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Dave Steakley interview from Kirk Tuck on Vimeo.

I've been working on my "One Man Movie" video chops for a while now and I'm getting comfortable doing spur of the moment interviews. A week or so ago I was at Zach Theatre shooting some photographs of the cast in rehearsal for Million Dollar Quartet, and I thought it would be a great idea to tape and interview with the director of the play, Dave Steakley. (Actually, I had planned the interview in advance and brought along the gear I might need if his schedule permitted...).

When the cast and crew went on their dinner break I set up a couple of lights, and a microphone on a boom, and asked Dave to step in and give me ten minutes of his time. We shot in the main theater and I knew I wouldn't have time to find electrical boxes, run extension cables, etc. so I lit him with two of the Aputure Amaran 672W lights, since they are battery powered; one through a 50 inch, circular diffuser and the other used directly (a stop or two down from the main light). I used the Samson C02 cardioid microphone that I've been writing about recently, running it into the Saramonic pre-amplifier/phantom power unit I've also mentioned.

My camera of choice was the Panasonic fz2500 since I'd used it as my main camera on the previous four Zach actor interviews and feel so comfortable with it. I use it set to manual in every mode. Manual focus, manual exposure, custom white balance, etc. I love touching the focus ring and having the camera punch in for fine focusing. I love the ease of setting the white balance. I love getting home and finding nothing has changed or shifted from clip to clip....

In retrospect I wish I had dropped the stage further out of focus. I'm so used to shooting and post processing still images, I guess I had in mind that I could easily select Dave and use a gaussian blur on the background area but it's not quite so easy to do in video. Better to do things like focus control while you are shooting.

I am fairly happy with the audio. If I remove the music bed and listen just to the dialogue with headphones, I am not really able to hear much noise. Also, with a less focused microphone (when compared to traditional shotgun microphones) placement is not as critical.

Since the interview will only be seen on social media I didn't feel compelled to shoot in 4K, archive in 4K and spend extra time in the edit, so I shot in 1080p, selecting a setting that gave me 100 mbs of information.

I'm getting faster and faster at editing and I believe that part of the credit needs to go to the amount of still photography I had at my fingertips. It makes very effective b-roll, though at one point in the edit process Ben dropped by the studio to see what I was working on. He looked at the piece twice and asked me if I had any other video footage to stick in as b-roll. I asked him why the stills weren't enough and he said, "We millenials really like it if everything is moving all the time." He was kidding about the association with millennials but serious that he feels audiences want more and more kinetic visual structures.

I'll keep practicing but at least I feel like I'm making decent progress...

Just wanted to share the culmination of yesterday's work with you.

On another note, it's too hot here now. It was into the 90s by 10 a.m. this morning. It hit 100 by noon and the thermometer is working its way up toward 108 degrees today. I swam in the early workout to avoid the extra sun exposure but now, after lunch, it feels smart to just stay still in the air conditioning and read something. Not a day to shoot exteriors. Not a day to go for an afternoon run. Not a day to park in a vast and tree-less parking lot. These are essentially our dog days of Summer. 

I can hardly wait until Monday morning; early. That's when I swim in Barton Springs Pool where the water is a constant 68 degrees. It'll keep your core temperature in the safety zone. 

Hope you are staying cool. Now I think I'll start on the next edit.


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