I was hoping to get at least an hour of pool time today after finishing the shoot.  Here we are at one of the most exclusive resorts in the world.  It’s the kind of place where movie stars come to escape.  Fourteen rooms.  Miles of private property separating the guests from the rest of the world.  No chance of paparazzi snapping pictures of anyone lounging around the pool.  Exquisite organic food grown on the property.  My hotel room goes for $1,900 US per night.  I’d like to at least walk around the place during daylight hours…

It’s obvious at dawn that the ancient buried gods we’ve disturbed are going to attempt to make our last shooting day painful.

From sunrise to sunset today the ocean froths up a salty haze that makes it difficult to tell with the eye where the beach, water, and sky separate from each other.  Everything to the unprotected eye is white.  It takes an expensive pair of sunglasses to tell what is what.

So, how do you shoot video, with these cameras, without proper video monitoring, looking directly into this hazy mess as the background?  Well, we can’t delay.  We’ve got to finish shooting today.

We pour every lumen possible directly onto the faces of the talent.  We flip-flop camera positions (meaning dolly tracks, platforms for the Jimmy Jib, etc) from side-to-side to try to minimize the 150% white background.

The mighty wall of white!

It has been a grind this morning.  We’ve even rotated the set ninety degree to try to fight the backlit haze.  Several of us work right through lunch.

We’ve got to get back to the hotel and shoot all of the host segments.  We pack minimal kit into vans and take half the crew to the hotel and leave the rest to wrap at the beach.

The ancient gods have also sent a crew to the hotel.  Afternoon turns into late afternoon as we fight a few electronic problems but mainly get held up by a crap teleprompter (provided by the same outfit from Miami).

Yes, the teleprompter came from the same supplier as the video gear.  In their slight defense the teleprompter is new.  But, it is obvious that the vendor has never attempted to use the software with the supplied computer.  It is obvious that the software was included free with the purchase of the teleprompter.  The software is work exactly what they paid for it.  In all, we lose several hours of daylight due to this problem.

We are still shooting (well actually just recording audio) until well after dark.  The producer/director pulled a marvelous stunt of swapping talent in and out of the scenes so he could shoot all of the necessary on camera pieces before dark.  Then, after dark, he swapped talent in and out to record the entire dialog necessary to record all of the voice over sessions with audio continuity.  Genius!

Famous quote from the set today, while looking into the video vendor’s price list (there are more copies of this sales literature in the cases than patch cables!) I see the company also operates as a video equipment prop rental business.  While looking at the prop pages I see pictures of some of our equipment. Perhaps that’s the problem… they shipped the wrong gear!….?  So, “never get your production gear from a company that rents their gear as props”.

The highlight of today was a wrap party the hotel arranged with a bonfire after our late dinner.  Organic cocktails in the evening sand with a bright moon and the temperature in the 70’s.  We hear that it is snowing in the northeast US.  After today’s 14 hour grind… this is a fitting end to the shoot.  (Oh, but we’ve got more to shoot tomorrow)

It's a good thing I made shoot notes during the week as one hour in front of this fire wiped my memory clean

jump to DAY SEVEN IN MEXICO – AFTER WE SHOOT JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE