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 On the Road with Tyler - Part 1

 Roger & Jeff at Tyler Perry  



For the last seventeen years, I have been “Tied to the bench”, performing video service on cameras, decks, and camera alignment set-ups. Prior to “Macie Video Service” I worked in the broadcast industry as a video technician (shader) and maintenance tech. The function I liked the best was working with field cameras used on small to large remotes. Here you get a chance to improve the picture quality and please a lot of people. Compare that to just fixing a deck.

At Macie Video I perform the same basic function I did prior, but never actually going out on remotes. I did however sneak out of the shop for a PBS digibeta shoot a few years ago. All the cameras were pre-matched in the shop, and I helped out on the engineering end with the set-up. Prior to September 2006, I was the only one in the shop that performed camera alignments. Our five other technicians and I were too busy keeping up with the work load to find the time for training.

Finally, in September of 2006, I was able to break the cycle, and found the time to get Paul Celona involved with camera set-up and matching. This was terrific, because with this I could take a vacation for more than just one week! Well to say the least, Paul took to cameras like a duck takes to water!

In December just two days before leaving on a two week Florida vacation I had an accident and severely fractured my ankle and could not work for five weeks. Not a problem! Paul took over and life at Macie Video went on with out loss of a single heart beat.

My time at home, leg up, turned out to be a blessing from God. I decided to concentrate on a total make-over of - the site I co-own with Barbara Holler of New Pro Video. I took more than five hundred online lessons with Dreamweaver and other web development software. I am now currently finishing up my training on another web-based database program for our Freelance Listing Guide and Net Police, but that’s another story.

Anyway, in February, I got a call from Jeff Christian of “Reel Shorts” who was doing an HD shoot for the Food Network with chef Tyler Florence. He asked if I could help with the engineering set-up and look of the show. Both cameras were already set-up in our shop. I said, what the heck, it was just a train ride a way in New York City.

With Paul taking care of camera business back in the shop I felt comfortable with this new adventure of leaving the shop. It turned out to be a great experience being back in the field with a terrific HD production.

The kitchen used for the show was set-up in a small studio in the city. Two cameras were used - a Panasonic AJ-HDC27 Varicam and an AJ-HDX900, both of which were already set-up in our shop. What I found interesting and different from that previous remote I had done, was that it was shot “Film Style”, a method that was different than what I was used to. Instead of having a video operator actually shading the shows as they were shot, the lighting was set-up so that little if any “iris” control was needed during the taping.

The lighting director - Tony Gotta from LA, was the best I have ever worked with on any location shoot. Using a key combination of a strong side light and front lighting, shots from any angle looked great. While having this dramatic lighting combination, riding a remote iris was not necessary. That is part of the “Film Style” method used along with recording in camcorder. Camera cutting was performed later in editing.

Back in the old days, with many of the remote shoots, we would either use a remote truck, or build a “control room” complete with monitor bank, and video switcher, a Director, Technical Director (who switches cameras), and video technician who shaded cameras during taping. Shooting film style sure simplifies things. Of course the extra work load of the project is made up by the Editor who pretty much replaces the missing switching gear and technical director I mentioned. 

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