Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
“Rita Rocks” with Vinten camera support gear
Lifetime’s hit series, “Rita Rocks,” involves a complex production with a large, active set. The crew is using Vinten’s Vector head 700H and Vinten pedestals for the third season in a row.
“Rita Rocks” is a traditional four-pedestal camera show, and the sets are very deep, said seven-time Emmy-winning cinematographer Donald A. Morgan ASC. The set is a large garage-style space, and the script calls for a significant amount of action. The show is framed for the traditional 4:3 aspect ratio but protected for the 16:9 HD screen. To accomplish this, extensions were added to the set to the left and right downstage edges.
In an environment like the one used on “Rita Rocks,” the camera operators prefer Vinten because of the precise tracking work needed in the four-camera environment, said Morgan. Often, the outside cameras have to turn, pull, lift, pan and tilt in only seconds because there is no time for repositioning.
The inside B and C cameras, called the master cameras, are also active for a different reason. In many of the master shots, the show uses dolly-type moves with the pedestals. The cameras are moved, pushed left or right, raised up and pushed in. These shots are done with a single operator, Morgan said.
Vinten’s reliability, he said, allows a good operator to execute difficult one-person moves precisely and smoothly. And, if the director has planned something that is more challenging, the pedestals have a steering mechanism that allows an assistant to pull, when the operator moves up or down.