How We Did It: Compass Datacenters
Recently, I was #blessed to shoot with my good friends at See Spot Run. This is our story:
We arrived for our 7am call at the offices of Compass Datacenters - me, gaffer Juan Rocha, junior producer Amanda Presmyk, and SSR chief Jeff Ayala. Amanda had mercifully brought Starbucks and breakfast tacos, and with a few gulps of coffee in us, we loaded up our carts and hopped in the elevator.
We shot in Compass Datacenters’ conference room, which was just large enough to accommodate our 10′x20′ gray backdrop. However, the elevator was not and we had to carry the frame for the backdrop up 6 flights of stairs because the frame pieces were too long to fit in the elevator. Luckily, the 4 12-ft frame-lengths weighed very little.
We proceeded to set up, working towards the look as we assembled the lights and cameras. Jeff wanted a somewhat moody and low-key look to match a recent Texas Rangers promo shoot he’d done and so we actually ended up using much fewer lights than initially anticipated.
Here’s a diagram of our set up:
Initially, I thought we were going to go for an evenly-lit grey background, but Jeff wanted a darker, nearly-black grey. To achieve the look, we wound up just not lighting the background and even flagging the key with a topper to let the background go dark.The reason we needed a 10′x20′ backdrop in the first place was because we needed a medium shot for the A-camera (a Canon C300 with a 24-70L, opened up to 2.8 and set to Wide DR – also with iPad prompter attached) and a profile shot on a slider for the B-cam (T2i with a Tokina 24-75, f2.8, color profile faithful).
At our projected shoot time of 10:30am, we were all set to shoot – two cameras, one on a slider, lighting tweaked, and aside from a couple of last-minute duvetyne fastening to block out the sunlight from the windows, we were ready.
Our talent, Chris, the CEO of Compass, came in and sat in the hot seat and an hour or so later, the shoot was in the can, material for 3 monthly 3-minute corporate message-style videos.
I wish all shoots went this smoothly. I’ve worked with Jeff and Amanda numerous times and we’ve got a great repore. Juan is a top-notch gaffer and was instrumental in making the lighting looking as good as it did. I was really happy with the way the footage turned out and it was a great shoot. Another one for the books.
Moral of the story: It’s hard to beat working with your friends, especially if they’re smart, attractive, and tell great jokes about Kangaroos.
>> By ALEX WAGNER, RTBS Films