The making of / Behind the scenes
It's a well known fact that filmmaking is a group effort. I have had the honor and pleasure of working with several extremely talented Directors, Cinematographers, Gaffers, Visual Artists, and Sound Specialists both in and out of school to create many, many breathtaking projects. Here are a few highlights of what really goes on behind the camera:
In the industry, there are a lot of "hurry up and wait" moments.
One of my favorite things is waking up to find the talented people in props, set dept. and locations have completely transformed an everyday stage into an extraordinary environment.
In addition to the camera's built-in screen, we often connect portable monitors for the Assistant Camera operators to ensure the image is in focus.
Working on: The Encounter - Season 2
Pureflix's original series "Encounter" is a well-established name on their streaming service. Already sporting two feature-length films and an 8 episode first season, I was brought on the G&E team as a Best Boy Electric to help with the production of season 2. Sports broadcasts aside, this was my first time diving into the realm of narrative television, and it was exhilarating!
Here are some some highlights:
Week 1: Shooting "Best and Worst Day"
First week into production and spirits are high. First thing I learned as part of the Grip and Electric team is the importance of controlling all light that enters the frame, whether it be natural or artificial. Globes were swapped out, colored gels were placed over lights, and even the sunlight was altered by Neutral Density gels placed over wooden frames we constructed. On top of that, hazers and smoke machines were hidden in corners of the room to give the light beams a unique look.
Week 2: Shooting "Homeward Bound"
One of the best feelings in the world is the one you get when the crew gels nicely together. It's important to balance fun with professionalism when your coworkers end up being your hotel neighbors and your friends from other departments become treasured members of your film family.
Side Note: C-Stand heads can NOT assist in pulling focus, and there is no such thing as a "Continuity Blanket" or a "Bag of F-Stops," but don't let that discourage you from convincing the new guy otherwise.
Week 3: Shooting "The Gift"
The most challenging thing about this episode was rigging up multiple interiors and exterior spaces for a roaming camera. Shooting day, night, and day-for-night scenes added a nice and refreshing variety of looks for the plot, since most of the story happens in one location
Speaking of location, the local news station paid us a visit to do a piece about the film industry in Fitzgerald, GA: WALB News.
Week 4: Shooting "Numbered"
When actually filming onsite for a scene, it is important to constantly be aware and respectful of your surroundings. For live event shows like football games, it is common courtesy to respect the stadium by not driving loading carts on the field because that is the players' place of work. This same courtesy was also extended when we shot this episode in a Windstream facility. Since the site provided internet for the surrounding counties, extra care was taken to not bump any wires or cords while we completed our setups.
Week 5: Shooting "Answer Number 2"
A well organized grip truck is G&E's best friend, and after weeks of shooting back to back, it was nice to have a location to empty out most of our gear, take inventory, and repack for the upcoming episode. Since we were filming in a highschool, all equipment required for scenes could be staged in a classroom while the rest could be tidied up, sorted, and then ratcheted down for transport.
Week 6: Shooting "Crosshairs"
The most physically demanding episode this season, the crew fought back mud, insect, extreme heat, and surprise thunderstorms with sheer determination. Most of the episode dealt with exteriors with no cover and explosive special effects, meaning that art department and safety on this set was constantly on high alert for any possible misfires, lightning strikes, or signs of heatstroke. When shooting in the elements for extended periods of time like this, staying hydrated, protecting yourself against sunburn, and being able to rainproof your gear at a moments notice can save your life and your project.
Week 7: Shooting "The Void"
The second most demanding episode of the season shifted production from shooting in all outdoor locations to shooting in all indoor locations. Hats off to Art Department who worked day and night creating interiors for an International Space Station set, and making it look photo-realistic while still leaving space for the crew, camera, and all our lighting equipment. What couldn't be shot onset was filmed in front of a massive greenscreen that was raised with the assistance of Mambo Stands and a scissor lift.
Week 8: Shooting "Delivery"
The final week of production involved a lot of traveling scenes where the characters would be confined to the interior of moving vehicles. Comparatively easier to light than the previous two episodes, it was especially fascinating to see how much we could fit on the exterior car rig and SUV-sized trailer we rented. On the inside, small, battery-powered quasar tubes coated with gels proved to be quite useful for generating fill light without the camera spotting them.