I was really intrigued by our workshop today. It was hosted by Chris Scarafile, who has worked on Boardwalk Empire and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, among many others. Chris was extremely knowledgeable and provided us with real, applicable knowledge of production that you really can't get from reading a textbook. He was also very understanding of our student status, and made his talks relatable. During the actual production part of the workshop he was very intense and fast-paced, but I think that is justified simply because the entertainment industry time-driven and stressfulI, there is no time to waste. I was only able to stay for part of the workshop, but I know I learned some valuable insight when I was there.
I will be the first to admit that I don't have a ton of on set experience, so workshops like this hosted by a professional in the field are extremely valuable to me. Chris went over the basic steps of setting up a shot, but more importantly I think he put it in perspective of the entire production, describing when we would be using stand-ins, what departments would be involved, who's responsibility each job was, etc.
Before we even began the lighting/camera demo, Chris talked to us about each major position on set, conveniently answering questions I had about the duties of the AD from my previous post. We talked about the Director, DP, and Production Design as three main camps on set, and Chris went into each of the subordinate positions in these various departments and the duties that each performs on a daily basis. He gave really helpful 'pro-tips' like considering acting in projects if you want to direct, or working as a dolly grip to get closer to the camera position.
One interesting side note that I took away from this workshop was when Chris mentioned his on-set experience for the show Blacklist. He stressed to us the important of working with what you have (or don't have). As an example He mentioned that the show was extremely stressful to shoot, because they used three cameras at all times and had a very tight schedule. That is insane. I can't imagine the internal chaos the camera department (and continuity) experience each day on set. Since all three cameras were always rolling, Chris told us that they used a slight low angle to avoid getting the other camera operators in the shot. This results in what Chris called the "looking up the nose" shot that is utilized so much by the show. I thought this was really cool and practical, but probably a little terrifying to actually utilize on set.
As you can see above, its nothing dramatic, and if it wasn't pointed out you probably wouldn't even notice it. Just another trick of the trade I suppose.