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Kelly Lee Steen
On 4/12/19, 7:49 AM

For me the key was to learn how to communicate better.

Taking responsibility of the focus was telling my colleagues what I needed.

And maybe educate them in a way. 

If they can not meet my request they would be a part of the decisions instead of my vs them. 

What I really like to do is ask the 2nd AC to help me count.

I place marks on set with a number and the 2nd AC calls the number when the actor stands on it.

I then only have to look at the remote and that helps me to be on que better.  

This is a very old trick but it works really well. 

In my horror story; the key grip saved my ass by being very precise every take and taking the time to rehearse every free minute. Nailing a perfect shot is a group effort, also the focus.

So my tip; keep the responsibility but include your team! 

Branislav Ciric
On 3/22/19, 1:24 AM

My opinion is that smallest mistake 1st AC can make is to be out of focus during the take. If lens is dirty, or you did not use filter DoP told you to put in, or you miss color balance... that is big mistake. Pulling focus is just one part of 1stAC responsibilities.

I always try to make my own marks and try to predict  what can happen during the shot.

My advice is: put manual follow focus, stay close to the lens and use your own marks

Everyone on set should know if there is no rehearsal, you can't expect perfect shot, because rehersal is not only for 1st AC. So there is no reason to feel bad if take is soft if you did your best. If you have to explain why take is soft - than you are on the wrong set.

On 3/3/19, 11:51 AM

This is a good description of my everyday life.

Sweaty hands and my glasses starting to hurt on my head of all the pressure.

so, there is no worst story,

Just an advice, teach your fresh DP how it works and what you need to be the best you can be. Because in the end, thats what he will remember.

And if it does get soft, well....its not the end of the world. Just smile and wave, and do it again.



| 4 4 6
Madrid , Spain

Started out as a focus puller 8 years ago, I shot movies and commercials in Italy, Spain, Turkey, Uk, Bulgaria, Morocco and USA. Love everything camera related, gear porn and sharp lenses. Sharpness is not debatable.

On 3/24/19, 6:16 PM

Yeah, we've been definitely all there. Want to ear a very scary story? Here's mine. I was shooting an horror feature, of course it was night and I would say it was the 10 or 11th hour of our day. The shot was the following: the main character would wake up from a very bad nightmare and suddenly he would seat on his bed. In the moment he reached a straight position the camera would push in to a very tight close up. 50mm master prime wide open (of course), from 1.5m to 80cm, the actor would "land" on a different spot every take and the DoP wanted the push in sharp during the whole time. I told him I would try my best, and that I would need quite a few rehearsals with the grip and the actor. After 10/15 minutes of rehearsal I thought I had it so I said we were ready. Even so, it took me like 8 takes to nail it, and it was damn luck in the end. We were preparing the next shot when the 1st AD comes to me and says "the FX guys forgot to activate the rain effect on the windows, we must repeat the shot". Thank god there were no assault weapon on set. And the second time it took me just 6 takes, but again, I know I was just lucky.

To make the long story short, sometimes we are going to find ourself in situations very close to the impossible. Sometime we get lucky, sometime we don't. And when you don't it leaves a bad taste in your mouth but in my opinion is also something that is part of our job.

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Asked: 3/2/19, 9:33 AM
Seen: 574 times
Last updated: 4/26/19, 12:47 PM