Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

walking backwards

Whenever you watch a TV show or a movie and there are two or more people walking with the camera in front of them moving backwards, that’s called a ‘walk and talk’. Most walk and talks are lit with a light (usually one of those round paper Chinese lanterns) that’s affixed to a long pole, and with an extension cord running back away from the actors. There are some lights that can be run off a battery pack, but tungsten chinese lanterns (which use standard household bulbs) aren’t one of them. So, to power the lamp that’s lighting the actors for the walk and talk, a stinger must be run to a nearby (how nearby depends on how far the actors are walking and talking) – not towards the actors, but backwards. When the actors walk, one person holds the light over the camera (but stays behind and out-of-the-way – hence the long pole), and at least one other person runs behind keeping the cable out from under the first person’s feet and out of the shot. On really long walk and talks, it’s not uncommon to need several cable wranglers and 200 feet of stinger.

Yesterday’s wasn’t too bad at all – only 50 feet of cable, and two of us handled it (although the sound guy did help as I wasn’t able to keep the cable off the ground behind me, which made noise). The only problem is the one that always happens – people don’t realize what we’re doing and stand behind us (or worse, set up chairs). When I’m walking backwards frantically coiling cable as fast as I can and trying to keep an eye on my co-worker for speed changes or turns, a chair or a body is potentially a problem. More than once I’ve crashed into someone or fallen over a chair that got set up behind me while I wasn’t looking. Luckily, that didn’t happen yesterday. One of the makeup ladies didn’t realize what we were doing and set her chair in the pathway, but moved right away once she figured out what was going on.

We ended up having a13.5 hour day, which is good since unless I can scare up another day, it’ll be all I’ll get this week.

Today the weather was so gorgeous that I ended up riding about 30 miles on the bike, which isn’t normally a lot for me, but since it’s the first long ride I’ve done since May, I’m completely wiped out. In a good way.

Filed under: Work

3 Responses

  1. Marci says:

    how’s your footy holding out?

    Peggy sez: Still hurts. Thanks for asking.

  2. “The only problem is the one that always happens – people don’t realize what we’re doing and stand behind us (or worse, set up chairs)”

    Reminds me of driving. I’m at work (driving) and sometimes it feels like people are just out for a ride, gettin in the way and stuff.

    P.S. Where is that big big big chair at? On your flickr account?

    Peggy sez: Downtown in the LA Mart parking lot.

    If the link’s not working, it’s between Hill and Broadway, just south of Washington Bl.

  3. k4kafka says:

    In my experience, hair/make-up & wardrobe are oblivious of every other departments needs but their own little clique.

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