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Old Settler
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The Written Word
The Look
The Shoot
The Camera
After the Shoot

Role & Bio

The DP In-Depth

The Production Designer In-Depth

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Debbie Allen: The Director In-Depth


The Camera

Designing My Own Shots

"I design my shots. I walk the rehearsal as the camera and say 'this is where I want to be... I want this look.'

It feels like choreography.

I use something that is a real staple in the directing world. It's called a dance floor. You lay it down so that it's so smooth you can roll around, and you can put furniture on top of it. It's seamless and you don't see it."

"We use this in the shot where Elizabeth is waiting forever for Husband to come.

It's just one shot, panned and dollied with her all through the room.

Then we sit down and we lock. I designed light changes so that it goes from evening dusk to evening to late night into early morning when she gets up. It's one shot."


Director With the Camera
Debbie Allen sets up a shot

Working With the Set

The set
The Old Settler set as seen from above


"Doing something that stays mostly on the sound stage, with very little exterior, is a challenge.

It goes back to a style of moviemaking I remember seeing as a child, in movies like The Man With The Golden Arm, which I think was shot all on a sound stage.

We could have done this movie very differently had we shot on the streets of Harlem and taken a 40-day shooting schedule."


High-Definition Video

"Making this movie was a great opportunity for me to explore high-definition. I'm glad I got to see what the challenges are, what makes it better. It works wonderfully.

It really doesn't look like tape but very much like film.

But it does take a lot of management. There are all these cables and electrical connections -- it's like Alien dropping off the camera! It needed a lot of attention that a 35-millimeter shoot (or even a 16) doesn't need. The upside is that high-definition is a lot cheaper and a lot faster. I got my dailies every day, although I couldn't always look at them because I was usually preparing for the next day's shoot, both as an actress and as the director."


High Definition Camera
High-Definition video camera on the set of The Old Settler


The Shoot   |   The Camera   |   Post Production



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