Making the Switch to Multi-Camera Shooting

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Tue, 10/30/2012 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

Disney’s Pair of Kings is an unusual multi-camera series to say the least. It is filled with incredible battles and amazing stunts as well as special effects and “lots of really funny stuff ” said director of photography Johnny Simmons ASC. “We shoot both four-camera and single camera style; maintaining the use of all four cameras shooting coverage inside the proscenium. “On the multi-camera shows that I’ve been shooting Vinten has pretty much been the standard ” he said. “Coming from single camera I wasn’t that familiar with what sitcom camera operators wanted to use. I asked for advice from seasoned operators and cinematographers and the answer was always – Vinten.” “On this show my camera operators are faced with fast moving scenes with quick camera moves that test their skills on a continuous basis ” he said. “They need quality support to make those moves and that’s what we get thanks to our Vinten pedestals and Vinten heads paired with our Sony 1500 cameras. “On some episodes we make use of a system called Lightcraft ” Simmons said. “It is a real time virtual compositing system. We shoot on green screen and the virtual environment is being recorded in real time. The environment might be a mountain range an ancient temple or a sandy beach. The operators are looking at the composite on their monitors as we shoot the actors doing stunts flying through the air or fighting some strange beast that isn’t there. It makes for a long day all on green screen.” “It’s another situation that relies on the reliability of our Vintens to perform ” he said. “The camera moves are precise. A pan and tilt needs to stop and start when it’s supposed to in this virtual world. It’s always very well planned in advance of shooting. When the operators show up it’s all been discussed but they are seeing it for the first time and have to perform as if they’ve been a part of the prep. Thanks to their excellent skills and good equipment like Vinten they get it done and done well.” When Simmons wraps this season of Kings he will move to a new Disney show A Dog With A Blog and will pick up Turner Broadcasting’s Men At Work. Simmons will go back to Kings for the next season. Simmons said “It goes without saying on all my shows Vinten heads and peds are there.”