For the past 5 years I have been contracted to be the First assistant/DIT for the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleader Swimsuit calendar with Dom Savini Photography (DomSavini.Com) A dream job to people; beautiful talent, amazing locations, travel, and hanging with friends. It’s one of the more fun and challenging projects i’ve been a part of. Long shoot days, terabytes of images, short deadlines, the heat and unpredictable pop up showers, in the end, this is a job and its not just a walk in the park, but with it are a lot of fringe benefits, and I’m the last person to complain about that.
With the cheerleaders, we’ve gotten the opportunity to travel to the Bahamas, Philadelphia area, also the Jersey Shore and now Mexico twice, to shoot their calendar.
This year we headed back to Mexico at the IBEROSTAR Paraíso Beach resort in Playa Del Carmen, Riviera Maya for the second year running.
But first, a little bit of an issue to address:
We were shooting tethered this year. Let me remind you; we are on a beach, in the gulf, middle of june, with a hurricane close enough to throw insane storms at us in a moments notice, photographing 9-12 girls in different locations for 4 consecutive days with not time for failure or re-shoots…
Normally we would load a few 1D X bodies each up with a set of 32gb or 64gb CF cards, swap them out as they filled up and I’d spend from the time we wrapped until call time the next day, downloading, archiving, processing and delivering the files for the next day and repeat until 5 minutes before the cab leaves us at the hotel and flights are close to being missed… The benefits of instant gratification and real time editing/organizing really pushed us to shoot tethered this year. With being a DIT (Digi-Teaching) being my main focus over the last few years, I envisioned all the hurdles that we were up against and the potential for catastrophic failure that was looming over our heads. Laptops, tether cables and all the rest of my location Digi kit isn’t really built for the conditions of a tropical location shoot; wind, sand, surf, rain, gulf of Mexico and so many people on set presented issue after issue, add on the fact that we’d be moving locations often and quickly, I knew I had some customizing and testing to do, awesome, my favorite part.
I have a long winded love affair with pelican cases and knew that If I could build a few of them to be working pieces for electronics I’d be safe and better off. So after a few overnight orders from amazon and random companies around the globe, some researching to the ends of the internet I never imagine existing, and testing my in house components combined with a few sleepless nights; I had a plan and a pile of toys to work with. (The process/products and outcome will be saved for another post, but heres a quick glimpse of what I ended up with:
After getting the power kit situated, testing the tether cables in some scenarios that’d we be up against, and building back up kits it was time to get the rest of the kit dialed in. I ordered caps for every open slot of the laptop to prevent dust/sand/moisture from entering, built a fan kit into my Seaport Digital LS PRO Mag to ensure the laptop would have ventilation and air flow to keep it from blowing up, a few carabiners and bongo ties here and there to assist in making moves quickly, swap some new SSD drives into my enclosures and finally settling on bringing a standard-no frills aluminum (for good reason..)Manfrotto tripod and shove it all into some bags.
To recap; we’ve got a laptop kit that has 16 hours of power and is weatherproofed for the beach, a tether cable kit that’s as waterproof and rugged as possible, a laptop viewing station that has airflow to the machine, backpacks loaded with what feels like cement, finally time to head to the airport and see how quick it fails..
The travel kit loaded up for carry on. (Tripod and lappy viewing kit stowed under the plane)
Next up: (Coming Soon)
Shooting the calendar: tethered images and monsoons… How we successfully shot a swimsuit calendar tethered on location in Mexico, with minor issues. (Part 2)