Now that we’ve landed in Mexico, time to make some magic.
As I mentioned previously, we had shot the 2015 calendar at the same location, only difference is, this year we were completely confined to the resorts grounds. Typically we would shoot about 50% of the campaign on the grounds, and the rest at other locations in the vicinity, but with this years details limiting us to only the resort, it was time to get creative. Our objective was to shoot 38 girls, all at different locations and different timed scenarios at a resort, with out it looking like we were at a resort. So we broke open the archives from last year and start reviewing where we shot, when we shot and who we shot around the grounds to ensure that we did not duplicate any combination of things or repeat any imagery we were unhappy with the previous year and use some locations we never got to take advantage of previously.
We spent two solid days wandering about the grounds with a list of names, the director of the cheerleaders, a few local guides and cameras on blast; mapping out the 4 days we had to capture all 38 girls in the most efficient and adaptable way possible.
One of the biggest advantages we had was the stylists on the hair and make up team; we’ve worked with them numerous times before and knew that once we all sat down and discussed locations/wardrobe/times we’d be on pace for another seamless shoot. So now that we’ve scheduled each girls shoot, picked locations and times, and had a few margaritas it was time to get try and get some sleep in before the sun rises on our first shoot day.
4AM, Day 1 – Time to bake the donuts.
First shot, in the bag; perfect sunrise, tether was bulletproof, the assistants were bringing their strong arms with the wind battling the 4×8 reflectors, we were feeling good. Onto the next model and the next one, than the next one and so on…
A little of my secret sauce and the “why”
Days before a project; I reach out to my client and get a shot list, client file expectations and all the details available so I can preset my machines with capture one sessions, folder names, delivery drives and chronosync recipes for moving everything around. This little bit of prep makes my job and the shoot run much smoother, I now can fall into my groove and focus on making sure files are coming in tack sharp, lit properly and backed up efficiently while on set. A huge bonus is that the files are being organized as we shoot; going to each models pre-determined folder location, naming convention in place and the ability to pre load my processing cache for FPO jpegs to be created at wrap. The thinking part of this is that at the end of the day I dump it all on another SSD backup, copy that over to my SSD-Raid process kit, boot up the iMac, run chrono from the SSD backup drive to move the Raw files to the Drobos/Delivery drives while I’m using the SSD-Raid to do another quick edit to get rid of any missed files and then crank out some Jpeg FPO files. It probably sounds chaotic, and a lot to manage when you have many different back up/delivery drives, a dropbox upload and an iPad for client viewing at first shot the next morning, but its easier to have a complex routine set up that accomplishes everything on its own, rather then crossing fingers and hoping for the best.. (All the machines have dedicated SSD kits that enable the machine to get the fastest read/write speeds possible; this makes files move faster and jpegs created rapidly.) Phew… is that all? What could possibly go wrong with all those ducks lined up…
Well I’m happy to say nothing, until the start of day 3.
Its been 2 full days and 20 cheerleaders captured, jpegs created, drives backed up, images online and iPads, and first shot – No camera showing up in capture… Swap camera batteries first, nothing. Try the back up cables, nope. Restart machine, even booting off of external drive into new catalog to make sure its not the OS or Cap1 versions.. nothing… what is going on.. I’m standing in the middle of the beach with two cameras, 5 tether cable kits and can not get anything to tether.. WTF is going on. Nothing, nothing is going on, the simple error of someone who doesn’t think to check a simple connection. It took 6 minutes for me to plug a standard 15′ USB cable into the camera into the port on the other side of my machine to realize that my USB wasn’t getting inserted entirely on the left side port. Reason being, a hunk of sea plastic got jammed in there, where the plastic came from, I’ll never know, but somehow it got jammed in there in between moves and was keeping the usb from getting entirely into the connection seat it needs to establish a secure connection. It was making it in enough to look connected, but each cable must have been getting blocked about 1/16″ of an inch from seating properly. Get the plastic bit of crap out, and boom, were back up and running. These things happen, and sometimes you can be more prepared than other times, but the most important part is being calm cool and collective during these moments, communicating an ETA to the photographer and making sure that you have another plan of attack if all else fails. We had a second body on standby with cards, but due to the location and light we were waiting on, this little snafu actually wasn’t that big of a deal, luckily. Once we got tether back up, you’d think the gods of the sun would be on our side, and they were, for about 10 minutes. Got the shot but as we were about to position the second models shot adjacent to the location, the hurricane poked its ugly nose into our shoot. Terrentail downpour and its time to run. Figures we finally got tethering back up, everyones happy and flowing, and boom, cover it up and run.