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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old May 13th, 2008, 03:59 PM   #1
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"Learning to Fly"

So the save the date video I was going to do with the couple painting their date on a wall was postponed because I ordered a Merlin and wanted to use it for the shoot. However, while awaiting it's arrival I've gotten another idea in my head for the shoot.

The couple works at the airport, and have mentioned several times that they have "access" if we want to shoot something there. In fact, I think they would prefer to shoot something there, as it relates so their lives.

So the other idea I started formulating is this ...

Take the Foo Fighters song, "Learn to Fly", and put together a video that mimics the original (do a search on YouTube if you don't know it). I'd leave out the drug smuggling humor, but I would keep the idea that the couple would play all of the roles of the people on the plane. It would require a number of costumes, and significantly more planning and preparation on my part, but it could be a lot of fun. I'm still trying to figure out a good way to tie in their wedding date, since this is a "save the date" video. I was thinking maybe the flight number could be their wedding date.

Anyways, any thoughts on this idea? Suggestions? Warnings?
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Old May 13th, 2008, 06:11 PM   #2
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Travis,

I used to have a partner, and he is a 767 Captain for a major airline with about as much pull as you would think one would have at an airport. Well, we had a destination wedding in Italy so we dropped by the airport one day to shoot some B-Roll footage to tie in the destination theme.....and my partner at the time got permission for us to shoot there from TSA and the airport police. 2 minutes into shooting airport police shut us down.....and on top of that my partner yanked out his credentials and all while they were harassing us and they could care less.
I'm not saying this will happen to you, just have a plan b in case you get shut down. TSA and airport police are known for having "i have power" attitudes and they use it. We still got the footage we wanted in the end.

Sounds like a cool shoot you have.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 06:18 PM   #3
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I was wondering about this myself. I'd hate to go to all the work to storyboard this concept (and it would HAVE to be storyboarded) and plan for it and then get shut down and have nothing.

Were you shooting IN the airport or outside or where? I'm thinking I could maybe get away with shooting everything inside a hangar.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 09:10 PM   #4
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Travis-

We were shooting outside the airport. I think if you can get access to a hangar that would be great....at least you're not out in the open but hangars are not the most scenic locations....I guess it depends on what you're going for style wise.
If there are planes in the hangar....you can count on a maintenance crew being around....as they have work to do on or around the aircraft. there will also be a lot....and I mean a lot of background noise if you need dialog from your talent this may be a real challenge if your shoot will be at a major airport.

I would also hedge a bet that the airport officials would require some sort of filming permit. Even though your clients work at the airport and claim they have permission....this may not be enough.

It's one thing if you are run and gun shotting but if you are story boarding this shoot.....this tends to turn into a small hollywood production....and it becomes more noticeable to officials around the airport.

Here in Los Angeles....it is very easy to get shut down while shooting in a lot of locations in public places.

I would contact whoever your clients claim they have permission from and feel them out....who are they, and how much power do they have at the airport.
Even though this is a small level shoot....it will still take up a bunch of your time and if you have to stop shooting for whatever reasons this can obviously ruin your shoot or at the least cause you to rework everything....and more time spent on it.

I have worked in television as a cam op for a long time now....and even while shooting for hollywood, the producers would still break the rules a lot in regards to shooting locations to save money on film permits......and we've been shut down on several occasions while in public places.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 10:51 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Joe Allen Rosenberger View Post
Travis-

We were shooting outside the airport. I think if you can get access to a hangar that would be great....at least you're not out in the open but hangars are not the most scenic locations....I guess it depends on what you're going for style wise.
If there are planes in the hangar....you can count on a maintenance crew being around....as they have work to do on or around the aircraft. there will also be a lot....and I mean a lot of background noise if you need dialog from your talent this may be a real challenge if your shoot will be at a major airport.

I would also hedge a bet that the airport officials would require some sort of filming permit. Even though your clients work at the airport and claim they have permission....this may not be enough.

It's one thing if you are run and gun shotting but if you are story boarding this shoot.....this tends to turn into a small hollywood production....and it becomes more noticeable to officials around the airport.

Here in Los Angeles....it is very easy to get shut down while shooting in a lot of locations in public places.

I would contact whoever your clients claim they have permission from and feel them out....who are they, and how much power do they have at the airport.
Even though this is a small level shoot....it will still take up a bunch of your time and if you have to stop shooting for whatever reasons this can obviously ruin your shoot or at the least cause you to rework everything....and more time spent on it.

I have worked in television as a cam op for a long time now....and even while shooting for hollywood, the producers would still break the rules a lot in regards to shooting locations to save money on film permits......and we've been shut down on several occasions while in public places.
Thanks for the response. Yes, a hangar would work for what I have in mind because most of the shots would be within the plane itself. No on-location audio would be used either, so no issues with background noise. In fact, since the shoot is primarily inside the plane, I'll bet I'd be less likely to make security nervous.

Still, I know I'm up against the odds that this will go well. Thanks again for the insight.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 12:24 AM   #6
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Well, if you're going to be in the plane....that sounds like the ticket for success....good luck.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 10:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Allen Rosenberger View Post
I used to have a partner, and he is a 767 Captain for a major airline with about as much pull as you would think one would have at an airport. Well, we had a destination wedding in Italy so we dropped by the airport one day to shoot some B-Roll footage to tie in the destination theme.....and my partner at the time got permission for us to shoot there from TSA and the airport police. 2 minutes into shooting airport police shut us down.....and on top of that my partner yanked out his credentials and all while they were harassing us and they could care less.
I'm not saying this will happen to you, just have a plan b in case you get shut down. TSA and airport police are known for having "i have power" attitudes and they use it. We still got the footage we wanted in the end.

Sounds like a cool shoot you have.
I got beat to the punch. Nothing like sneaking in an airport or being somewhere shooting video of potential targets to make the security people come running.

Honestly, I would avoid it if at all possible. There are some serious long term risks to being somewhere at an airport that you have no permission to be. Like TSA listing. Do you like the full body wand treatment? Because the TSA can make sure that your flier profile comes up with that "risk" flag each time. I wish that were an exaggeration.

I would try an alternate location that isn't off limits, like the hanger area for private planes or something along those lines. The access restrictions there are usually beyond the review of the TSA. Yes the sights and equipment will not be the same.... but you at least get the "aiport" stuff taken care of.

Another idea is to do as much as you can outside of the secured area. But keep in mind that someone shooting footage of ANYTHING at an airport is still likely to causes suspicions to be heightened.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 10:42 AM   #8
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Jason, I definitely wasn't planning on "sneaking" into the airport to do the shoot. I would only do this if the B&G could get the proper approvals.

The groom is the manager for an airline here in Boise (wife works with a different airline at the airport, but not sure of her role), so he might have more pull than say a pilot (as in Joe's case), but maybe not. I guess I'm really just banking on them having access to a company hangar with a company plane inside. I could go to a smaller, private hangar, but then I wouldn't have access to a decent sized plane probably.

The other issue for me at this point is costumes. I'd like to have pilot outfits for the B&G, landing crew, loading crew, steward/stewardess, as well as a number of different passenger looks. This could be tough to pull off, especially getting the "airport-related" outfits.

Logistics and location are a big concern right now, and that's not even touching trying to shoot a piece where the B&G play multiple roles in a tight cramped shooting space. Still, the piece has such potential that I'm willing to give it a shot still. I'm probably crazy and just need to be committed, though. d:-)
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Old May 14th, 2008, 12:49 PM   #9
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I'm not talking about sneaking. I'm talking about being somewhere that TSA thinks you should not be, regardless of approval from whatever airport official you need to have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
The other issue for me at this point is costumes. I'd like to have pilot outfits for the B&G, landing crew, loading crew, steward/stewardess, as well as a number of different passenger looks. This could be tough to pull off, especially getting the "airport-related" outfits.

Logistics and location are a big concern right now, and that's not even touching trying to shoot a piece where the B&G play multiple roles in a tight cramped shooting space. Still, the piece has such potential that I'm willing to give it a shot still. I'm probably crazy and just need to be committed, though. d:-)

The costumer issue will add significantly to the shoot time. Obviously you will need to shoot sections that use the same costume in the same block of time, that way there is less time spent changing back and forth. I hope you have some good story boarding skills (I have not needed to do any advanced storyboarding) because this project sure does require them. Shot list with talent & props, then arranged into a shoot order, etc. I hope you are getting compensated well for this because it sounds like a lot of work.

I'm quite excited to see the result. Honestly it sounds like such a great opportunity. Probably going to be far more work than you could charge to recoup the time involved, but would make for one heck of a sample to show future couples. Let me know if you need a second shooter or a grip for diffusers / bounce. :-)
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Old May 14th, 2008, 12:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
The groom is the manager for an airline here in Boise (wife works with a different airline at the airport, but not sure of her role), so he might have more pull than say a pilot (as in Joe's case), but maybe not. I guess I'm really just banking on them having access to a company hangar with a company plane inside. I could go to a smaller, private hangar, but then I wouldn't have access to a decent sized plane probably.
One option if you don't have access to the "big planes" would be to shoot the exterior of one pulling up to a gate, door opening, etc, and then cutting to a tight shot of whatever plane you have available in the hanger with the talent standing in the door. Even if the hanger plane is much much smaller, at least it is a plane and with enough cuts back outside, or use if semi-fish-eye lenses you can make it look bigger.

Actually, that reminds me, with the tight conditions and the notoriously narrow field of view for the GL2, I hope you have a WD58 or something else like that to help widen the view so your camera can fit where it needs to be to get the shots.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 12:58 PM   #11
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Yeah, I'm definitely not getting paid what it worth to do this, but I'm okay with that in this case because I plan to use the piece to get more work and just also as a learning shoot. The couple in question also purchased my top package, so I'm willing to give them some extra attention.

As for storyboarding, I'm not good with the actual drawing/sketching, but I'm great with the planning and I have the visual in my head. There is storyboarding software out there, and I have considered getting some in the past, but it just hasn't proven to be financially smart just yet.

Oh, and if I need a second hand on the shoot, I'll be sure to let you know. Thanks!
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Old May 14th, 2008, 01:04 PM   #12
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One option if you don't have access to the "big planes" would be to shoot the exterior of one pulling up to a gate, door opening, etc, and then cutting to a tight shot of whatever plane you have available in the hanger with the talent standing in the door. Even if the hanger plane is much much smaller, at least it is a plane and with enough cuts back outside, or use if semi-fish-eye lenses you can make it look bigger.

Actually, that reminds me, with the tight conditions and the notoriously narrow field of view for the GL2, I hope you have a WD58 or something else like that to help widen the view so your camera can fit where it needs to be to get the shots.
Basically I just want a plane that has side-by-side seating. A small plane with one set of seats on each side is going to be too small. But a plane with 2 sets of seats on each side would be perfect. I don't need anything larger than that.

I do have 2 WD58's at my disposal, so no worries there. Lighting could be a challenge, though. If the plane's interior lights can be on, then we're okay. If not, I don't think this shoot will work because the lighting won't look right. Like I said, lots of logistics, lol.
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