Short Video of a Typical (in my opinion) Photo Production

Thu, Sep 30, 2010

Bruce DeBoer, Editorials

Surfing vimeo I found this short production by David McCarty.  I thought he created an accurate account of a medium sized photo shoot with none of the usual pretense; i.e. no shots of Haute-Couture designers acting in character.  This one is a fashion shoot for The Forbes Company by Heidi Niemala, but it could be anything: fashion, financial, pharma, travel & leisure, etc.

Each player has their position.  Everyone is “on” for five minutes here, twenty minutes there, but – like a baseball player covering the infield – never ever ignoring the action lest they lose track of their role and miss a cue (deadly mistake).  When not “on” there is the constant bustle of prep for the next point of action: what goes into the next shot, who wears what, makeup, hair, moving gear, lighting.

It’s fun, it’s “zooey”, it’s exhausting but the exhaustion is obvious only when you rest.  The mornings are usually more productive than afternoons because of the midday rest. You rest you get tired.

The cast of characters:  Models (fighting boredom with cell phones) , clients, art directors (trying to get work done on another project), agency account executives, producers, stylists, camera assistants, lighting assistants, digital techs – all with unusually strong unique personalities.

The photographer is always “on” . If they aren’t moving, composing or directing crew and talent, they’re entertaining or steeling  a quiet moment to think.  If lucky they have help directing but there’d better be synchronicity or it spells confusion and loss of spontaneity.

The hardest part is often the wrap; saying goodbye to the whole crew as they go separate ways.  I’ve made close friends on shoots whom I’ve never seen again.

Thanks David, it made me smile.

3 Responses to “Short Video of a Typical (in my opinion) Photo Production”

  1. David McCarty Says:

    It was interesting to read your take on the video, Bruce. Normally people within the industry just chuckle knowingly, or remember details of the day because they were there. Describing it to someone who might not understand what goes on was cool.

    The video was created primarily as a memento for the client, and for superiors of the client who couldn’t be there. Sometimes its as simple as, “This is what spent your money on.” The production of a still or motion shoot can be a mystery to many people. They see a nice picture and they have no idea of what goes into it.

    As far as the scene on set, we like to keep it pretty loose. As long as everyone is doing their job, the day should be fun. It doesn’t mean you don’t work hard. You work very hard, but you should be able to laugh too. There are plenty of people out there who run a difficult set. I just don’t see the point. Hire smart, creative professionals. Allow them to do their jobs. Be ready to make decisions quickly, and the day goes smoothly. It’s ignorance and indecision that make for stressful sets.

    If you’d like to see a similar video of one of our television shoots, it’s posted below. I didn’t shoot this one as I was directing, but I edited it together from two days of footage. The DP posted it on his site and still gets comments. It was one of our more memorable shoots. We were shooting for a client in Canada but shooting in a wheat field an hour and a half outside of Dallas.
    http://gallery.me.com/dmccarty13#100396

    And you’re right about one other thing. You get really close to the crew even after only a few days. We shoot with a lot of the same people consistently and so there is a lot of friendly banter and inside jokes. It’s like the circus comes to town. That same DP calls films crews, “Carnies with a dental plan.”

    • Bruce DeBoer Says:

      David,

      I was sitting in an airport when I read, “Carnies with a dental plan” and laughed loud enough to draw attention.

      The behind the scene video of the film shoot was really well done and funny.

      Thanks for the comments – I’m looking forward to your NJ Surfers film: http://www.hoppingfrogstudios.com/index2.php?v=v2#/video/1/

      BTW – my wife grew up in Bergen Co. NJ – vacationing in Cape May every summer. We visted last year and I’m sure we’ll be back. I may knock on your door some day.

  2. David McCarty Says:

    I also emailed you, or tried to. Here’s another video you may be interested in. Shot entirely with DSLRs and a micro-budget.

    http://www.vimeo.com/17765320


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