In October, I got to DOP a MOW for U.S. cable oulet, Lifetime Television in Calgary. The city was chosen to mimic Oklahoma City and set the stage for the true life story about a woman who survived the bombing in 199?. The location seemed right but the time frame was a hassle - how to shoot an April story with fall leaves and snowflurries blowing about! Lots of low angles and interiors!

The show's director John Korty (Miss Joan Pittman?) wanted a DOP / operator with hand held documentary and drama experience - Hey, for once my "Master of all trades, Jack of none" experience came in handy. He also favored the Aaton camera and required Super 16 so my equipment package also fitted the picture.

It was great to get back on a decent drama shoot again - all those crew members, semi trailers of gear, and my own director's chair! We shot the whole show on Kodak's 7279 500 ASA tungsten stock. I helped Kodak shoot tests on the new Vision line in early 1996 and discovered a great improvement in grain and sharpness. But to see the dailies come in was really revealing - so much latitude and flexibility. I'm don't see how anyone can say video has a visual edge on film. As far a grain content, I guess if you cut 7279 together with 7245's 50 ASA, you might notice a difference, but when I looked at the 79 dailies, grain was not an issue.

This is the set constructed for the Oklahoma City shoot - a small portion of the bombed rubble made up of foam concrete and miscellaneous construction materials. The actress, Kathy Baker (Picket Fences) was lifted up beneath the set on a scissors lift to give the impression she was pinned under a concrete pillar.

We were shooting Super 16 to future proof for HDTV, so I had to be versatile with my framing. We kept all significant action in safe 3:4 TV but kept the full Super 16 frame clear of mikes, flags, etc. When shooting Super 16, there are a lot of framing considerations which effect your choice of ground glass. If you're shooting for 35mm blow up, you're never going to get the full 1.66 Super 16 frame shown at most theatres. All theatrical releases in North America operate in standard 1.85, so you should frame accordingly - also optical blow-up operators tend to build in some cutoff to avoid edges showing, so be sure to test and monitor frame size to keep cutoff to a minimum. And if you're shooting Super 16 for HDTV, the format used will be 16:9 or 1.78, which cuts top and bottom from Super 16's 1.66. And there will be additional TV cutoff, similar to the TV safe frame we have now with 3:4. I was lucky with a Yukon tourism shoot - the production is dedicated to one theater location, so I will supply a frame chart to set up the video projector and be guaranteed the maximum Super 16 frame size.

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