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Average rating 4.46 (92 votes)
Operator David Chameides IMDb
Year 2006
Production Links Official Site IMDb
Company NBC
Length of Shot 5:17
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ER
Episode: Of Past Regret and Future Fear
"Five Minute Oner", By David Chameides

"ER" has become famous for its Steadicam shots. This shot is particularly longer than usual. Like many good long oners, the shot covers a number of characters in a number of different scenarios changing the pace of the scene many times.

 

Operator's Commentary
This shot was for Director Tony Edwards, one of the lead actors on the show. He wanted to have one entire act be a "oner' and came to ask me if it was doable. I pointed out that we couldn't get the time needed on one mag but we could throw a whip pan in and cheat two shots to look like one so this is what we ended up doing. The writers wrote a sequence that would lend itself to run continuously and we showed up on the first day of production for the episode and got to work on the shot. As I recall this was 13 pages of dialogue and the second shot of the act was 9 pages. As a result I flew a 1000 ft mag on the back of an LT. We shot most of the show (steadicam wise anyway) on the 27-68mm zoom but it was too light to balance against the 1000 ft mag so we ended up getting a 29mm Prime. With a 1000 ft mag I didn't want to do a bunch of rehearsals so at my request we walked it once without camera and then started filming. This was always the amazing thing about ER because even something like this, while tough, didn't phase anyone (perhaps it should have though). Tony is in the beginning of the shot and carried a handheld TV in his pocket so he could watch when he was off camera. We didn't have playback so he had to trust in me and others watching (seems like a shocker now but remember the good old days....). I believe we did about 11 takes and I honestly can't recall which take this is. However I do remember that the take before the one they ended up using was fantastic and about 20 seconds before the whip pan I knocked the rig on my knee and blew the take. Even thinking about it is painful now, but what are you going to do. Terence Nightingall (now a great op in his own right) did a superb job pulling focus on the whole thing and our Dolly Grip Steve Robertson was, as always, instrumental in pulling this off as I wouldn't have been able to do it without him. I recall near the end him having to drag me back to my final mark and reminding me to whip as I was so spent. The second they cut he'd grab the rig before I crumpled to the floor to catch my breath. It's funny because watching it I'm reminded of how tough that slow move around the bed in the yellow ER room was. When the rig was moving the momentum kept things going but it was that little piece at the end that was the real killer and wiped me out every time. The irony is that as the scene got into it's groove, I think it would have fit on a 500 ft roll so the 1000' mag wasn't even necessary! We shot this, went to lunch (I slept on the floor of the admit bay) and then jumped back into the saddle and shot the second part. 22 pages in one day. Not bad. All in all I'm happy with most of it and as always critical of a piece or two. Fun times though and something great to have been a part of.

Shot Elements
ONEer

 

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