December 6, 2016 at 11:51AM


How do productions, using film, replay their shots on a monitor?

I've been watching Broll of various films, shot on film, and I wondered to myself, how can they playback what they have shot without developing it first? If someone could just enlighten me on the technicalities of it, that would be cool.


Even back in the 80s and 90s, like Jurassic Park, for example.

December 6, 2016 at 11:52AM


All the way back to the 1960's big production films used a "video assist" or "video tap" which consisted of an optical beam-splitter that split the optical viewfinder image between the viewfinder and the "video assist" electronic camera/recorder. The quality of the "video assist" image was much lower than the film camera, but it was good enough to be useful to judge takes.

Guy McLoughlin

December 6, 2016 at 12:15PM

While video assist existed in the 60s, it wasn't common till the 80s and even then, was more of a luxury item. The director trusted the DP to get the visuals needed, so if he liked the action, he would order that take be printed to be viewed the next day and used in editing. I myself only *directed* one production with a video tap (the camera was on a platform only big enough for the operator for one sequence) and I didn't even look at it most of the time, never played back a single take. We still don't replay video on-set unless we think we got a great take that might be ruined by a technical issue.

December 7, 2016 at 6:31AM, Edited December 7, 6:31AM


Not that my productions have been professional, but I do the same as S. Baldassarre. Only replay the video to check of technical errors, when directing.
Sometimes if the shot is difficult and we haven't planned it very well, I'll look at the video to see what should be changed. But again.. that's because I'm not exactly a professional.

December 10, 2016 at 4:55AM

Emil F. Skanning
Writer, Director, Editor

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