“Have Blimp, Will Travel”
That used to be the “shout out” to all the publicists and producers who hire set photographers for their feature films and TV series produced in Ontario, both Northern and Southern. I say, “used to,” as with the advent of mirrorless cameras and the electronic shutter, the SLR silenced by the blimp is becoming both redundant and anachronistic.
I divide the Province in two as Northern Ontario, most notably Sudbury and North Bay, as they have become mecca for producers due to the tax credits available for labour costs.
And in the film and TV business, every nickel and dime is counted and watched by a number of levels within a production.
Hence this past March I worked up in North Bay on a show called “Cardinal” for CTV, in a frozen park full of little lakes, and came home with frostbite on my nose! Of all places… Did I think of greasing up that part of my body… nooooo. Call it a war wound… in -20 C. We had tents with heaters going for warmth between takes.
More than likely you’ll see me looking like the photo next to the wagon wheel as winter productions are not the norm. Cameras are rolling more likely from April – December in Ontario.
Last year I worked on two productions in Northern Ontario, Honey Bee (see photo by the 24 hr. neon sign) and Bad Blood Season 2, both of which I was hired for the duration of each production, which simply means I got the job and shot all required photographic elements of and for the production.
These elements include: a) Set Stills on the days required by production for the publicity department, and that entails positioning myself as close to the A or B camera while they shoot the action, so I can get photos of the action.
An important aspect of set stills is rendering myself with “invisibility.” I use that word in an artistic sense, as it is a learned skill, just as a musician learns to play an instrument. Timelines and meshing with the crew are learned and practiced over the years. It makes life easier for the stills photographer, and also the actors. Typically the actor will never look directly at camera when shooting a scene.(more…)