Monday, July 09, 2007
Charlottesville's Downtown Mall was transformed this summer by the amazing photography of Nick Nichols, and for three days (June 7-9) we had the pleasure of welcoming thousands of photogs and three very special guests to the Paramount Theater. Walking on the mall over that weekend you felt like you were suddenly in a different country - kind strangers from around the world descended on our hometown, and it seemed like every other person had beautiful new M8 slung around their neck.
We also had the good fortune to welcome NPR's Alex Chadwick who performed live interviews with this year's guests of honor: William Allard, Sally Mann, and Eugene Richards. When I got a call to "run the video" for this event, I had no idea I'd be directing a shoot with such legends. You've gotta love a little town like Cville where a "community event" like this can take on such a life of it's own. All in all, it was a great way to make some new friends and reconnect with some folks I hadn't seen or worked with in ages.
We shot HDV (1080i) on four rented Sony HVR-Z1U's; my first work with that format. The few bits we've looked at (out of 32+ hours of interview footage and 16+ hours of on-the-street tapes!) seem to befit the subject - the color is great in the theater, the images sharp and detailed but very kind to the subjects. Even with nearly no prep time, the camera menus were easy to navigate and the displays were clear, providing a great deal of confidence without clutter. Even in low-light audience shots the noise was quite acceptable and I'm looking forward to seeing how far we can push some of that in post. We just picked up the Canon (XH-A1) flavor of this camera at work and I'm looking forward to shooting our first project with it next month, a series of video podcasts for the Batten Institute.
Of course, I'm just realizing it's taken me a month to post this, and I think that's because I'm still recovering from 8+ hours of crouching under the curtain of the stage to get our talent's "beauty" shot, above. I am way out of practice on the yoga, but this has me encouraged to get back in to it.
Many thanks to our sponsors at National Geographic, Apple, and Canon (and I'm sure there are many more) as well as the numerous wonderful volunteers that helped make this event happen. The end product? The festival returns for Round Two next summer. In terms of the video, I'll definitely post when there's an answer on that, but right now there is a whole lotta footage to sift through. Definitely look for DVD's in time for next year's festival. Likely too, some broadcast versions of the wonderful interviews. I'm crossing my fingers on that one. Stay Tuned!
Some other cool festival pix, done by what looks like real photographers: