This is some general info on what to collect from the set.
Some of my information will be specific to companies I work for and as such I obviously can’t publish it here. These are just some general guidelines.
Confirm camera specs with the 1st AC or DOP before the shoot.
- – Camera type
- – Framerate
- – Sensor crop
- – Lens kit, adapters, etc.
- – Any motion control/repeatable move requirements
Confirm with the DIT how to receive footage back, how many hard drives will be supplied and who is carrying the data. Generally:
- – Online:
- – RAW .ari files (or similar Red Raw/Canon Raw, etc.) at full resolution
- – Offline:
- – Prores 422 at HD or at sensor crop equivalent
All footage needs a timecode (not burnt into image) and, if necessary synced audio for the offline and separate master audio for the online.
Consider how to share data if shooting remotely and passing back offlines to the studio ahead of a hard drive.
Supply the 1ST AC or DOP with lens grids. Hopefully they will be able to shoot them on the camera test day. If not, you will have to schedule time to shoot them with the 1st AD on the shoot days. This will probably end up being a lunch time or at the end of an already busy day. It’s not trivial though and they are necessary.
I have a VFX doc that should be filled in for every shot. It contains standard info like lens data, set measurements for tracking, camera move notes, colour space, camera position, lighting diagrams, etc.
I use Shotgun to hold all the data, a pre defined folder structure for the shoot data and a doc for the DIT to fill in.
Data to grab in VFX doc:
Shot Name / Slate name / Roll and Take number
Camera data – camera type, lens, lens type, colour space recorded and presented to the monitor, filters etc
Camera move / position info – measurements plus a drawing if necc
Rough lighting diagram – These are quite useful as just a quick visual guide for lighters to have as ref. The don’t have to be super detailed but I tend to do a side on and a top down one that just gives the basics – light position, type, gels, diffusers, distances and a rough idea of angle.
White balance of the camera
Any additional passes or notes
Data to grab in camera:
Macbeth chart – we use this to balance/normalise the colours in the plate
Black point measure
A shadow plate (if there is a contact point – hold up a flag across the shadowed area creating a shadow on the floor)
Data to grab on a stills camera:
Put a Macbeth chart in it somewhere. It helps with the plate neutral workflow.
Set the White balance of the camera to the white balance of the shooting camera.
I normally do 9 exposures and 6 directions…
Camera position and any other relevant objects
Lidar scans/Photogrammetry of set – Take lots of stills of what the camera is seeing from all sorts of different angles. We don’t tend to need the camera or the tripod in them but a few wider ones are fine. If there is an object in the frame that is useful for tracking make sure to photograph it from multiple angles.
Reference photos of everything
There might be some puppeteering, tracking markers, etc. – This is where you have to evaluate each shot as it comes along.
Try thinking from back to front how a shot might be constructed in Nuke or what info you would need if you were constructing it in 3D.
It sometimes becomes a bit of a balance between how much time you have and what you need. It’s important to get all the info you need but without delaying the shoot. Get in there and get stuck in, take whatever time you need and whatever time you can but sometimes they will just have to shoot!