ECG’s been around for a long time. 13 years to be exact! Some of us have even been around to see the early days of digital. We’ve seen the technology in video production blossom from the bulky first digital iterations to crappy camcorders to the gorgeous cinematic digital technology we have today. Needless to say, we take our camera department very seriously here at ECG. We’ve even dedicated a nearly 800 square foot room in our new facility entirely to our camera bodies, lenses, rigs, mounts and many other of our favorite nifty gadgets.
What’s in a Camera Department?
But what exactly is in a camera department? First are cameras, duh. But we’re not only talking about the normal body and lens combos. We’re also talking drones of all kinds, 360 virtual reality cameras, and mini cameras (like the ubiquitous GoPro) for mounting in tight spaces. Speaking of mounting, camera mounts and rigs are a huge part of the camera department too. Some rigs will require a lot of creativity on the part of the camera crew to achieve a certain shot or camera movement. Most importantly, you have to make sure the camera is secured. After that, you’re looking for the mount that fits the Director and DP’s vision for the shot.
Building the Camera
Camera movement informs a lot about a camera build. We never underestimate the humble tripod for simple pans but anything more complicated will require more heavy duty equipment. We’re talking jibs, steadicams, dollys, handheld stabilizers and shoulder rigs to name a few. Each of these mounts will give the footage entirely different feels. For cinematic scenes, you may want a slow push in using a dolly. But if you’re capturing an energetic live event, you may want to go with rig with more freedom of movement. A handheld stabilizer akin to the Ronin S puts the viewer inside the shot in those instances.
The last chunk of equipment in a camera department will be monitors for picture observation and playback. Not to mention the all important follow focuses! Follow focuses allow for an Assistant Camera Operator to remotely control the focus on a camera through a monitor. On top of that, monitors are crucial for the camera department to be able to share the view through the lens with the rest of the crew, especially the Director and Production Designer.
Camera Department Crews
Camera departments are headed up by the Director of Photography. Working closest with the DP will be the 1st and 2nd Assistant Cameras. In some cases, the AC’s may be the ones actually operating the camera while the DP oversees the shots. A camera production assistant supports the department on set too.
At ECG, our Camera Department would be nothing without the people in it. A camera crew without solid communication and trust simply can’t operate at full capacity. Assistant Camera Ops need to trust in the vision of the Director of Photography while also being able to voice their opinions if they think they can make a shot better. On the flip side, the DP needs to know that his crew understands basic camera tech like changing the ISO or opening and closing the f-stop on command. The importance of great on-set communication is never lost at ECG. We know getting the perfect shot starts by building strong relationships between our amazing in-house and freelance team members.
Camera Department at ECG
The camera department at ECG is growing all the time, and we’re constantly adding new gear and technology to adapt to growing trends in marketing and cinema. Our go to’s are our Blackmagic camera bodies, including the URSA Mini and the Pocket Cinema Cam. Those along with our beautiful Angenieux lenses make for the perfect cinematic combination. But we also have a plethora of DSLR’s, drones, 360 cameras and mini mountable cams to achieve whatever look or experience you’re going for in your next production.
And, if for any reason, we don’t have the exact dolly or crane rig you need for that beautiful, expansive shot of your corporate office exterior, we know just where to source it. Our crew has years of experience under their belts working with any and all types of cameras and shooting styles. You want to capture four different angles inside a race car? We got it. You want 360 footage of sharks underwater? Been there, done that.
At ECG, our camera department is a family, striving to work together to make every shot as amazing as it can be. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started on that next production. Contact us today!