Camera cars are an essential component of filming high-speed scenes. It takes an experienced, specialized team to operate them efficiently and safely while fulfilling the director's wishes on location.
Whether you're shooting a speeding hybrid SUV for a national automotive campaign or a bunch of cop cars for an action sequence, it takes a tight crew to capture the footage that will hold an audience's attention.
Between the personnel, equipment, and the elbow room needed to work, there's not a lot of space for observers inside the camera car. If you're curious to learn more about what it takes to capture all that motorized motion at top speed, keep reading.
Responsibilities on Set
The pursuit vehicle/camera car crew collaborates closely with the DP to capture the desired footage on location. They follow directions from the director to ensure the shots align with the vision of the project.
Additionally, they are responsible for maintaining the camera car, monitoring weather and road conditions, and providing input and suggestions for creative shot ideas.
Camera Car Driver
Specialty drivers play a crucial role in film and television productions. Operating the camera vehicle safely and efficiently is their primary responsibility, as they work closely with the camera operator and production team to capture the desired footage.
Effective communication, adherence to safety regulations, and the ability to maintain control of the vehicle are essential qualities for camera car drivers. Their expertise ensures that the crew can focus on capturing the perfect shots without any concerns about on-set accidents.
Just like a good actor always hits their mark, a skilled driver needs to be in the right spot at the exact right moment. It's not always such an easy job.
The head operator controls the camera using a remote system. They possess extensive knowledge of camera equipment, lenses, and the settings. Ultimately, this person is responsible for making sure the camera is recording. Effective communication skills enable them to coordinate with the driver and other personnel on set and in the vehicle.
The responsibilities of camera operators on set include setting up and positioning the camera for each shot (tilts, pans, zooms, etc.), coordinating camera movements with the director and other crew members, and focusing on capturing the action accurately and creatively.
They are also responsible for monitoring and adjusting camera settings using a remote head and monitor to ensure optimal image quality. In addition, camera operators may assist with lighting and other technical aspects to ensure a smooth production process.
A focus puller (or first camera assist) plays an integral role as they are responsible for adjusting the focus as needed. This position requires skilled concentration, an ability to work under pressure, and a solid understanding of camera equipment. Exacting precision and consistency are key.
You never know when you'll need to rack focus for an effect, and this crew member can do it. Even the most immaculately planned shots will end up being a big waste if they're not in focus.
You'll find focus pullers wherever there are major camera rigs.
The camera boom operator is responsible for the safe and secure operation of the camera arm system. They work hand in hand with the camera operator as they raise and lower and swing the arm and camera into the correct position. They are also involved in rigging the equipment.
A dual-operator system is always preferred as each person needs to concentrate on hitting their marks.
Are You Ready to Meet the Crew Inside the Pursuit Vehicle?
Operating a camera car or pursuit vehicle with a remote arm system requires a team of highly skilled professionals.
- The camera car driver plays a crucial role in maintaining the correct speed and positioning to capture the shot.
- The camera and arm operators are responsible for controlling the camera's movements according to the director's wishes.
- The focus puller ensures that the subject appears sharp in the frame as dictated by the cinematographer.
Together, these personnel form a cohesive unit that enables a camera car's or pursuit vehicle's smooth operation.
When driving at top speeds, you need a team who can guarantee the safety of the equipment and the other crew members on set.
Contact Shift Dynamics for Superior Film Production Rental Equipment and Crew
Shift Dynamics has worked on ads for Mitsubishi, Jeep, Chevrolet, Ford, Audi, and Subaru. When you need to capture speed with great precision, look no further than our rental house in Nashville.
Shift Dynamics is home to some of today's most sought-after film production rental equipment.
Contact Shift Dynamics today to get quotes on the gear you'll need and the experienced professionals you'll want behind the wheel.