View Full Version : Why multiple takes?

02-06-2005, 05:34 AM
I think I'm finally hitting that wondrous childhood age when we ask "why is the sky blue?" and "what makes the sky cry?" but here's the thing...I've been on a couple shoots as an observer and worked on one real one. Why does the director and/or DP say "that was perfect! Ok, lets get one more" and the set up doesnt change at all. I try to stand as close as possible to the monitor and I dont see where anlge or much of anything else changes. Is there a reason to want more than one good shot, all else being equal?

Thanks guys. And why cant we see air?

02-06-2005, 06:29 AM
No two takes with actors are ever going to be exactly the same. *It could be a subtle nuance of a performance, a slight change in blocking that makes for a better cut, or a problem that everyone missed. *It's also cheap insurance. *What if there's a tape dropout, or a boom in the shot, or some other technical issue? *A second good take gives you options in post-production to shape the production or deal with problems.

Erik Olson
02-06-2005, 06:46 AM
It can be something as subtle as an actor coming slightly off their eyeline. Mumbling, smirking, unwritten beats and glistening cheeks or foreheads also contribute to additional takes.

It is a rare hair in the gate that causes another take - I usually blame the talent!


02-06-2005, 09:44 AM
I usually blame the talent!

I ALWAYS blame the talent.

02-06-2005, 11:36 AM
A second good take is always a good idea, for a number of reasons. First, as Barry_S mentioned, protection against dropouts, etc.

Second, there are frequently times where something is horribly wrong with a shot, and NOBODY NOTICES. We just shot a sticom pilot where some idiot (okay, me) moved a lamp so the bulb would be less visible, and the lamp had a hanging-down chain that you use to turn it on and off. So after moving the lamp, the chain was swinging. We did a whole close-up shot and nobody noticed that the stupid chain was swinging back and forth through the whole shot! Everyone was so riveted by the performance that we didn't notice it "live". We only caught it on playback. If we hadn't done a second take we would have been kind of hosed.

But the main reason I like to get a second take is, as soon as you have one "perfect" take in the can, then all the pressure's off. Frequently you'll find that the next take can go to a whole new level, because the actors know that they've already got one in the can, so they're free to open up, or try something slightly different, but they're more relaxed, more confident, less nervous about getting it "right"... so sometimes you get something better than you were expecting.

The main reason to do it is for security, though. We always try to have at least two "perfect" takes, 'cause you never know...

02-06-2005, 01:11 PM
Thanks. I might be close to the learning to walk stage. :D

02-06-2005, 01:26 PM
sometimes I'll tell all that the take was perfect just to not make anybody 'the victim' when in fact something was far less than perfect. Saves from embarassing someone needlessly. I'll even get a thank you look from the offender

02-06-2005, 04:15 PM
its always good to have backups just in case...

02-07-2005, 11:28 AM
if you are in set, you moved all the production mechanisms, then is better to have two good shots, just for backup.

02-07-2005, 12:15 PM
Love yer avatar, bluespider...

02-07-2005, 02:27 PM
This is what I would call a 'safety shot' or 'clutch' shot. *Just to make sure everything went smoothly.

Last summer I DPed a short with a well composed shot that involved someone dying and two people coming in the room to help the person out, there was blood and well choregrahped blocking that made the shot what it was.

Unfortunately, when we went to look back at the 'dailies' (we shot on a PD-170), I noticed that one of the bottles we used to put blood on the talent was right in the middle of the shot! *I didn't *notice this during the scene because I was to engulfed with how cool the shot looked and how well the actors moved to their marks. *I wish I used a 'clutch' shot for that. I'll post a screenie when I get back home.

02-07-2005, 09:33 PM
I remember working on the set of Up Close and Personal starring Michelle Pfiefer and Robert Redford. We must have done this one scene about 50 dag on times! Michelle kept screwing up her lines! I could not believe her! All I heard was CUT!!! Go back to 1! Action...Cut!!!! Back to 1. That made for a looooong day!!!!

Also it could depend on what the director is up against. He could be losing sunlight for a certain scene and he may be on a tight budget and won't get any more chances after that day to shoot that scene again.

I tend to shoot a little over what I need. To me there is no sense wasting a bunch of tape when I know I got what I want in the can. I may shoot a little extra just for cover or that could be used as room tone in post production, etc.

J.R. Hudson
02-07-2005, 10:09 PM
It's all about the Safety.

And Michelle can flub her lines all day for my ass.

02-07-2005, 10:24 PM
As long as she's not flubbing your ass all day for lines...

02-07-2005, 11:45 PM
You guys are flubbing weird!

02-08-2005, 07:19 AM
ehhhh, I should probably do this :(

my first short with dogs is very likely to have such problems. side note: anyone want some dogs? they're terrible actors. my shepard is all method, she can't play anything but herself. embarassing really.