My first live TV broadcast

In this thread I asked a factual question about what the ‘reasonable and customary’ fee is for a live TV broadcast. Now, the rest of the story:

As I said in GQ, a producer from FOX called the studio and asked us if we could go to Couer d’Alene, Idaho to cover a breaking news story about missing kids. Their regular crew and other crews they contacted in Seattle were not answering phones. Holiday weekend, and all. So they called Shutterdog. Jerry wasn’t sure we should do it, but I convinced him it would be fun. He stressed out during the entire 400-mile trip. I told him, ‘You gotta stop with the negative waves, Moriarty!’

When we were about half-way there, he thought about lights. ‘What if they want lights? All they asked for was a camera, two guys, and a microphone. Do you think we should have brought lights?’ Then there was the weather. ‘What if it’s raining? We don’t have a cover for the camera!’ Worry, worry, worry! We didn’t even know what we were going to shoot. Press conference? A long shot in front of the police station?

We got to Couer d’Alene as lightning slashed the sky. We were asked how long it would take for us to set up – you know, lights and stuff. Aiyiyi. Just the things Jerry had worried about. Turns out, we were to shoot the on-air personality in a field at the fairgrounds, and also shoot interviews with the police, another guy, and the waitress who recognised the missing girl and kept her occupied until police arrived. Jerry has lots of friends in Spokane, but there was no time to obtain a lighting kit. We ‘hit the ground taping’, as it were. The best we could do was for me to go over to Home Depot and get some painter’s floods. How embarassing! :o There are the other crews out there with their Moles and whatnot, and we’ve got a bloody twin-halogen! And in case you don’t know, there’s this thing called ‘colour temperature’. Daylight exteriors need ‘blue’ lights (5,600ºK). Our lights just made the FOX guy look tanned. Oh, the pain!

I have to say that the producer was very understanding. He knew that we are not an ENG team, and he knew that the producer who called Shutterdog did not provide any detail about what’s going on. He, the guy in the satallite truck, and the on-air reporter were all very nice. Jerry told everyone up-front that ENG wasn’t our gig, and the producer said, ‘Jump in and swim!’

The footage looked good on the monitor. Jerry manned the camera and took orders from New York. He could tell the director was pleased. Whew! Everything worked out! FOX got their footage, and it went out live.

The on-air guy (I wish I could remember his name!) said, ‘You’re staying at the same hotel as us, right?’ Nope. The woman who set this gig up hadn’t booked us. We just jumped in the Jeep and drove. No worries. Jerry has friends in the area, as I said. We met Jerry’s ex-g/f and headed over to her place. I followed in my car. Jerry called to say that the regular crew had shown up, so we were done. Seems they did check the answerphone after all. The producer-guy seemed a bit embarassed that he had a crew out there (us), and that the people they always worked with were now out there as well. It’s okay though. We were to have had an 0400 call for today, we would have had to have tracked down lights from Jerry’s friends (on a Sunday in the middle of a holiday weekend), and we would also need gels or filters to balance the colour. It was a relief.

All in all, it was a good experience. Lesson learned: Always bring ‘all’ of your gear – even if they don’t ask for it. The producer-guy seemed to appreciate that we jumped right in and pulled it off. (It was frustrating and fun that we had to ‘MacGiver’ the shoot, but it worked!) He said he’d hire us again…

But next time, we’ll be better prepared. At the very least, I’m going to get a couple of dichromatic filters to balance my light kit to daylight. Had we brought the lights, we would have had to make-do with blue gels – better than nothing.) Better yet, I’ll have to look into getting a small HMI light. We had fun, we learned a lot, and we know know enough so that we look forward to doing it again.

After hanging out with Jerry’s ex for a bit, we hit the road at 2300. I ‘dozed’ for an hour, but every time I dropped off, a song came up on the iPod that I didn’t want to hear or I started snoring and woke myself up. We swapped seats, and I drove us the rest of the way home. I dropped Jerry off at the studio at 0430, and I was home and in my rack by quarter-past-five.

And so went the first live boradcast by Shutterdog Media! :slight_smile:

Reckon I’ll go first…

Congrats Johnny! Hope this if the first of many for ya’ll. :slight_smile: It’s good to see things working our for ya.

Holy crap, Johnny! You got to film one of the reports on the Groene kids?

I hope this turns into a big break for you guys.

Opps. Dichroic filters. I was still alseep. :o

Apparently, I’m still asleep ‘Opps’ should ahve been ‘Oops’!

Thanks, pullin and Morgyn. Yes, it was the Groene kids. What a weird experience. I mean, it was going to be a boring Saturday. I’d planned to watch the rest of From The Earth To The Moon, and then pop in Cosmos. Suddenly it’s go, go, go! It felt good to be on a mission.

I’m still horribly embarrassed that we had to use shop lights. Jerry came round just after I posted the OP because he’d left his wallet in my car. We started looking for HMI lights. Hideously expensive. A new kit from B&H is almost $7,800. Cheaper on eBay of course (under two kilobucks for a 1.2K), but that’s still a chunk of change. I’m going to buy dichroic filters. They’re only $130 each new, and there are a couple on eBay for less. ‘The Poor Man’s HMIs’ to be sure, but they’ll do.

Bottom line though, is that we showed up when no one else was available. We ‘faked the funk’, and the images were good. (Jerry talked to his ex, who saw the footage this morning, and she said ‘It looked like the news.’) We learned a lot, and we’ll be better prepared next time.

And I’m looking forward to next time! Lots more fun than weddings, and less hassle than commercial videos. With a nod to Morgyn: This may not be ‘the big break’, but it’s a step toward it. :wink:

Congratulations on getting the call and coming through for them! It sounds as though the producer was suitably impressed with your MacGyver-ing, which probably made you more memorable than if you had shown up with your lighting kit.

I hope this marks the start of a whole series of interesting assignments! You deserve the break.

Shutterdog out of Seattle? I think I hired your partner once when I was working in Vancouver…

But yeah, you ALWAYS want to bring ALL your gear (including your cell phone charger) when called out for ENG, because the guy booking you has one priority: get you on the effin road and heading toward the scene as fast as humanly possible. Everything else will change between being hired and when you arrive at the location, so you never know what you’re gonna need anyway, and the more gear you have, the better off you’ll be.

Ahhhhhh, Johnny. First of all, Mazel Tov on your first gig !! Second of all, god do I feel your pain. After more than 20 years of access to the real toys, I had to go out on a shoot with a 2.5 HMI that wound up with a broken ballast- giving me NO light for my last shot.

I was so mad that I went and built my own sungun system. Email me please, and we can talk offline about cheap, simple, very bright sources to take in the field that are A) not hot and B) proper color temp.

A LOT of things about shooting with zero notice can be frustrating, but you got your footage out. And hey- New York liked it? Right on. You can build on that. I got a gig with Nightline a few weeks ago, the day after I bought a camera in the hopes I might get work with it. ( lucky week for me ). I got the gig and immediately bought sticks and a wide-angle adaptor for the camera. The two days of work paid for the sticks and adaptor, but no more. As it turns out, those two accessories were necessities and I’m glad I went with my instincts- which told me that a camera alone was not a package. I had to have the tools I was used to shooting with.

Came to pass that, although it was a Steadicam job, I did a ton of B Roll shots with the sticks and needed the wide angle adaptor for all of the second day’s work.

So, you go with what you can and slowly build up your package. It’s the way of the world. I hope you get more, and more gigs !!


YAY for you!

Did you get to look around and see how pretty the lake area is ?

What a creepy story to pop your cherry.

Don’t forget the lights.

Bellingham – which is one of the things that makes it so weird. I have this image of the woman callint the regular crew in Seattle and getting an answerphone. Leave a message, call the next crew. Now joy. Call the next crew. Nope. Okay, maybe there’s someone in Everett? Uh-uh. Working north… Bellingham… Shutterdog… A human answers the phone!

Thanks! I’ll e-mail you.

Ironically, we have a ton of gear. Two JVC GY DV500Us (entry-level broadcast cameras – we did notice old Beta machines and a JVC '5000 there) that look the part and deliver the goods, a jib, three excellent sets of Bogen sticks (two regular and one baby – relatively cheap, but just as good as the expensive ones), a Lowel DP Remote Kit, three Lowel Pro-Lights and a V-light, a box full of little 600w Colortrans, two Colortran 2K fresnels, 2K and 4K cyc-lights (scoops), light stands, C-stand, the skateboard dolly I made, wireless Sennheiser mike, Sennheiser boom mike and fish pole, blahblahblah… It’s a lot more gear than most wedding videographers (who tend to use prosumer cameras) have or need. Basically, we’re set up for small indie productions in video and 16mm – but not for ENG. Still, the Lowel kit would have been very useful Saturday. I did buy three dichroic filters on eBay yesterday.

No, but Jerry lived in Spokane for a while. As for the story: If it wasn’t creepy, then I guess it wouldn’t have been so important to get a crew out there. At least we didn’t have to shoot sheets on the ground.

Congratulations on that! :slight_smile:

I love that movie, and recognized the quote immeditely! I use that one all the time and no one else ever gets it. Gotta love the 'Dope.

Good for you. It’s sure fun to rise to the occasion and make things work out.

We got a phone call yesterday afternoon. They wanted us back. But it was the holiday, it was afternoon, and we’re 400 miles away. There’s no way we’d be able to get the gear and drive to Idaho in time to make the broadcast. I guess they thought we were in Spokane.