An Optivisor for a Crown - Two Vans Arrive with the "Craft In America" video team
June 21, 2021
Finally, on Saturday, June 5, the first day of the "Craft in America" video shoot arrived. I was told that a "small crew" of six people would arrive by 11:30am coming from Los Angeles. I've hired individuals for producing videos before, but could not imagine how or what would require six people (as they defined "a small crew"). Of more concern, I could not imagine how six people would fit into my studio at one time.
Two vans and a third vehicle drove up with lots of equipment and the 6-person video crew went right to work unloading, setting up equipment, checking functions, and synchronizing channels.
I was amazed at all the equipment. Now all this equipment compounded my concerns. Even though I had cleaned and organized the studio for weeks, there isn't much space other than a narrow aisle on each side.
With rapid-fire "hellos" from everyone, I was introduced to all six people (but could only remember three names and that everyone confirmed full vaccination status and a recent covid test, which is the industry standard).
Each member of the crew remained focused on their equipment. Soon, as a group, we had a quick walk through the studio and the house (where some of my artwork is displayed). Within a few minutes, Coby Atlas, the director decided to start the shoot in the studio and stay set up there for the entire first day.
In the photo below, Emil, the sound person, is checking the audio stream connection to the camera via blue tooth.
In the next photo below Sal Coniglio, Assistant Camera is in the center. ) Eventually, I figured out that he was person responsible for focus. As the focus puller, it is his responsibility to maintain the camera lens's optical focus on the subject or action being filmed. He has a separate monitor that is also connected to the camera via blue tooth. In addition, at any time when the camera needs to be moved, he helps move the tripod to the new spot and/or adjusts the tripod height up and down.
While the crew was setting up all the equipment, Coby asked me to show her my bench, tools, materials, displays, etc., and explain my work processes and step-by-step fabrication that I had planned to show. She wanted to familiarize herself with possible options for the shoot that day.
This was the last time on Saturday that I looked so nicely dressed because I asked Coby what I should be wearing for the studio shoot. (Since we would be shooting in the studio that day, I did not want to look "fake" or unrealistically "dressed up" in the studio.)
Coby responded by asking what would I normally wear in the studio? I said "overalls" with tools in hand. Immediately after that brief discussion, I dressed "down" to my overalls and donned an Optivisor - i.e. the ever-required jeweler's crown.
Thank goodness I had spent so much time cleaning up the narrow aisles in my studio. Six people in my studio was indeed crowded. Sid, the DP (Director of Photography) was a substantial person. The camera was very large, evidently very heavy and unwieldy. The tripod was even bigger. In the photo below, you can see five people (Sidney, Coby, Mark, Sal, and Denise Kang, Associate Producer ) squeezed into the narrow aisles.
Sal, the focus puller with his own monitor is in the foreground (in the photo below). I am envious of his stool mounted on rollerblade wheels.
The Director, Coby, was ever-present, but physically very tiny. Notice that Coby is barely visible in these shots. In the narrow studio space, she could not see me directly. She could only see what I was doing by looking into the monitor on the camera.
The camera was gigantic with all kinds of knobs, buttons, ports, and dials. (Forget any idea of video taken on your phone.) Below you see the camera's view and Sidney Lubitsch, the DP, looking at what is framed in the display.
Emil, the sound guy (and a S.F. Bay Area local), had a soft fuzzy microphone at the end of the boom. He had to work from the aisle on the other side. I loved that he was really into the sound of metal - sawing, grinding, filing, riveting and the step shear. Go Emil!
The sound guy had the priority of capturing good audio without letting the boom, or the shadow of the boom, appear in the shot.
Notice how they added extra light (top center of the next photo) even though I had a widow and skylights directly above me, and the garage door open. Light and more light!
Gaffer Mark Markely (photo left) was responsible for lighting, helping move the tripod, and every other detail job.
After an hour or two of shooting in this tight space with everyone kind of stacked on top of each other, it was time for lunch.
I had offered to make lunch (in previous phone conversations,) but thank goodness, the Director had relieved me of this responsibility and said they would cater lunch. Denise, the associate director, had identified a nearby Greek restaurant providing take-out meals.
We all sat outside on the deck for lunch and it felt good to be in the open air and out of the cramped studio space. And this outside table was the only surface without something on it for the video shoot.
For me, this was the first time to have people and food come into my house from the outside world in 16 months. What a treat! This "Craft In America" video shoot was my first official break from the hibernation of covid quarantine.
In this photo above (from left side clockwise around the table to the right) is the crew; Denise Kang, Associate Producer; Sidney Libitsch, Director of Photography; Coby Atlas, Director; Sal, Focus (at the end of the table); Mark , Gaffer; Emil, Sound; and me on the right. Bill, my husband, took all of these shots, without which there would be no images of the day and it would all be a blurred, waning memory.
Stay tuned for more images in this photo diary of "Craft In America" in my studio. There is still the fabrication and "interview" on Sunday with a Clapboard initiating Harriete's interview.
Stay tuned to find out how the crew set up and shot the raw content for one segment for a future episode of "Craft in America."
Previous posts in "Craft In America" in my studio are listed below:
A Gigantic Wish Come True...."Craft In America" Visits My Studio