The real artist

Ben asked me to help him with a video shoot on Sunday.  Normally, he does all of his own camera work, or gets his friend Spencer to help out.  He had a couple of moving shots in his head and jumped at my offer to spend time with him, as I had a full day off.

Sunday proved to be a windy and cold day.  The location for the shoot was the Dr. Clark School playground, wide open, with no protection from the cutting, northern breeze.

"I'll just stay in the car while you get set up and figure out what you want me to do," I said.

"That's great," he replied.  "I need to practice and run through the scenes anyway."

"Just give me the thumbs up when you're ready for me."

I watched from a distance as he walked and ran several different paths, getting the sequence of shots cemented in his mind.  By the time he called me in, he knew exactly what he needed.

"I'm going to come from here," he explained.  "Follow me slowly as I jump on the slide."

One scene after another, he would patiently explain what he wanted, model how the camera should move, then we'd shoot.

"Three, two, one, action," he would say.  I would press the RECORD button on the small digital camera in video mode and he would run through the scene.

"And that's it," he would direct, as he stopped and the short scene came to an end.

Each time he would run back to the camera, press a few buttons, and review the shot.

"Perfect," he said.  "Got it!"

Without exception he was able to articulate his vision for the scene - with me having no clue as to how it was going to connect together - and get it in one take.  We went from place to place with stunning speed and I was heading home in only 20 minutes.

All he had with him was a small piece of paper with a script and that was it.  The arc of the story was in his head from the opening shot to the final wave.

Here is the finished product.


The back story is that Ben had been having troubles with his iPad, his normal tool for filming, and had not been able to do anything for a number of weeks.  He discovered that we had an old digital camera that had video capabilities.  This was only his second outing using the new filming tool.

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