I presented this proposal to the Dean of the film school after she asked me the question, "What do you do on the 2nd Unit?" Many people don't realize what might fall under the realm of the modern day 2nd Unit.
a proposal for a new subject of study-
ADVANCED CINEMATOGRAPHY - the world of the Second Unit DP.
A survey course that examines the history, tools and techniques of an essential part of filmmaking - the Second Unit.
-History - the films, that invented the second unit and why. (westerns and combat films)
-Prep - Storyboards, Scouting, Tests and Rehearsals.
-Stunt Photography - and the special demands on the camera operator.
-Vehicle Chases: Trucks, Cars and Stagecoaches. Fast and Furious! How to break down a complicated chase and then shoot it safely.
-Aerial Photography - Remote Control aircraft, Jet and Helicopter Platforms.
-Underwater Photography - a totally different set to shoot in!
-Miniature and High speed Photography.
-Fire and Pyrotechnics. Exposing for color and detail.
-Animals: domestic and exotic species. Rules for getting the most out of filming our animal actor friends.
-Supporting the Visual FX department. Sometimes we are asked to support a Visual FX unit. Discuss the basics of Plate photography. Motion Control, Blue/Green screen work and CGI support.
-Beauty and Establishing shots - Shooting sunrises, sunsets and all things lunar.
-Interfacing with the First Unit. Always remember, we're shooting THEIR movie.
-Special Rigging and Equipment. From harnesses to cranes and camera cars. We use it all and have invented most of it.
The plan is to shoot and edit a small stunt scene (car chase) with models. Here we will mimic crane shots, car mounts and car to car photography on a small scale of course!
Mark Vargo, ascReturn to Musings