Although I didn’t know it then, and I didn’t call it or know the term “blog”, I was inspired by a book I read on a plane to make notes about all of the noteworthy things that happened on a production in Mexico in January 2005. Thus my first blogging experience.
The phone calls started in early December of ’04. The plans developed for me to be the lighting director for shooting four multi-camera fitness DVD projects on a beach. Originally the location was to be in St. John, USVI. Due to potential weather issues in St. John, by mid-December the location was changed to La Alamandas Resort in Mexico, 80 miles south of Puerto Vallarta.
I’ve looked at SunPath charts, maps, etc. It looks like we’re in the middle of nowhere.
A platform 20’x20′ is being constructed for the set. We’re shooting with at least three cameras. One camera will be on a Jimmy Jib. One camera will be on a dolly. (There will be limitations on lighting if we are going to keep camera shadows out of the scene.) This is too big a set to cover with silks or other fabrics to shield the sun. So, I’ve agreed with the producer/director that we’re going to shoot the first several hours after sunrise and the last several hours before sunset. During the middle of the day, say between 11:00/11:30am until 3:30pm/4:00pm, we’ll take a long lunch (a siesta?) plus shoot some of the single camera talent interview pieces around the hotel.
Although I have done production work out of the country before (in places like the UK and India) this is my first time traveling without any equipment. This job was ambitious from a technical standpoint… standard definition multi-camera production looking into the sun on a beach in a very remote location. I have spent quite a bit of time working on the lighting, grip, and power related equipment plans. The lighting & grip crew will all be from Mexico. The producer is bringing myself, the camera persons, jib operator, engineers, etc. from the USA.
The Mexican lighting & grip crew and associated trucks left this morning (Monday Jan. 10th) at first light for the 20 hour drive from Mexico City. I’m excited and ready to get there and start the production. I fly from Richmond to Houston to Puerto Vallarta tomorrow. I’ll meet up with some of the crew in Puerto Vallarta and we’ll drive south and hopefully meet up with everyone late afternoon tomorrow at the resort.