David Zanit writes a nice piece in StudentFilmmakers Magazine which brings out points that one doesn’t think of until they need to be handled.
“…I wanted the shot to start calm, and then, with no warning turn chaotic. The point was to illustrate how our characters had to live in a constant state of unease never knowing when the next attack would be. I suggested we try to cover the scene in one moving take. The shot started handheld high up on a crane looking down into the camp. After a moment, the explosions started. As the explosions moved through the camp, the crane lowered, and the camera stepped off the crane and moved quickly forward through the camp.
To achieve this, the grip department had to get a special “walk around” platform for our crane. I stood on the platform wearing a safety harness that was attached to the crane. Another grip went up in the crane with me to help safety me and help with the camera before we started rolling. When the crane lowered to the ground, several grips had to step onto the crane to make up for the lost counterweight when I stepped off (to make sure the crane arm did not shoot back up into the air). They also had to unfasten me from the crane. All of this had to happen very fast; it was absolutely crucial that I did not step off early.
Standing on the crane with a mask to protect me from the dust. Once off the crane, I still had to run forward into the camp with our very skilled pyro technicians making sure I was always safe from the explosions. My team did a great job pulling off this very difficult shot.
Read the entire piece at:
Lighting Period War Film, Shades of Hope | Separating Worlds through Color