I was doing a little bit of searching on the internet about the documentary I worked on called LAST PLAY AT SHEA and found a few things posted recently. This Access Hollywood clip was interesting. I haven’t seen the film yet and I’ve been seeing mostly lukewarm to decent reviews of the film. I’m really hoping it’s good because I’ve been telling everyone about it. The best line in this video clip is when Billy Joel says, “It’s all over the place.” I’m hoping that only applies to the subject matter and not the structure of the film.
Well, I didn’t have to bear the -8ºF temperatures after all. We were able to get the shots we needed in the “cooler” rather than the freezer. Someone is watching over me, for sure. In my last post, I mentioned a sequence of the project that I referred to as the “life of a pallet” and had wished that I could show you some video. Here it is below. I’m at the Chicago Midway Airport right now writing this post and have a few hours to wait for my flight home so I quickly cut together something for you to look at. I have not color corrected this and I don’t have headphones so the sound is just what it is. Most of the footage you will see was shot at 6400 ISO with existing lighting—which wasn’t much at all. It was pretty dark in the cooler. The shots in the loading dock were shot at either 800 or 1600 ISO. The 6400 ISO footage is pretty noisy, but I can’t complain too much because other cameras would’ve probably been a lot noisier.
I am in Chicago right now. Greg Whiteley hired me to shoot a little industrial spot with him for Preferred Freezer Services. The company runs huge warehouse-sized freezers—storing frozen food product for various companies. This particular plant in Chicago is really high tech—being all computer controlled and using giant robotic cranes to move the inventory around without any human involvement except for supervision. It’s pretty cool… or should I say COLD. The freezer section is -8ºF. We were planning on shooting in this temperature with some uncertainty regarding how well the camera equipment was going to hold up. We didn’t put much thought into how WE would hold up. When we scouted the freezer, let me tell you, it was cold! I don’t think would’ve been possible, honestly, to spend more that a few minutes at a time in there. We soon found out that on the other side of the warehouse, there was another section of the freezer that was “only” 28ºF. It only had one robotic crane, but we would be able to have more control over it. We went over to take a look and it was a welcome alternative! It seriously feels like paradise compared to the …
Not too long ago, I shot a short film for a friend of mine called Face to Face. It was an interesting project that was basically about a guy who comes home to a stange—yet familiar—man in his home. It’s quickly learned that he is talking to his alter ego. Played by one actor (and his brother for some over-the-shoulder shots), we shot the project in one room in one day. Well, with one exception: there was one night exterior scene at the opening of the film that introduces the character arriving home.
Well, it’s been a couple weeks since the principle photography of Jonah and the Great Fish wrapped. In my last post, I was watching the rehearsals and wondering what all the challenges would end up being. It was an interesting shoot—that’s for sure. I thought that the shooting schedule and limitations of previous Liken episodes were less-than-ideal. This production needs a new category all together. All things considered (which I will get into detail here), I think the shoot went just about as well as it could have given the circumstances. An interjection, just to clarify my position on this: This entry may seem like a griping session on how I didn’t get what I wanted for a perfect shoot. On the contrary, I was fully aware of the challenge and it’s inherent limitations and I accepted the challenge to do the best I could with what we had (or didn’t have). The following observations are for educational purposes only ;)
I’m watching a rehearsal of JONAH AND THE GREAT FISH, a musical stage production of the well-known Bible story. The production is an unusual break from the norm for the production company that has already made eight other scripture-stories-turned-musical. This is the ninth installment of the LIKEN THE SCRIPTURES series. The first eight episodes were produced for direct-to-DVD sales. I was fortunate to be involved as DP for all of them. They’re different, but have a charm of their own that I’m proud to have been involved with. Previously, all musical portions of the episodes were shot on sound stages and converted warehouses. I used to complain about those spaces in the past, but with the situation of this episode, I’m longing for the good ol’ days. For this episode, we are shooting on the actual stage that the stage production is being performed on. A stage that is small even for the stage production itself. I have the challenge of making it work on film (er… HD video) as well. We will be shooting during the days without an audience and actual performances with an audience will be happening at night.
I shot a commercial today that took place in a pseudo 50’s environment. After some discussion of whether the spot should be in black and white or some kind of “other” look, the director and I decided the spot should ultimately be in black and white. Typically, especially in the video realm, the B&W effect is something you do in post—you shoot your video in color and drop the saturation completely in the color correction process. This leaves the options open for other possible looks; should you or the producers decide to change their minds. “Baking in” a look can be risky, but in this case we decided to throw caution to the wind and commit to it.
About a week and a half ago, my friend Ron Adair told me about an ad contest Doritos was having for the Super Bowl. I had never heard of it and wasn’t aware that it was done last year as well. He told me that he was entering the contest and to take a look at his submission for feedback. I was a bit saddened that I hadn’t heard about it yet, being that the deadline was four days away! I told my wife, Wendy, about it and she said we should do it. She came up with an idea that day and we shot it the following night. We wrangled two of our friends (who were not actors) to act and then edited it well into that same night. Wendy wrote and directed it and I shot and edited it.
I’m starting this blog for a couple of reasons. Mainly, to record things I’ve done on shoots—details that I always think I’m going to remember, but always seem to forget; and also, for the benefit of those of you who might find my notes interesting or educational.