On location for <em>Walk of Shame,</em> camera crew members Larry Nielsen (center) and Milan "Miki" Janicin (right) help set up a crane shot. The wireless focus remote Nielsen will use is hanging from that purple carabiner on his jacket.
Credit Cindy Carpien / NPR
Nielsen's remote device controls focus, zoom and aperture on the camera; a white wheel is marked with numbers that indicate distance. Nielsen assesses the distance between camera and actor, and he needs to be precise: If he sets the wheel to 9 1/2 feet, but the distance is actually only 9 feet 3 inches, the shot will be out of focus.
You won't believe it — I didn't — but the person responsible for keeping each and every shot of a movie in focus never looks through a camera lens.
"No," says focus puller Baird Steptoe. "We do not look through the camera at all."
Steptoe has worked as a first assistant cameraman on films from The Sixth Sense to Thor to last year's Grownups Two. He says he's learned to judge distances — precise distances — with his naked eye alone.
"I mean, I can tell you roughly from you to me right now," he says. "I would say about 2-11."
Global warming and melting ice are rapidly changing the landscape of the Earth's polar regions. What will it mean for life at the poles, and for the rest of the world? Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland has seen this environmental transformation for himself. He’s the first person to complete solo expeditions across both the North and South Poles. In 2010, he completed the Northern Passage – a circumnavigation of the entire Arctic ocean. He joins us to talk about his adventures in the vast, frozen tundra of the poles.
Anne Hathaway, nominated for best actress in a supporting role for ‘Les Miserables,’ left, and Steven Spielberg, nominated for best picture and best director for ‘Lincoln,’ attend the 85th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon on Monday, Feb. 4, 2013.
David Hyde talks with Frank Rich about the historical significance of Quentin Tarantino’s "Django Unchained" and why Rich thinks it deserves to win an Academy Award for best picture. Then he turns to historian Sean Wilentz who thinks it is not "Django Unchained" but Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" that is the historically accurate and significant film that deserves the Oscar.