Key and Peele Shot with a Limited Crew Camera Package

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Sun, 10/14/2012 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

Comedy Central’s sketch comedy Key and Peele might be shot with a limited crew camera and gear package on a mandated short shooting schedule but that doesn’t bother cinematographer Charles Papert. “Achieving a high-end look simply requires a lot of creative corner-cutting and strong support ” he says. For the series which involves live comedy performances the producers wanted highly polished production value. No two sketches look alike and all are shot on location or on standing sets. “We went with Sony F3s Alura zooms and a set of Superspeeds ” he explains. Papert insisted the support had to be from OConnor. “The 2575 is the industry standard and represents zero compromise on set ” he says. “I started out as a shooter at a small production company with an OConnor 100 then purchased 2575s in the 90s then a 1030 later. They are extremely reliable. I’ve always appreciated how ‘invisibly’ OConnors perform. “Although as a DP I’m no longer particularly hands-on with the camera ” he explains. “I want to ensure that my operators have the right tools to be able to perform shots without compromise so OConnor is the head of choice. Non-negotiable. Every one of my operators has a different preference on how much drag they like and the continuous adjustment of pan and tilt makes dialing in the perfect setting easy. In addition the ability to tilt the camera 90 degrees up and down is often a requirement for specialty shots.” Papert and crew really test the OConnor capabilities on Key and Peele. “On our show we have a number of situations that require a manual jib and sometimes it puts my operators into the unenviable position of having to maneuver around the arm for fairly complex moves including back panning and tilting. With that kind of challenge it’s absolutely critical to be able to dial in exactly the amount of drag that will allow for smooth camera moves while not restricting the swing of the arm ” he says. “On one concert sequence A-Camera Operator Denis Moran did an amazing job clambering around a multi-level set of risers operating the jib smoothly then letting it soar up and over his head. Back at the monitors I never saw the transition point or ‘clunk’ as he took or relinquished control of the camera – to his and of course the OConnor head’s credit.” Photo: DP Charles Papert operator Denis Moran first assistant camera Robert Schierer