutes ago, Phil Rhodes said:

Crikey, I interviewed Barry a while back. Wish I'd had this to show!

Oh shame , you could mentioned my name ..  we have a few good stories ..  he married  my then girlfriends sister ..  went all over the world together for about 7 years .. and worked with the beloved Ken .. 

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13 hours ago, Satsuki Murashige said:

Never got to use one. I didn’t like that you had to buy a separate version for 16mm and 35mm, so I held out for the Samcine. Was there a way to choose a circle of confusion? 

No way to choose COC. That’s why it was inaccurate. 

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Greg, what do you think of the 1/1000th of an inch CoC figure used for 35mm cine format? Seems a bit random in today’s world of different sensors, different presentation systems, different viewing sizes, etc.

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