Diary of a Shoot, Day 3 — The Devil is in the Details

Scouting for Nordic Location

Dialing in one of our final locations.

This morning’s work work was fun and not too hardcore. An 8am call time & roll out. We scouted our remaining locations for shot details–all of them are reasonably close to where we are staying. We’re now comparing all our locations to creative briefs and earlier notes/findings on specific locations.

Much of the work today is referred to as “tech scouting”. That’s a more specific kind of location scouting where we are checking the exact shots, the light at certain times when we’ll be shooting (although that was predominantly a bust today because the weather was really bunk again today…heavy overcast…and it’s starting to make us all a little…well…you know), gathering power needs, parking needs, travel times, really pretty detailed stuff. This is an important thing to do at locations where you know you’ll be shooting.

We were done collecting data and forming opinions on the final locations pretty quickly today – by late morning – and we returned to the hotel to have the “final” production meeting where we lock in the first days of the schedule, location times, production, talent, tech needs. This meeting somewhat of a grind because it’s long, but it’s where tons and tons of important details get worked out. How will we transport the athlete talent from A to B? Will we need a generator at location X, or do we have enough power cable to do Y? What are the detailed weather forecasts, and if the weather is looking like it’s going to be Z on Tuesday, could we do this shot or that shot on Wednesday? Very detailed info, but worth all the hours it takes to ensure a smooth production. We usually do not end this meeting until…[lots more diary, plus 6 or so photos and a bunch of gear if you hit ‘continue reading’…] …several days of shooting are planned in detail. The schedule of a good production is always flexible enough to pounce on opportunity and handle curveballs, but committed and detailed enough to have everyone on the same page. If you missed that last sentence, read it again. Actually, even if you read it, read it again. It’s important.

Crew Planning Meeting 1

Meeting to determine final major on-site production details for the shoot. We will have several of these throughout the week as the project evolves.

In successful productions, this meeting has no ego, no attitude, and is a very collaborative process. Today was (and is always with this client) no exception. Right on target. Everyone has their game face on. And it’s fun to see all the subtleties of each department (creative, styling, tech, grip, etc) coming together. So much smarts in one room – it’s humbling and cool to be a part of such a well-oiled machine.

When the meeting wraps, we grab a late lunch together, and then everyone has a bunch of work to do to get dialed. The CD’s and AD’s are dialing in briefs, shot lists, notes, etc. Producers are on the phone like it’s a part of their head making all the details come together, the stylists and tech/gear people are wrangling their respective stuffs, the digital asset managers are dialing in their computer setups, and we’re all about the creative plans and the gear. How we’re gonna pull off shots ABC when DEF is happening. And here’s a cool twist we could do with this or that. And, of course, the gear. It needs to be tip top and ready to rock tomorrow early. Batteries are charged, cases loaded, bags packed, sensors cleaned, backups checked and double checked and on and on.

Charging the Computer Kit

Charging the Mac Book Pro Kit.

The Nikon Stills Kit

The Nikon Stills Kit.

Various Accessories

Lighting accessories, sound kit, Steadicam, tripod, and various power/grip.

Helmet Cam

Charging up our fun + stealthy GoPro cameras.

Nikon Batteries

And charging batteries galore. And then some.

By the time our end of things is in a good place, it’s 7 or 8 pm. And from there, we don’t overthink our food options – it’s our last night before shooting (read: super duper long hours) starts and we want a dependable, tasty meal where we can relax and talk shop and have fun amongst compadres. We choose Honga’s again–our favorite–and a group of 6 of us heads over. On arrival we see another chunk of the crew just leaving and heading back to the hotel to do more prep. We also see some some of our talent that has just arrived into Telluride for the shoot. It’s great to reconnect with amazing, true athletes that you’ve worked with before. Some of them decide to join us for dinner.

And while I’m on it, that’s another thing I love about my job – working with great talent. It’s so amazing to be surrounded by a wide array of people who are incredibly gifted at whatever they do. Whether their pure athletes, like these folks, models, producers, whomever. This industry is pretty ruthless on people who aren’t cut out for the work. Not much room for inconsistency or lack of high quality delivery on the targets. It has a way of weeding… Suffice it to say, I’m always excited to be in the company of people who love what they are doing and are top notch.

We have a great meal. Noodle bowls, sushi and Thai Basil Beef pretty much all around. And we don’t stay out late – a good night sleep is as good as gold tonight. Erik and Scott are triple checking the gear and I come back to my room, chat with Kate, dial in my headspace, and am out cold as soon as my head hits the pillow at midnight.

Tomorrow is Day 1 of shooting. I hope you’ll join us.

38 Responses to Diary of a Shoot, Day 3 — The Devil is in the Details

  1. Ray Spaddy March 22, 2011 at 7:24 am #

    Always love seeing your gear. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Philip Rawson March 22, 2011 at 7:26 am #

    Did I mention I am liking these posts?

    Excellent info, it reaches just enough depth to keep me wanting more. Good luck on your first day of shooting!

  3. einar March 22, 2011 at 7:32 am #

    Can’t wait for every day to read that diary!!! Fingers crossed for tomorrow

  4. Kurtis Kronk March 22, 2011 at 7:35 am #

    Cool stuff, it’s like being there with you guys, keep up the great diary posts (I’m sure it’s hard to build up the will to do it with everything going on around you, but this stuff is awesome).

    You need a TV show… and Mike Rowe should be involved. Just because.

  5. Mathieu Wauters March 22, 2011 at 7:37 am #

    Thanks for another informative read, Chase. I hope the weather clears out tomorrow. Good luck on the first day of shooting!

  6. Dave March 22, 2011 at 7:44 am #

    Nice as always. How does the MacBook Pro hold up in the cold (battery wise)? I’m guessing you’ve got spare batts, but was just curious.

    Thanks again for taking the time out to give us a BTS. Lovin’ it.

  7. Marek March 22, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    Loving the nitty-gritty-behind-the-scenes-no-holds-barred thing!

  8. Markus Adrian March 22, 2011 at 8:16 am #

    Thanks for sharing, you rock!!!

  9. David Morrison March 22, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    These posts are like watching a great movie. The emerging characters and what if moments are addicting. Thanks for sharing.

    • diala chinedu March 22, 2011 at 10:33 am #

      I agree, its addicting to watch as things unfold…the BTS part of pro photography is as important to learners like me as the end product :-)

  10. Curtis Brandt March 22, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    This is a really fun series of posts, Chase. As always, big thanks for sharing.

  11. Thatcher March 22, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    Nice! About the good athletes, that’s one thing that I wish I had more of. I wanted to shoot so bad, but just couldn’t find anyone that wanted as bad as I did. You are so lucky you have them at your disposal. Kill it!!

  12. Randall Chancellor March 22, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    These posts are great, Chase. Keep them coming.

    BTW, is that a grenade in the lower-left of the “Stills” bag shot? You really are prepared for anything, aren’t you? LOL (j/k, I know it’s the Giotto air blower)

  13. Nicolae Cioloca March 22, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    I love this blogpost !!!

    Every day broken down in pictures and text of what is happening, Im so excited to see the making offs of the next days !!!

    thx Chase !!!


  14. nigel March 22, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    Chase, What bag holds the Nikon stills kit? Cheers.

  15. Tom Varden March 22, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    How many shoots get “tech schouting?” Just the big productions?

  16. Jim Denham March 22, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    I got to tell ya Chase, this is an awesome string to read. It’s great to read (see) what it takes to do what you do. Totally stoked to read the next entry as soon as I read the previous! Thanks for sharing, like you do!

  17. bimal nair March 22, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    All the helluva best Chase! No doubts…..you are going to rock as always and Lord is going to be kind with you on weather for he too loves your work!
    Cheers :)

  18. Duncan Fawkes March 22, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    Chase, this is awesome – great insight! I hope you’ve got the weather you want and shooting day 1 is going well!

  19. David Clarke March 22, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    Chase! Thank-you for these posts. as I am interested in this industry, all of your blog entries are more than I could have hoped to find in order to get behind-the-scenes information. Keep em coming and enjoy the Rockies!

  20. Panos March 22, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    Always awaiting to see your gear packed! Love the LPro full of Nikon :):)

  21. Jesus Hidalgo March 22, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    Well my friend, it’s show time. Since I have no doubt in my mind that you will deliver, all I can look forward to, it’s the amazing results!
    Keep the updates coming, and good luck with your shoot!!

  22. Marc Plouffe March 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    Now I am sure that I don’t want to do commercial photography.

  23. Ted McAusher March 22, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    This is intense. I’m loving these posts

  24. retlaw7 March 22, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    These are great. I hate to say it, but I am so effing jelous of this life, sounds like so much fun.

  25. Robie DuChateau March 22, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    Great Reading so far. Can’t wait for more. I’ve been looking forward to these posts every day after school. So inspirational. I can’t wait to be working this hard with people this talented one day. Hope the weather clears up for ya!

    -Robie D

  26. Arjan Bruinstroop March 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    WOW! This is good to read! Thanks for sharing these stories! Enjoy!

    Arjan B

  27. Matthias Saunders March 22, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    Thanks so much Chase for sharing this adventure with us. As a working pro DP myself, I am very familiar with this process that you are describing. I truly know how busy and focused you are right now. I truly appreciate the effort and energy that you are putting into getting these blog posts up on a daily basis during this shoot. Thank you Chase…..Thank you.

    Matthias Saunders

  28. jeremy March 22, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    there is no book for this, no magazine article you can read…this stuff is gold…gold i tell you. and for the small town one man photography shop, its a world of help. I can say thank you only so many times, so next time you come out with a book or (please?) do a teaching/seminar tour like the flash bus, i’ll say thank you with my dollars :-)

  29. Brian March 22, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

    Awesome seeing what goes into planning a shoot like this! keep ‘em coming!

  30. Amy Kim March 22, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

    Hi Chase-

    I’ve been following your blog for a couple weeks now. I was in Telluride last week doing my own humble shoots and then spending a day in Denver REI. So, it sort of feels like deja-vu all over again. Thank you for your posts, they are wonderful.

  31. Jim March 22, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

    First off, I’m on my brand new iPad2. (thanks for humoring me)
    Secondly, I’m sure I’m not the only one coping with the growing man-crush. I’m sure it’s really admiration and envy, but whatever…I’d let you buy me dinner.
    Keep up the good work!

  32. nate parker March 23, 2011 at 3:50 am #

    great series Chase, i love a good serial, can’t wait for day 1 of shooting to begin!

  33. fas March 23, 2011 at 5:47 am #

    That is a homogeneously expensive peace of gear. I went crazy seeing your camera kt.

  34. Pepijn March 23, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    Wow Chase, I’m really enjoying these posts. thanks

  35. Danielkphoto March 23, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    Another wonderful blog post!

  36. Danie Nel March 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    Glad to see I’m not the only one with batteries coming out my ears. I built myself a “power”-station to keep all my chargers in etc. So it’s all in one big container (basically a plastic toolbox, Macgyvered into hosting plugs, multiplugs and chargers).

    You’re right. The details is where the jam comes in. Man. Great post.

  37. Mark March 25, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    I’m going through and trying to total up what we’ve got in the stills bag. Looks like:

    -D3s x3
    -70-200mm f2.8 VRII
    -14-24mm f2.8 (?)
    -24-70mm f.28 (?)

    What else do we have?

    It’d be nice to have a rundown of exactly what goes in the stills bag for this exact shoot, especially when we’re getting teased by looking at it!

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