Cameraman’s Blog

Dungy

  • May 5, 2015

Northern New Era Church’s 25th Pastoral Anniversary Celebration & Gala 2015-0501
Tony Dungy former Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts and Me
I was asked to shoot a interview, for the Harvest Show, of Tony Dungy, the former Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts, a NFL football team. He would be speaking at the Northern New Era Church’s 25th Pastoral Anniversary Celebration & Gala, taking place at the Ritz Charles in Carmel, IN.

I wasn’t going to pass up a chance to meet the first black Head Coach to win a Superbowl.

I drove to the TV40 station to pick up the gear and van. The evening was starting off badly because keys that were suppose to have been left for me to get into the building, weren’t there! I had to make a number of calls to get someone to come back, to let me in. We found the keys inside, in one of the mail slots. Apparently somebody saw the package with the keys in it, outside and move them, inside. Where I couldn’t get to them.

Ritz-Charles: Event Services to Central Indiana.
I was suppose to arrive at the Ritz Charles at 4 pm. I wanted to be there by three, in order to look the place over before my Producer/Talent and 2nd Cameraman arrived. I got there a little before 3:30 pm and found out, that the doors for the event were to open at 5 pm.

I’ve been in the Ritz Charles before and I knew that there wasn’t a lot of places within the building to do a quiet sit-down interview. Which is what, at the time, I thought that I had to do.

  Ritz-Charles Ballroom  
Ritz-Charles Ballroom

I brought in all of the equipment and setup the camera in the ballroom, to make sure that at least that was ready to go, when I was confronted by, The-Lady-In-Charge. I was told in no debatable terms that I will be provided with a room later on in the evening. I tried to tell her that I needed to know where the room was because I had to set up extra lights for the Interview. She said, What interview?

Coat Room used to store our camera equipment.
OK!
My first thought was, “This is going to be a fun evening.”!
My second thought was, “Leave it for the Producer. It’s her show.”.

A little while later, Robert my second cameraman and Kelly, the Producer/Talent had arrived. I told Kelly what happened up to this point and Kelly went and had a long conversation with, The-Lady-In-Charge. I really don’t think anything got confirmed during that conversation. Just kind of, shuffled around, to be determined later.

We found a Coat Room where we stored all of our camera gear and yet, still have easy access to it.

Tony Dungy Interview with Kelly Vaughn doing the interviewing and me on camera. It took place in the foyer of the Ritz-Charles.

Tony Dungy Interview with Kelly Vaughn doing the interviewing and me on camera. It took place in the foyer of the Ritz-Charles.
Tony Dungy and his wife Lauren showed up early and they were escorted to a candle-lit room for Meet and Greet with guest as they arrived for the dinner. That room was way to dark and I really had to open up the camera to get some shoulder mounted shots.

We made the determination that we were going to interview Tony Dungy in the foyer after the Meet and Greet and Photo session. So I quickly set up some lights and rearranged some chairs and was ready when Tony came out for the interview.

That part went off without a hitch. It was the most important part of the shoot and I was happy when it was over with!

Robert Lewis shooting the Dinner speeches.
We were also tasked with shooting the dinner speeches.
Robert shot that part of it. He got shots of Tony’s speech and all of the other podium celebrations.

By the way, Tony had sprung his foot during a pick-up basketball game. He wore a case on his right foot and moved around on a small Knee Scooter. He used the experience as part of his speech. It was hilarious! I know, as soon as they asked, that I shouldn’t do it.

To our surprise, we also got to eat dinner. They set aside a table for us, which is unusual! Chicken Parmesan, Mashed Potatoes and Asparagus. The dessert was to die for, a delicious Apple Crisp that I wish I could’ve taken home with me.

Afterward I got shoulder mount shots and interviews with the Pastor and his wife, people wishing the Pastor well for his 25th Pastoral Anniversary, and shots of people out on the dance floor.

  Ritz-Charles Ballroom:  
  They actually fed the camera crew, which they normally don’t do at events like this.  

Dinner was Chicken Parmesan, Mashed Potatoes and Asparagus, with a delicious Apple Crisp, to die for.

I was delighted when Kelly finally said, enough!

Took us about a half hour to pack up the gear and put it all back in the van.
Another half hour to get the gear back to the station and lug it all back inside.

I finally clocked out around 11:30 PM.

. . . and so it goes

😀

Ohio State University Basketball

  • March 19, 2015

During the course of the year, I end up shooting a lot of sporting events in a variety of venues. Sometimes the venues are small, like…

Cathedral High School Gym.
Cathedral High School Gym

Other times the place is, humongous, such as…

Purdue Ross-Ade Stadium
Purdue University Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Indiana. Big 10 Football

Well, this was my first time shooting at Ohio State University. I got the call out of the blue, and was asked if I could shoot a Iowa @ OSU WBK-MICR basketball game on a upcoming Saturday.

Ohio State University Jerome Schottenstein Center
Jerome Schottenstein Center

I immediately said yes, after all, how many opportunities would I have to shoot, anything, at Ohio State University.

Saturday 8am
That Saturday just happen to be one of the worst snow week-ends of the year.
The drive from Indianapolis, IN to Columbus, OH along I70, a few miles West of Richmond, IN.
The whole East coast was snowed in and the drive that normally would take me about 2 and a half hours to drive from Indianapolis, Indiana to Columbus, Ohio, ended up taking me almost 4 hours.

The road was hazardous and slow-moving, and I forgot to bring my iPod and music with me. Which made the drive even slower.

Hilton Garden Inn Columbus, OH
My crew call was for 1 pm. I got there just a little before noon. Checked in at my Hilton Garden Inn hotel and had a few minutes to decompress, then I drove over to the Jerome Schottenstein Center. There are not to many places around named, Jerome.Jerome Schottenstein Center, Ohio State University

Up to now, I’ve only shot one other MICR basketball game, and that was at Purdue University. I don’t know what MICR stands for, but what I do know is that it is a remote type shoot and that all of the production people are in a control room at the Big Ten Headquarters in Chicago.

The only crew on the event site, are the camera people. Along with a small Sprinter Van that holds the camera gear and fiber cables and the controls that can connect the van to the control room in Chicago.

JVC GY-HM790U
The cameras were JVC GY-HM790U with a Studio Kit and a extra long lens for the Hero Camera 2. I was on Camera 1, Game Cam, and Sam Torre would work Camera 2.

Sam lives in Columbus and knew his way around the Schottenstein Center which was great for me because I didn’t know one end of the stadium from the other, and it would have taken me sometime to learn how to get around in that place.

The Center was wired for Fiber Optics and it took us about a hour and a half to setup all of are equipment. About another 2 hours of sitting around waiting for the connection with Chicago so that we could Fax cameras. After that we had a Cameraman’s Meeting with the Director (from Chicago) over our Headsets.

Cheat-Sheet for a Purdue Football game that I shot. The Orange Marks were for my Camera.
Camera Meeting are important because from a cameraman’s point of view, you get a feel for how the Director wants a game shot. They usually handout a cheat-sheet that has all the camera shots that each camera is responsible for, along with the images of Key Players.

It took me a few games to learn how to read a Cheat-Sheet. The first thing that I learned was, don’t be embarrassed to Ask Questions! Then it won’t take me so long to learn how to read a Director’s Cheat-Sheet.

At these meetings, you also get a feel for how the Director calls his game. Some Directors will explain exactly what they need, and if you come up with a great shot, they will pat you on the back. But if you do wrong, they will still calmly explain what they need you to do.

Then there are those Directors at the other end. The Screamers! You know, the ones that expect you to be able to read their minds, and know exactly what they’re thinking. Then they scream at you when you don’t do it.

Then there are all the Directors in-between those two.

The Director on this game was a Russ Jenisch. My first time working with him and from the Headset Cameramen Meeting, I got the impression that he was easy going. Which turned out to be true. During the game, we had a number issues. Equipment breakdowns and lost fiber connections. But though it all, he stayed cool, calm and collected and came up with redirects and work-a-rounds.

It was a very enjoyable game to shoot and once it was over with, it took us no time at all to get the equipment back to the van. Packed up. Then sign out.

Sprinter Van. Small, but capable for the job at hand. Just enough room for the camera gear and the equipment to connection to Chicago.

We finished up around 11p and I was glad to have a hotel room to go to instead of having to drive home that night. Since I didn’t have to get up early the next morning, I got myself some Fast Food and spent most of the night watching Law & Order episodes.

Hilton Garden Inn hotel room

Sunday 10am
The next morning after Breakfast I Left around 10a. The roads were a lot cleaner and it only took me 3 hours to get home.
 

. . . and so it goes

😀

The Year So Far, 2014

  • October 28, 2014

As a freelance camera operator, it seems to me that every year is beginning to look like every other year. I always seem to be shooting the same events year after year after year.

In some ways, it kind of comforting, knowing that you have work each year, but in other ways it can start to feel very… humdrum.

Here are a “few” of the events that I have shot so far in 2014.

High School sports both football and basketball,
are always events that I shoot every year.

Noblesville High School

This was the first time that I have shot Tennis.
It was an ESPN shoot at the University of Illinois.

A full day of shooting tennis at the University of Illinois for ESPN

I shoot Conventions every year in the Hotels and Conventions in the area.
Big and Small. It’s kind of your Bread & Butter.

After awhile, all these conventions begin to blend together into one big blur.

At these conventions you sometimes get to meet Mayors, Governors, Police Chiefs,
Community Leaders, and the occasional celebrity or sport figure,
like Deion Sanders.

Deion Sanders and Me

Occasionally I get to shoot something out of the ordinary,
like the opening of the China Terra Cotta Warriors Exhibition
at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

We shot the stage events which included a number of Chinese performers. They were fascinating to watch!

Then, there are the bigger ticket shoots like Big Ten football
at Purdue University Ross-Ade Stadium

Iowa @ Purdue University

or ESPN shoots at North Illinois University in Dekalb, Illinois.
ESPN at North Illinois University

or Miami of Ohio University in Oxford, OH.
ESPN at Miami of Ohio University

But then, you always have to come back to your stand-bys.
Like studio work on a nationally syndicated TV show.

Full Circle Music Setup

Yeah… the same thing year in and year out.
But who’s complaining.
It’s Work!

😉

Drumstick Dash 2013

  • November 29, 2013

You see now, I had never heard of the Drumstick Dash, even though this is it’s 11th year running here in Indianapolis.

But I was asked to shoot it and I figured, oh why the hell not! Besides, I’m not doing much on Thanksgiving morning except watching another endless parade.

So with a 6:30a crew call and a 16 degree temperature outside, I was pleasantly surprised at how large this event turned out to be. A roughly 5 mile course with 17,000 runners and walkers. Many of them in shorts??

Here are a few visuals from the event.

This is what I was shooting for, two big Jumbotrons that were setup for the race.

The start line was right next to my camera position. I spent most of my time shooting the speakers on the stage.

I would say that the crowd of runners stretch at least 3 blocks down the street. It took almost a half hour for all of them to pass through this Start Line.

Toledo vs Ball State

  • September 29, 2013

Shot the Toledo vs Ball State football game for ESPN on Saturday. I use to shoot Ball State football for the MAC Conference for several years. But the station that I shot for lost the contact a few years ago.

So it has been awhile since I have shot this University and I was looking forward to shooting it again.

What I wasn’t looking forward to shooting was the End Zone Camera. That position has no elevator access, so every piece of equipment has to be hand carried up a lot of Stadium steps. It is a Ball Breaker!

But this time there was 4 of us to do the work instead of just two. So the job was a tad easier, but man, those step still do get the heart a pumping!

The game was fast paced and so were the camera calls. I do love shooting Football. Ball State won 31 to 24.

Here are a few photo highlights.

It is called by many names, but it is the form that tells the crew about everything that they need to know about the shoot.

Scheumann Stadium. My Camera Position is at the top of the tower to the left. With a whole lot of stairs in between.

Production and Satellite Trucks

Lunch time for the crew. Box Lunches that is. Sitting is optional.

It's where the Producer, Director, TD, Graphics, Font Coordinator sit.

Audio Control

Engineering is not only where the EIC lives, but also Replay and Shading. Not a whole lot of room to move around in. And what ever you do, Do Not Touch That Switch!

My camera position, Camera 4, High End Zone. Responsible for Tight Shots of players, Game Action for Replay and Near Side Coach.

My Camera View. Nice View but hard to get to.

Flat Track Racing 2013

  • August 18, 2013

Last Saturday was my 3th year shooting the AMA Flat Track Grand National Race at the Indiana Fair Ground Stadium, and I just figured I would show you a little bit of what I saw and did, in pictures.

Flat Track Stadium

Flat Track Booths

Working on their bikes before the Race.

A Flat Track Rider signing autographs for his fans.

Flat Track Bikes. Everyone was predicting that the Orange one would be one of the winners. It was!


I was camera 5, positioned on the stage. I was responsible for shooting the beginning and ending of the race, the straightaway and the winner’s podium. Because I was shooting continuously throughout the race, I was given a relief camera operator, which gave me a couple of opportunities to shoot some of my own video during the evening.

O’Jays Concert

  • July 20, 2013

This is my second year shooting the Indianapolis’s Black Expo’s free Concert. Last year the main headliner was Gladys Knight.

This year it was The O’Jays.
A moment before the free Black Expo concert starts. Man! It was Hot!

But I think that it was even Hotter this year then it was last year. And I do mean, weather hot!
It-Was-Brutal-Out-There.

We set up everything Thursday and it was so hot, that you just didn’t feel like moving. Thankfully, it only took us 4 1/2 ours to setup all of our equipment.

Friday, we installed the cameras and re-faxed everything, then we had 6 hours to sit around in the heat waiting for the concert to start.

The night’s opening acts, were Indianapolis-based Downstroke, and the Midnight Star. I’ve never heard of either of group.

When the O’Jays took the stage, they sung a few of their hits like “Back Stabbers”, “Love Train”, “For the Love of Money” and “Use ta Be My Girl”, my favorite.

For a group that has been around for more the 50 years, they were pretty good.

The only problem that I had, besides the heat, was that it got so crowded and packed, that people were trying to lean against or sit on my camera platform and thus, shaking my camera.

I keep asking them to get off, and at one point I was yelling, but by the time that the O’Jays came on, it was so crammed that most of my complains fell on deaf ears.

So I just had to work with it.
I still came up with great shots.

Fever vs Connecticut

  • July 6, 2013

The Fever have Won. The awards ceremony is over with, and it's now time for me to break this camera down and go home.I haven’t shot a Fever game since last year’s Final when the Fever won the WNBA Championship. I have a few Fever games to shoot this month and tonight was the first in that series.

I was one of the down camera this time and I teamed up with Kyle Donnelly. We were at the south end of the court, at what is now referred to as camera 4.
 
 
Shooting down cameras is a lot more physical then shooting a up camera.

Fever vs Connecticut game. Second half. My view from the floor.

With down cameras, you’re a lot closer to the action, with the real possibilities of being run over by a player. During the breaks and half time you spend all of your time running around the court following the entertainment.

But, the nice part about shooting a down camera is that you’re working with a partner, so you shoot only half the game.

During the other half you work as your partner’s utility. Which just means that you manage your camera’s cable, which also means you pretty much get to sit back and enjoy the game.

I like to shoot the first half, just to get my shooting over with. Luckily Kyle wanted to shoot the second half anyhow, so that worked out just fine. We didn’t have to flip a coin.

The Fever haven’t been doing very well.

They have a lot of players on injury reserves.

But their star player Tamika Catchings had 22 points and six steals.

It also helped that Connecticut’s star player, reigning league MVP Tina Charles, was ejected from the game because of two technical fouls.

The Fever went on to win 78 to 66.

Hoosier Classic 2013

  • June 9, 2013

One more Hoosier Classic Basketball event for me. I’ve done all of them from the beginning, making this my 8th. The Classic highlights the best boys and girls senior high school basketball players in the State. I shot the game yesterday in Knightstown, Indiana.

Being held in the Hoosier Gym makes it a fun game to watch, being that the Hoosier Gym is a classic it’s self. Built in 1922, it still looks the same, as you can see below.

Peyton Manning Fundraiser

  • April 28, 2013

Peyton Manning rehearsing his lines.Former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning maybe throwing for Denver now, but he still has ties to Indianapolis.

He and his wife are honorary chairpersons for the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St.Vincent, and they had their big annual fundraiser Saturday night.

The celebration took place at FedEx’s Maintenance Hangar at the Indianapolis International Airport.

Setup was done on Friday. Because it was a hanger, they had to call in Riggers to hang the drapes, lights and speakers. FedEx even brought in one of their planes to be used as a backdrop.

Video World was setup behind the stage and under the FedEx plane.Video world was set up behind the stage and under the plane. Seeing how much equipment was brought in, Friday must have been a VERY long day.

Thank goodness, I didn’t have to take part in that.

The view of the FedEx Hanger from Camera 1 position.There was two sets of camera crews.
My group shot the fundraiser and the second group shot the entertainment, Luke Bryan. Academy of Country Music Awards 2013, Entertainer of the Year.

Never heard of him!
But then, I’m not into country.

Around 5p Peyton Manning did a rehearsal and walk-through his script.

I was camera 3, should-mounted, stage right.

There wasn’t a whole lot for me to do during most of the early rounds. But the live auction got a little bit more interesting.

The auctioneer walked out among the audience to take their bids and I had to follow him and also get shots of the items on the stage, that were up for bid.

For me, that is when shooting, specially should-mounted, gets to be fun!

Most of the items up for bid, went for over $30,000 a piece. One item went for $55,000. Add to that the $1000 bucks you had to pay to eat dinner. With about 116 tables and about 8 persons per table, you add it up.

Peyton Manning raised a lot of money Saturday night!

I finished around 11p.
I didn’t have to stay for the breakdown, but I heard that some of the guys who did have to stay, didn’t get out of there until 5a Sunday morning.

Merrillville, IN

  • April 21, 2013

Day 1:Thursday April 18th
It was raining all the way up to Merrillville.Took a trip up to Merrillville, IN to shoot the American Heart Association Dinner. It was a 5 person crew and we all left around 2pm for the 2 hour drive to Merrillville. It was bad weather, raining all the way up there. But the weather cleared once we got into town

We first checked into the hotel where the event would also be taking place in.
The Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza.

The Ballroom was a oddly shaped room, watch caused some problems, but we made it work!The Setup wasn’t going to be to bad.
The worst part of it was hanging the Trusses. There were 3 of them. Two in front, one on each side of the stage, for the 2 projectors. And a long one just behind the 2 front ones that would hold lights. It shouldn’t have taken long, but it did because we had some power problems.

We got the truses in place and we hang the lights and projectors on them, but we couldn’t raise them. That will have to wait until tomorrow. Al is going to drive all the way back to Indianapolis and come back tomorrow morning with some spare parts.

We did manage to setup cameras, video world and screens, though the screens turned out to be a problem too, but we finally got them setup and called it a night around 10:30p.

Day 2:Friday April 19th – 9:30a
Al got back with the spare parts and we go the trusses up into the air. The projectors got aligned, lights focused and cameras tested. It was a short morning!
4p
We had to coming back for a short rehearsal. Two hours and we were done for the day.

Day 3:Saturday April 20th
Truss and ProjectorCrew Call wasn’t until 5:30p, so I had most of the day to myself. Had some breakfast and would have love to go see a movie, but I don’t have my car so I was stuck in my hotel room watching movies on the TV.

My Camera PositionThe event started around 7p and ended about 10:30p.
Just another dinner.
The shooting was very light.

There was one interesting moment when this 8 year old boy, who has had a heart problem all of his life, came out and played the piano. We watched him rehearse yesterday and found it amazing that a kid that young could play the piano that good. Concert level play. We only had 2 cameras and the main camera’s view was blocked by people’s heads, so all of the kids shots were mine. The kid was outstanding!

After the dinner, we broke down everything, packed it all up and loaded it into the truck. We were out of there around 12:30a.

Day 4:Sunday April 21st
Like Thursday, this is a travel day.
I had some breakfast and Jeff and I left the hotel around 8:30. I finished the day around 12:30p.