It's Easy; All they want it perfection.

We go back a long way with Christine Lee Halbig who now hails from the Boston University Health Policy Research Institute and is working with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  She is helping to revamp a website and wanted to incorporate much more video content,  and to include more extemporaneous answers that were excised from video interviews. So she's been criss-crossing the country setting up video crews at the locations where her interviewees were already meeting. 

In Boston we were happy to be her crew. 

The nice thing about knowing somene for the better part of a decade is that you can speak your expectations plainly. Christine made her expectations clear with one simple statement: "I was promised perfection."

I suppose that might seem like a tough standard, but we've been doing almost this exact shoot for the last fifteen years. These days most of the projects we work on are multicamera, live streamed, or part of a show with multiple video roll-ins, a live audience and several video projectors. There are a lot of moving peices (and a lot of last minute changes). While we generally get it right, those gigs can really keep you on your toes.

Christine's statement reminded us that we were back in the the comfort zone of a single camera interview in a mostly controlled setting, with a director/interviewer and plenty of time to slow down and approach things in a more craftsman-like manner. It was really quite nice. 

Did we acheive perfection? Well the audio guy stopped the interview a couple of times due to sirens in the back ground, and he did complain about the air conditioning system; and the Director of Photography would have liked it if there was more available power for lights. But the important thing is that only our staff was complaining.  The footage looks and sounds great.  Darned near perfect!

College Fest 2011

Tara modeling our "Helmet" Camera.This weekend Boston Event Works, and Mr Youth, brought us in to help with some of the tech at the 2011  College Fest. Over the years, College Fest has grown into a pretty big event with a lot of moving pieces. This year we provided Chrome Books, MiFi's, DJ Gear, Wireless Microphones, Radios, Flat Panel Displays, Cameras, Post Production Services, File Hosting and Staffing . . . Not to mention a fair bit of know how and more than just a smidge of improvising.

Case in point, Mid-afternoon on Friday it was decided that we needed "Helmet Cameras." Getting the cameras from one of our partners was no problem, but the head gear is not generally included ...

Yes, Those are fender washers and commodity hardware.Not wanting to let a client down, we uttered the phrase that so often escapes our lips: "I'll figure something out."  A few ideas were thrown around--Gaffe Tape / Visor / Drill Press / Hard Hat--but in the end we solved the problem with a $6 trip to Home Depot, a couple of promotional hats we had in the closet, and Seth's Gerber multi-plier.

College fest seemed to get a pretty good response this year, and we think that its high-energy, give-it-a-go attitude is a big part of that. We love the "Can We Do _____?" questions that come up in those environments, and we're looking forward to improvising something new next year.

Send in the Experts

Danna MarksonSo we were back in New Jersey working on the Someday Melissa documentary with Ken and Jerry. We needed to get some expert insight on what Melissa and her family were going through, so we interviewed Dr. Leslie Sanders and Danna Markson, both of whom are leading experts on eating disorders. We also got a chance to speak with Andrew, Melissa's Brother.

These are some pretty tough interviews, but we are getting some very powerful content.

Back into Production

A stil from our interview with Steve, Melissa's FriendNormally when we take on a post production job we focus on "editing." Specifically editng with a lower case "e". Most of the jobs that pay the bills arrive with a script and footage, or a script and we create the footage. The Someday Melissa project is a little different. This time we're "Editing." Specifically editing with a capital "E". Our first step was to totally deconstruct the existing cut of the film, and then to offer notes on issues ranging from sound signal and footage quality to the number of interviews, the style of questioning and the structure and focus of the film.

Once we were sure that we and the producing team were on the same page, we suggested a new structure and made some very rough suggestions on style. We also suggested that we reshoot the core interviews and bring them to High Defination as well as mitigating some varriation in the shooting style and sound quality.

To their credit the producers of Someday Melissa were willing to trust us and go back into production. So now were starting to roll tape (Er flip bits?) again and we are building the project from the core on up.

Seth Wereska and Geoff Briggs headed down to New Jersey to supervise the shoot and conduct the interview. We pulled in Ken Kelsch to act as our Director of Photography, and Jerry Stein to record sound.

So far we've interviewed Judy--Melissa's Mom, Emma and Steve--Both Melissa's Friends. We'll be back in New Jersey at least once more to talk to some experts and see if we can talk to Melissa's brother.