A few months ago I got a call to shoot the cast of The Guild for their new music video! It was very exciting!!! And as usual, I would have very limited time with the talent. If you have been shooting things like this you know the drill… you get the talent in between takes for a couple minutes… and almost never get the entire cast for a group shot. You have to work fast and roll with it.
Yes, even if you get less than a minute with the talent… roll with it, make it count… it has happened so many times where I get someone and have then for just about a minute and then they are gone. Luckily with The Guild cast and crew I have not had this happen… they are great at making time for the cast to get photos done.
On this particular shoot I showed up and started my lighting test at 1:20pm
That’s a stand in… the beautiful lovely Leila Marsh. And that is one of the key parts to actually getting through a shoot fast. Use someone to stand in so you can perfect the lighting. That way once the talent comes in you can make every shot count. I have to thank Drew Gardner for expressing how important this part of a shoot is, I know he didn’t invent the use of a stand in… he just opened my eyes to how much they can help your shoots.
I was shooting on green screen so they could composite the final image together because I was not going to get all of the cast together to just shoot it as one image. This method is nice because then you can take the best shots and make a fantastic final image.
So, after 33 minutes I was able to shoot all of the 5 cast members individually.
So the shoot was done! Or so I thought… just so happens lunch was about to happen and all of the actors were not busy… I was ready to pack up and leave when Felicia runs up and says she has a great idea for a shot… the back alley. Now how am I supposed to shoot this??? I don’t have time to bring lights outside, they have 6 minutes until lunch officially starts (you cannot delay lunch, for various reasons) and like I said earlier… you practically never get the chance to shoot everyone together so this is a really special chance!
I love Felicia’s idea and we all run outside and get started…
Now, how did I light this? Well, if you have ever attended one of our lighting workshops you should know I find the good light if I can’t create it. I don’t care so much about the background because if I just use the light the right way the image should come out good. So off I go for about 20 seconds looking around in the alley for the good light… not looking at the background at all. I don’t think I would have used that background exactly like I did if I had more time… but we will never know because I didn’t have more time… I had 6 minutes. 6 minutes to light, compose, pose and shoot a band photo. AAAAAHHHHHH!!! After my quick assessment I start posing. Then I start shooting… and 6 minutes later:
I finished and had spare time to shoot all the extras with the cast (the photo at the top of this post is the chosen one from this part of the shoot). So in the end I spent a total of 40 minutes shooting and about 10-20 minutes to set up the lighting on the green screen shots…
So now that you know how I did my small part of this… take a few minutes and enjoy watching the super fantastic music video that they made!!!
Finally, I realize budgets are often tight and people can’t always bring in the kind of professionals they want to work with on a shoot, and for some unfortunate reason photography (posters, DVD covers, promotional images, set photography) is almost always a complete afterthought and there isn’t any money left to hire someone good, but unless you bring in someone with experience you just won’t get the same kind of end result. Or even close. I have seen too many BTS photos, DVD covers, etc. that were shot by a friend or fan who owned a camera and was willing to shoot for the exposure or experience or even just to be on set with the talent, and you can always tell. I’m not saying I’m at all the best or even close, I look up to so many people and strive to get better and better, but people do hire us because you can throw any situation at us and our experience, knowledge and personalities allow us to roll with it and deliver.