Some Paperwork Matters

If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted in a bit, it’s because I’ve been spending may days buried in binders. Which is unfortunate, because some cool things have happened. (More on that in a minute.)

Mostly it feels like picking up diamonds on a deserted island, saving them in case we get rescued. The majority of this stuff will never get used, and if it does, it’s because something went wrong. (Like, say, if someone filled out their deal memo incorrectly.)

One exception is the camera log. Not to be confused with the camera report, which is attached to each roll (or hard drive), and is generally1 less detailed. The camera log includes just about every detail you can imagine: the focal length; the distance to the subject; the T-stop; the height of the camera; the angle of the camera; and a whole bunch of technical mumbo-jumbo I can’t remember right now.

Basically, it’s everything you’d need to know if you wanted to reproduce that shot. “But TAPA,” you say, “That’s only something you need to if something goes wrong.”

Not true, says I! Because you’ll also need to reproduce the shot in the computer, if it’s an effects shot. The virtual camera needs to have the same lens length so it creates the same distortion; it needs the right T-stop so the depth of field matches; it needs the right angle so it looks like the foreground and the background were filmed at the same time.

That last one is a big one, I think; when you see a green screen shot that doesn’t look quite right, but you’re not sure why, the camera angle is the reason at least half the time.

What I’m getting at is, not all paperwork is worthless tree killing.

* * *

And further good news: the Kickstarter campaign for Crew Call has been successful!

That doesn’t mean it’s over, though. If you want the T-shirt, bumper sticker, or any other awesome swag, you’re still going to have to contribute.

Plus, I’m thinking of making a stretch goal. Currently, the podcast is audio-only, but with a little extra push, I could add a video component. I’m thinking tutorials for the uninitiated. Would you be interested in that?

* * *

Lastly, don’t forget about the assistant networking event in Santa Monica, next Tuesday. Lots of people have already RSVPed, but the more the merrier, you know? It’s going to be at the Bodega Wine Bar on Broadway.

We’re starting at 7:00pm, and going until we can’t stand up anymore!

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. Although Evan’s camera reports on The Black and Blue are pretty in-depth, I’ve never seen that much detail on any series I’ve worked on.
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2 Responses

  1. Huge fan of your blog, as an assistant and former PA on features, was wondering if you’ll ever do a post of what it’s like in the features world. Features and television are different from what I’ve heard in terms of distro, daily routines and the like. I figured with as many readers as you have, it’d be cool to get the perspective of a PA on a feature.

  2. I would be all over helping make a tutorial on digitally pulling sides. I’m on the rare Set PA job now, and our office is doing the sides by hand and scanning them in. The file size is like 5mb and the resolution is iffy. I don’t know how many people are still working this way, but they obviously don’t realize that their Macs have all the functions in Preview to make PRISTINE sides digitally. And if you know the tricks, you can pull them in under 10 minutes. And… Impress the heck out of your POC, most importantly!

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