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Back to the Future

COW Blogs : Mike Cohen's Blog : Back to the Future
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As I approach 200 blog posts, while not anywhere near the number of others on the COW, for me the blog has been a way to reflect on the present, the future and the past, in no particular order.

Wondering how this all started I looked back to my very first entry back in 2007 when the sun was cooler and so was I. Ok that was corny.

http://blogs.creativecow.net/blog/219/in-camera-editing

If you have about 20 hours feel free to read the rest.

Looking forward to what 2013 will bring.

For now (12-12-12) - thanks for your interest.

Mike Cohen


Posted by: Mike Cohen on Dec 12, 2012 at 6:13:47 pmComments (3) blogging, flux capacitor
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@Back to the Future
by Reyad Hasan Prince

Video production by Matthew and Company
is a full service High Definition, video production and broadcast television production company located in the Austin, Texas metroplex.
Re: Back to the Future
by Mike Cohen
Gary - thanks for reading the surgical video article - it was a great experience yet also a challenge trying to compress a career's worth of activity into a few pages.

I'll answer some of your questions below:

Hello Mike. Sorry to burst in to this blog post with something slightly tangential

Not a problem, thanks for reading

, but I just read your fascinating piece

glad you found it fascinating - some people find it nauseating, or as Tim Wilson called it, NSFL (not safe for lunch)


"Surgical Video: The Cutting Edge" about filming (technically video-ing) in a surgical setting (mostly OR).

As a producer, I've been asked to give a quote to film a relatively minor surgery (fixing an implant just under the skin of the abdomen) here in the UK (I only fly Virgin Atlantic business class, so factor that into your quote LOL). The filming won't take place until next February, but I'm trying to gather as much knowledge as I can upfront, so your article was very helpful, thank you. February will be here before you know it

I'm guessing from the description of some of the workflows, plus the reference to 2007, that the piece was written some time ago?

As in any situation shooting things as they happen, pay attention, and be ready for anything. If that means bringing a bag of gear you might not use, do so. If you don't have it with you it will be needed. Don't leave something important in the van - once you are in scrubs it can be difficult to nip out to the parking lot for something, not to mention the interior of hospitals can resemble a corn maze and you can get lost easily - and you may be paired with a security or public relations person to keep you from wandering off

2008 I think - surgery itself changes rather slowly - new techniques come along but the basic concepts are pretty consistent

I was wondering if you could possibly give me a very brief update in terms of what kind of equipment you're using these days and any further tips you might be able to offer in terms of filming what I imagine is going to be a pretty quick procedure (15 - 20 mins?).

for a quick procedure, record continuously, and possibly with multiple cameras - if you can park two cameras next to each other, one wide, one close, you have a safety shot - I do that much of the time especially when shooting by myself. Sometimes the 2nd angle has a shot of my posterior some of the time, but it is rolling anyway - I could give you a particular operative example but it is breakfast time here in the States and we don't want to cause any problems :)

For instance, do you ever request surgeons to "make that move for me one more time darling, we need to check focus"!! I'm guessing the answer is probably "no", but I'd value your expert advice.

Depends upon your rapport with the surgeon - establish before the case that you can only get a good shot without heads, arms or hands in the way - not everyone understands that your camera does not have x-ray vision! - could go either way - if the surgeon understands why you are asking he or she should comply - manage expectations - as for asking a surgeon to please remove a 2nd kidney because you missed the first one, not a good idea! - be on your toes and both watch and listen - if the surgeon says to the nursing staff "we're going to need the specimen bag in 2 minutes" you know something important is happening in about 2 minutes - this would be a bad time to start thinking about yesterday's episode of Eastenders (not sure that is still popular)

Are you using lightweight DSLR's these days?

for photographs, yes - sometimes I will have the 7d over my shoulder or on a table nearby and shoot video of certain activities, in lieu of moving my primary camera position - a handy 2nd camera with high quality

Do you set up a fixed tripod position and just use the monitor and remote controls for focus and shifting light conditions?

depends upon the situation - I like to have my hands on the camera

Or a shoulder rig?
no - some surgeries go 12+ hours - I have bony shoulders!
Is it essential (even for fairly minor operations) to be able to move around the surgeon?
depends upon the surgery - sometimes, such as in pelvic surgery, you need to shoot from behind the anesthesia drape, other times overhead, other times between the legs - first things first - know where you can go, what you can touch and be aware of your surroundings - operating rooms are tight quarters

How much crew do you have?
one or two is usually sufficient
Do you work alone?
Much of the time - operating rooms are often small and already filled with people - being overtly non-intrusive is a good way to gain the trust of the medical staff
Is there any opportunity for a producer / director to "direct" the camera operator?
if your operator is not familiar with shooting surgery, you will need to direct them - if you don't, you will get either a wide shot the whole time or lots of b-roll shots of the surgeon's face and generic news-style footage - lots of freelance shooters are accustomed to shooting news stories in which you don't show too many details - if you can setup a small monitor within view of the surgeon you can sometimes let the surgeon direct the camera

Do you film with the edit in mind, or do you have to work out how you'll piece together what you have after the event?

as with any shooting situation it is a good idea to keep the edit in mind - wide, medium, close, rinse and repeat - as you listen you can anticipate what is coming next. IF it looks like the surgeon is about to remove something, you might zoom out so you catch more of the action, whereas if the surgeon is dissecting adhesions or clamping a blood vessel, a closer shot is preferred. I often do whip zooms in or out, to be excluded from the edit, but to change my shot more rapidly, usually subconsciously anticipating both the action and the edit

OK, enough question. Maybe too many questions!

I won't give away our secret sauce, but happy to help :)

Any advice would be gratefully received Mike.
Have a great Christmas and a Happy 2013

And have a Happy Boxing Day - I will as it is my wife's birthday (she's from Doncaster originally)


Gary
freshlymadefilms.com

nice website and video samples - I like the milk bottle - when I was 14 and visited England for a family vacation, I was shocked to see glass milk bottles delivered by a milk float, being stored outdoors in August, among other bits of culture shock

Best thing to do with good advice? Pass it on
Re: Back to the Future
by gary Seabrook
Hello Mike. Sorry to burst in to this blog post with something slightly tangential, but I just read your fascinating piece "Surgical Video: The Cutting Edge" about filming in a surgical setting (mostly OR).

As a producer, I've been asked to give a quote to film a relatively minor surgery (fixing an implant just under the skin of the abdomen) here in the UK. The filming won't take place until next February, but I'm trying to gather as much knowledge as I can upfront, so your article was very helpful, thank you.

I'm guessing from the description of some of the workflows, plus the reference to 2007, that the piece was written some time ago?

I was wondering if you could possibly give me a very brief update in terms of what kind of equipment you're using these days and any further tips you might be able to offer in terms of filming what I imagine is going to be a pretty quick procedure (15 - 20 mins?).

For instance, do you ever request surgeons to "make that move for me one more time darling, we need to check focus"!! I'm guessing the answer is probably "no", but I'd value your expert advice.

Are you using lightweight DSLR's these days?
Do you set up a fixed tripod position and just use the monitor and remote controls for focus and shifting light conditions?
Or a shoulder rig?
Is it essential (even for fairly minor operations) to be able to move around the surgeon?
How much crew do you have?
Do you work alone?
Is there any opportunity for a producer / director to "direct" the camera operator?
Do you film with the edit in mind, or do you have to work out how you'll piece together what you have after the event?

OK, enough question. Maybe too many questions!

Any advice would be gratefully received Mike.
Have a great Christmas and a Happy 2013

Gary
freshlymadefilms.com

Best thing to do with good advice? Pass it on


I have a passion for my job, which entails training for medical professionals such as surgeons, nurses and administrators, not to mention various industries.

Technology is great, but how you apply your skills is what pays the bills.

Years ago I canceled my Media 100 support contract upon discovering what a treasure trove of helpful advice can be found on the Creative COW website. I am proud to be a part of this fantastic community.

In my blog I talk a little about media production, a lot about travel and workflow, and occasionally about cooking, nature and my fluffy housecats.

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Hang out on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/videoeditingmike

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