Shooting in Indiana
A few weeks ago I got hired for a shoot in Indiana for the Travel Channel show “Mega RV Countdown” (travelchannel.com) They brought me on as 1st AC, but the job was really as a second camera op. MRVC is a reality show that highlights different RV’s and motor homes that have been tricked out.
The DP, Gary Levens (fieldpro.tv), used an HDX900 to shoot the interviews, walk-arounds, and any shots with the talent. My job was to go in with a 5D MkIII to shoot coverage (close-ups, scenics, etc) and to place the GoPro Hero3’s during driving shots. I was also in charge of media management and battery charging (standard AC tasks). Though it was pretty standard, this was one of the hardest shoots I’ve had.
Adding my typical AC duties (cleaning lenses, prepping camera, etc) to my task of shooting was a challenge, but the real difficulties were the length of the shoot, the weather, and the distance. The production company (highnoontv.com) hired the crew from the Chicago area and set us up in a hotel in Mishawaka, Indiana. We arrived on Monday, and shot the whole week through Friday. It wasn’t an outrageously long shoot, but it felt longer due to the heat and the fact that every day was exactly the same.
Being a reality show, it’s pretty formulaic, and they wanted certain shots hit. So, each day broke down like this:
1. While Gary was shooting the interview and the exterior walk-arounds, I was inside the RV shooting wides and coverage of the features.
2. Then we’d switch, Gary inside shooting interior walk-arounds, me outside shooting more coverage and scenics.
3. Once coverage was completed, we’d move into the “lifestyle” sections. Basically, we’d shoot the owners using their RV’s in some way.
4. Then the driving shots.
Every day was this same routine. Shooting the same elements four days in a row becomes tedious and makes the days feel longer. But the heat was the absolute worst on this shoot.
The week we were in Indiana was the hottest week of the year. And to top that, we were stuck in 85+% humidity. It was hot, sticky, and awful. We very rarely had shade, so finding any relief from the sun was always welcome. I was shooting with a DSLR, and they do NOT like heat. At least twice a day the camera would overheat and shut down. There were four of us on the crew, and we went through a case of 24 waters every day. This was probably the hottest shoot I’ve had.
It was also hard for me to be that far away from Loretta and Zero for so long. Right before I left, the apartment above ours decided to start leaking water into our bathroom, and Zero was right in the middle of being sick. I felt bad leaving Loretta alone to deal with it all.
With all that being said, it was also one of the best production experiences I’ve had. I love traveling and seeing different areas of the country. We were all over the “Michiana” area. Each day had two new locations, and I got to explore the area pretty well.
I also really enjoyed working with Gary, Joe, and Jennie. Once we got into the right rhythm we started clicking and the whole process ran smooth. I’d be happy and excited to work with these folks again. Hopefully this will lead to some more work in the future.
Check out a clip from the show below!
*The RV images and video in this post are samples from previous episodes.