How have you managed to communicate with your operator regarding movements, marks, beginning and end? I always end up sorprendiendome and doing things that were not in rehearsal.
Well. No matter what you do or say or even communicate to your best, the operator will have to follow the actor. If the Actor does something that he didn't do in the rehearsal, the operator will do follow accordingly.
Sometimes, the operator will frame a shot that was not talked before that he may like and thought that it will fit the story.
The more you know the operator, the more you will get used to his behaviours and unrehearsed moves.
As of me, right now I’m working on a tv show and my camera is on stedicam 90%, rehearsals are a rare thing and my operator is a person that you would define creative. My two cents are to have a good rangefinder, try to learn distances for any given lens and any given shot. For instance that with a 35mm, if a person is in medium shot is probably 1.5/.17 meters away (its a wild guess, don’t take me literally). And then, try to learn the “ticks” of the operator so you can anticipate them. Aside of that a whole lot of patience!
With handheld I try to see what the operator is trying to frame and what story he is trying to tell. It's always possible that the operators chooses something else during the take. Try to figure out what he want's and when he or she is not sure, try to find out the possibilities during rehearsals if possible. When on dolly or crane I talk with the dolly-grip or crane operator what movement they are willing to do. Just try and be prepared for every kind of situation! All the best
I'm as aware and present as I can be when the DP or op is setting up the shot and working through rehearsals (if we have time for such things, lol). Sometimes there is so much going on that I dont get to really have much of a conversation with the op, so I benefit greatly from just listening to the op's chatter with the talent or director and trying to decode what might happen with the action or blocking. A good 1st will know when its appropriate to talk and when its not, and I do my best to not interrupt unless its absolutely necessary. however, if I feel I need some info for myself because it might be the difference between a good take and a buzzed take, etc. then I will ask. Know your DP/op, and you will figure out how they function, what their tendencies are, and ask lots of questions when you can so that you can reduce getting into a bind if things get wild.
Well back in the day... :) Honestly, these days I don't find focus pullers communicating at all with operators - I mean we'll talk between shots regarding where they end up, what focus they want, and we'll talk right after the rehearsal, but in term of talking during the take, usually not. The only exception here is with some of my Steadicam operator friends or remote head work - we'll rent a set of HMEs or EarTecs, which are basically dedicated walkie talkies that are always on and allow crosstalk, so we can call out marks, narrate our movements, get communication from the DP, etc, etc... Some operators and focus pullers find them distracting, but I find them great for run'n'gun type commercial work when on a gimbal or Steadicam because no shot is ever the same twice (unfortunately).
For specific marks on difficult scenes, its not uncommon for a 2nd AC to call the marks out over the walkie channel, including how far off the marks the talent is - I only find this useful when on a dolly or sticks, handheld and Steadicam are usually a "fuck the marks" situation.