Dave on Twitter

09 January, 2011

A year in review

2011 starts off slow (I'm taking it easy because I'm getting married in 6 days)

So, 2010 in review:

* Budapest

* A feature film I shot in the spring, "Director's Cut" is produced (and is currently at the Hollywood Reel Independent Festival and other festivals)

* "One Night Only: Barbra Streisand and Quintet Live at the Village Vanguard" (which I was a key camera operator) is released on DVD and Blu-ray (and DVD/CD combo) and subsequently goes platinum.

* I shot a number of great videos with Kinetic Fin for Gevalia Coffee.

* I shot a very nice tribute video for Ruth Messinger featuring a pretty awesome interview lineup, including Mia Farrow, former NYC Mayor David Dinkins, NY Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof and more.

* I shot second unit and b-cam material for a nice series of videos for Columbia Business School.

* I became a HDSLR convert (I'm not a an evangelical HDSLR shooter but I've discovered it's an amazing tool for a lot of things).

* Some fun industrial work for Nokia, Wunderman, PwC, BBCAmerica, and Kraft Foods.

* Gaffed and shot NY material for a feature doc, "Small Matters" (currently in post-production, eying a PBS run).

* I lit a commercial photo shoot... for video.  That was different.  For designer, Ippolito.

* A whole bunch of other little things...

...I learned a lot this year, as a cameraman and gaffer and filmmaker in general.  When I was assisting, my years tended to yield lessons on practice - new lighting principles, methods of operating, craft-based things like that.  As a working cameraman (and occasional gaffer for other D.P.'s), my years have brought about fewer and fewer new technical lessons.  This year was sponsored by... "Compromise."

  • While working on the Ruth Messinger piece, for the higher profile interviews, the crew went in with the mentality that the subject could walk in any minute and demand to do the interview then.  Working faster that we'd have normally liked was the compromise for having access to these folks.
  • On "Director's Cut" the production had much less time and money than ideal.  We compromised on setups to get the movie finished.
  • For the BBCAmerica videos which took place in real, functioning focus group sessions, we had to have high production values in terms of lighting and camerawork, but at the same time, we, the crew could not infringe upon the participants' comfort levels.  Usually, what's out of frame doesn't matter (leading to forests of c-stands, messy rigging contraptions and stuff like that just out of the camera's view), but for this, it had to be pretty.  Even a clean-looking large Chimera overhead was too "movie-set" for the clients liking.  But they loved when we rigged a very large chinese lantern overhead (it felt "homey").  Meanwhile at the PwC industrial I gaffed maybe only a month or two prior, the client insisted we use the Chimera for it's "expensiveness."  In that situation, meanwhile, it would have been a LOT easier to rig than the large Chimera.  Compromise...

2010 was a great year and there's some pretty fun stuff on the horizon for 2011, not the least of which is getting married.  More on that (and the great video team I hired for the event) and other stuff in February, when I return...