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Probably the biggest set I've ever lit


The shoot and protect system
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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Shoot and protect. That's a system which arose at that kind of period where, if a film is intended basically for the cinema but eventually is going to be shown on television, like all films, they're eventually going to be shown on television. Then they often ask you to operate a system called shoot and protect, which means that you shoot for the 1:66 central area, but you protect the top and the bottom by not having microphones in them or tracks, or whatever. And this is time-consuming. It's not cheap. The people think well... The lawyers put a clause in the contract that say you mustn't mask the gate because it will hinder the sale to television. I said, it should be pointed to these guys that this is not a free lunch. It takes time, and sometimes it really prevents you having the best image. Because you can't get the lights necessarily in the best position, close to the edge of frame, because the edge of frame is not one edge of frame, it's two edges of frame. And you don't know which... You have to keep them out of the outer edge of frame, so it's awkward. Anyway that system is known as shoot and protect. And my reaction to that has always been, what I think you should do, you should protect the cameraman and you should shoot the people that want you to do that.

Born in Germany, cinematographer Walter Lassally (1926-2017) was best known for his Oscar-winning work on 'Zorba the Greek'. He was greatly respected in the film industry for his ability to take the best of his work in one area and apply it to another, from mainstream to international art films to documentary. He was associated with the Free Cinema movement in the 1950s, and the British New Wave in the early 1960s. In 1987 he published his autobiography called 'Itinerant Cameraman'.

Listeners: Peter Bowen

Peter Bowen is a Canadian who came to Europe to study and never got round to heading back home. He did his undergraduate work at Carleton University (in Biology) in Ottawa, and then did graduate work at the University of Western Ontario (in Zoology). After completing his doctorate at Oxford (in the Department of Zoology), followed with a year of postdoc at the University of London, he moved to the University's newly-established Audio-Visual Centre (under the direction of Michael Clarke) where he spent four years in production (of primarily science programs) and began to teach film. In 1974 Bowden became Director of the new Audio-Visual Centre at the University of Warwick, which was then in the process of introducing film studies into the curriculum and where his interest in the academic study of film was promoted and encouraged by scholars such as Victor Perkins, Robin Wood, and Richard Dyer. In 1983, his partner and he moved to Greece, and the following year he began to teach for the University of Maryland (European Division), for which he has taught (and continues to teach) biology and film courses in Crete, Bosnia, and the Middle East.

Tags: edge of frame, shot, cameraman, film, cinema, television

Duration: 1 minute, 17 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008