One of the best parts about my career path is being able to do new stuff everyday and go to different places. My internship this summer has taken me all over NYC. I have shot in numerous studios including Viacom and A&E studios, other locations such as the American Museum of Natural History, and many outdoor locations. I have had many experiences within NYC but recently I got to travel to St. Louis for a shoot.
Two of my coworkers and I traveled to St. Louis to help film some interviews for a documentary about the musical group Kool and the Gang. The reason why we traveled out there was they had a concert that weekend. It was easy for the producer to just have us come out and film some members of the group while they were together.
The shoot was a basic two camera set up. One camera had an over-the-shoulder shot of the interviewer and focused on the group member. The second camera was a close-up shot that was at an angle to get the profile of the band member. As far as the lights went it was three point lighting, but we had a different element that I had not done before. The producer wanted to keep continuity in all the interviews and in the past interviews they had used a black back drop, so we had to use one as well. It was a bit different then just using a green screen.
One problem we encountered was some of the felt on the back drop had been ruined or burned, so there was a white spot directly in the middle. This problem forced us to move all the props around so that the angles of the cameras, were shooting the band member so it would be blocking the white spot. Luckily it was not a huge white spot so it wasn’t to difficult to hide it. It was still a little frustrating after we had already set up the props perfectly to just move them again, then since the props were moved we had to then re-adjust the cameras to the appropriate focus and aperture.
Setting up was probably the most difficult part of the shoot, once we set-up we sat and listened. I was on camera B which was filming the profile of the band members. My job was to just adjust the camera and keep them in frame if they moved or adjusted themselves throughout the shoot. It was very interesting hearing the band’s story and how each of them got introduced to music and hearing stories about their childhoods. I only thought of them as a funky disco type group but after hearing the interviews I learned they had done a lot of jazz and even pop just to name some of the genres.
Aside from the shoot the most difficult thing was lugging all the equipment around the airport and through security. The ironic thing I realized was leaving New York we had no problems with the equipment and everything went fine. Once we finished the shoot and were heading back to New York that’s when we encountered some minor problems. They had confiscated some pliers that had some knives like a pocket knife would, and some problems with our carry on bags. It was like they didn’t care what was leaving New York, only what was coming in.
This was a very cool experience and even though we didn’t really get to explore St. Louis that much because we were working, I still had fun being in another city. We got to experience the penthouse suite at the Ritz Carlton, and hang out in the most expensive room in the hotel because that’s where we shot the interviews. We received all the perks of being in the penthouse suite which was awesome to say the least. Also on the flight back to New York I got bumped to first class, so it was safe to say I was living the high life during this trip. I am looking forward to going on more business trips to different places and seeing where this internship and career will take me.