On Set-"Ready for Hillary" in Iowa

One of the highlights of my summer work-wise was getting to film for the "Ready For Hillary" PAC in Iowa a few weeks ago for the guys at Chi/Donahoe + Cole/Duffey.  

The shoot was a whirlwind, coming on the heels of being on a different shoot in NYC the full week previous, I wrapped that shoot at 2pm Friday, taxied to LaGuardia and hopped on a 4pm flight to Des Moines, cutting it pretty close.  Didn't get to the hotel till after midnight, then out the door Saturday morning for a full day of shooting/prep for the main event on Sunday.

The reason for all the hubbub.  Hillary speaking at the (last) annual Harkin Steak Fry outside Des Moines, Iowa.

The reason for all the hubbub.  Hillary speaking at the (last) annual Harkin Steak Fry outside Des Moines, Iowa.

 The video was for Ready For Hillary, a PAC that has been traveling around the country in conjunction with Hillary's recent book tour, drumming up support for a "possible" run in 2016.  We followed the bus around Des Moines for a bit Saturday, getting some beauty shots of the tour in motion.  

Jim and I framing our shot of the tour bus driving near the capital building in Des Moines.

Jim and I framing our shot of the tour bus driving near the capital building in Des Moines.

The main event was Senator Harkin's annual Steak Fry, which he's been doing for the last 30+ years.  This was the last as he is stepping down.  There was a crowd of over 10,000 people that showed up Sunday in a farm field, a lot of them there to see Hillary and Bill speak (and many hoping, in vain, for a special announcement from Hillary).  Over 300 press were also there (CNN, C-SPAN, MSNBC, etc).  It was quite a zoo.  

Later on at the Steak Fry, on top of the bus getting a few crowd shots.  I was happy to see they made it into the final cut.

Later on at the Steak Fry, on top of the bus getting a few crowd shots.  I was happy to see they made it into the final cut.

Getting ready for one of many quick interviews for the video with some of the people attending.  

Getting ready for one of many quick interviews for the video with some of the people attending.  

From the staff photographer (and also Producer-extraordinaire), Aaron.  Lots of Hillary fans lining up to get in.

From the staff photographer (and also Producer-extraordinaire), Aaron.  Lots of Hillary fans lining up to get in.

The whole "Steak Fry" thing was a little confusing- no steaks were fried.  I guess that's just how Iowans say "cookout."  The real media-frenzy moment came when Hillary and Bill arrived and went to the main grill to "fry" some steaks.  It was quite a spectacle.  300+ media people cramming around an L-shaped fence, all jockeying for a shot of the Clintons at the grill.  Once there, they just poked at the meat for 10 seconds and then held it up on two spatulas for the media to get their shots, then walked off to the stage.  Such a coordinated, complicit publicity stunt, which is par for the course, I'm sure, but seemed pretty silly at the time.

Jim getting his shot.  The camera man to his right fell off his stool just after this was taken, to which none of the other media offered to help.  Bunch of cut-throats.

Jim getting his shot.  The camera man to his right fell off his stool just after this was taken, to which none of the other media offered to help.  Bunch of cut-throats.

I'm somewhere in there, all the way around to the left corner, one row back.  Managed to squeeze in and get a few decent shots of the steak frying which also made it into the final cut. 

I'm somewhere in there, all the way around to the left corner, one row back.  Managed to squeeze in and get a few decent shots of the steak frying which also made it into the final cut. 

The main event, Hillary, Senator Harkin, Bill, and Mrs. Harkin.  Everyone wanted Hillary to announce, but she didn't.  In fact, her speech really didn't say anything.  Bill was as funny and charming as ever.  The man's got people skills.

The main event, Hillary, Senator Harkin, Bill, and Mrs. Harkin.  Everyone wanted Hillary to announce, but she didn't.  In fact, her speech really didn't say anything.  Bill was as funny and charming as ever.  The man's got people skills.

I will post the video once it's live, but saw the final cut and it looks great!  These guys do awesome work.

On Set- Emily Cain #2

Working again with the talented guys at Gum Spirits Productions (aka Chi/Donahoe + Cole/Duffey) on a shoot in Bangor, ME yesterday.  Pulling up to the first location, got a cool surprise.  We were filming across the street from this house. Props to anyone who can guess the author that lives here (hint: look closely at the gate). [answer below]

Stephen King's house in Bangor, Maine

Stephen King's house in Bangor, Maine

He was the first author that got me to read on my own for pleasure as a kid, and his Dark Tower series is my favorite of his works.  Except for book 7- I still don't get what happened at the end there, or when the characters in his book meet and talk with Stephen King, in the book.  Weird moment.  

The shoot was another political spot for Dem candidate for US Congress, Emily Cain.  It was a busy, long day with 4 locations and multiple groupings of people and a many scripts, but also included a stop at a cabin on a lake and strawberry rhubarb pie.  Can't beat that end to a work day.  

Setup for first location of the day, awaiting the interviewee.

Setup for first location of the day, awaiting the interviewee.

Two camera setup for the first location interview (I covered profile).  It was early morning, so the sun was moving fast across the windows in the background.  Took a little work to keep the white blinds from blowing out and bringing in enough subject lighting (with bounce board and LED light to the right with umbrella).  Thankfully the sun was moving in our favor and by the time we rolled it was mostly off the background windows.  Final shot looked nice though.

Dem Emily Cain candidate for US Congress in Maine's 2nd district.

Dem Emily Cain candidate for US Congress in Maine's 2nd district.

On Set- Emily Cain Campaign Video

Two days working on a few campaign videos for Emily Cain up in the Bangor area.  The spots were produced/directed by Gum Spirits Productions, a group of really talented, passionate filmmakers.  They also happen to be really great people to boot, which is always a huge plus.   

Emily Cain campaign video set-up

Emily Cain campaign video set-up

A lot of driving time as the her district is up in Bangor, but I always appreciate the chance to explore more of Maine.  

My Epic was the b-cam and it worked great (despite breaking my shotgun mic cold shoe earlier in the week, hence the camera tape mount in the picture above).  Shot mostly 4k at 10:1 compression, using both my Canon 50mm 1.2 and Tokina 11-16 2.8.  Used the 50mm for the interviews to punch in for a nice medium/close-up, and the 11-16 for some wide-angle b-roll clips.  Cropped in at 4k, the 50 is closer to 62mm and the 11-16 becomes a 14-20, which is also nice because it loses any vignetting or distortion you might get on 5k at 11mm wide open.  Really impressed with the quality of the Tokina, and am understanding why so many red users love this lens.