Shooting 3for5.org

So, I’ve offered to donate my camera and a days worth of time (which has already turned into 2 days) to shoot a promo piece for a new, local non-profit org, called 3for5.org. A fund-raising organisation that hopes you and three of your friends will each donate 5 dollars to build clean-water wells in impoverished countries. The trick, you’re 3 friends have to get three of their friends, and so on. You get the idea.

The director is wanting to model the shoot after the ‘5-friends’ viral videos that were created by numerous hollywood celebs to encourage people to vote in the last election. White, high-key background, and a lot of different people saying roughly the same thing, and then intercut between them.

It’s a relatively easy shoot. I say this now. The problem is, that the production has been frought with disaster, and it we haven’t shot a single frame yet. Tomorrow (Tues, Feb 24th), marks Principal Photography. The organisation has been eager to ask for a lot of donations from people to help fund the video, both in equipment, time and other resources. I’m taking a day off the regular paying day job. In the end, however, we lost of a major equipment provided because the organisation wasn’t willing (or able) to secure the necessary insurance to cover the costs of equipment in case someone dropped a $200,000 zoom lens, or an articulated dolly fell off the back of a truck, while unloading. Seems reasonable that a organisation that is asking people to donate thousands (neigh, tens of thousands) of dollars in time and equipment, could at least come up with a grand or two for some general liability and production equipment insurance for a day shoot.

As the DP, I’ve seen a few pages of the script here and there, and seen a few hand sketches of story boards, but have yet to actually meet the director or producers. Tomorrow is the big day. Either sink or swim.

I’m not too worried actually, I know there are some competent guys on grip and electrical, and we still have a good collection of equipment from other, smaller vendors. However, we’ll be shooting on a Nikon 25-70mm F2.8 zoom. I’ve shot a few things on Nikon glass before, but nothing “professional”, usually tests of my kids, or stuff in the back yard, or a few friends on a city street. I’m a little worried about how well the lens will hold up under focus. All it takes is a tiny bump on those SLR lenses to knock the focus off my more than a foot. What I would give to have the Birger and the mappable Impero on this one… or the Optimo 18-80mm that I was hoping to get from the major equipment co. Cei la vie.

My biggest concern is actually what to expect from the producers and director. While there has been quantity in communication, quality has been lacking. The producer who I communicated with was relatively clueless about the process. He knows what he wants, but not sure what he needs to get it done. As the DP, I was asked to coordinate with the equipment company on the lenses and support gear. Trying to explain back to these guys the specifics of the insurance requirements was tedious, and often numbing.

I was told today that 320 minutes of RAW storage, to shoot 25 actors, each reciting a 1.5 page script wasn’t going to be enough… 25 takes, 2 minutes each. 50 minutes. How many takes are they planning to shoot of each actor? And how are they planning to shoot this all in one day?? If they can actually burn more then 300 minutes, I’ll be speechless, and probably unconscious.

I was also asked to help with audio. Apparently, their sound guy had a scheduling conflict. It sounds like the Key Grip will be taking on some of this for me. They want to record to a laptop, and record reference audio on the camera. I’m just trying to figure out how much gear to take with me… I guess I’ll pack whatever I can tonight, and hope its enough.

Wish me luck. I’ll post some frames sometime later…

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~ by kylemallory on February 23, 2009.

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