Behind The Scenes

In the process of cleaning up my folders, files and such after wrapping up the editing for my Eastern Fields video, I came across this snapshot I took of Craig right after I finished interviewing him:

craig dewit

What you see in the foreground is a Canon 5D Mark II with a 17-40mm zoom lens, which I used to record the interview.

The furry thing on top is a Sennheiser MKE-400 shotgun microphone, which helped to reduce distraction from ambient noise (engine, aircon, people yelling, boat horns, etc.).

I mounted the camera on Golden Dawn's steering wheel using a Gorillapod...certainly not the ideal configuration for the purpose!

But I didn't have a proper tripod, so I had to make do with what was available, and the steering wheel was the only platform with sufficient height to get the angle of view I wanted. Balancing the camera and keeping it from flopping left and right was a bit of a challenge.

Doing the interview was probably the most difficult part of gathering material for the video. I knew that I wanted to get footage of Craig describing his personal experiences and feelings about the Eastern Fields to use as the backbone of the storyline.

But Craig is incredibly camera-shy, and kept coming up with excuses to avoid being interviewed. Finally, when he ran out of excuses, I had to wait a good 30 minutes while he showered, shaved, powdered his nose, and otherwise tried (in vain) to pretty himself up.

In case you're interested, I set exposure and focus manually, striving for low depth of field. I think the aperture was something like f5.0, or thereabouts. Shutter would have been around 1/60 to 1/100. The frame rate was 30fps by default. I think ISO was 400, and the biggest technical challenge I had was controlling the overblown areas behind Craig.

I recorded the interview prior to having manual control of audio gain (a function which came with a later firmware upgrade), so it was paramount to keep ambient sound levels constant. Fortunately, no one else was around, and it was a quiet day in port, so we did everything in a single take per question, over a period of about 20 minutes.

Now...lest you get the (mis)impression that Craig always appears as Captain-like as I so deftly portrayed him, allow me to point out that you're more likely to spot Craig in situations like this:

craig dewit
(Note: I didn't take this picture. I don't know who did. The file came from Craig. I bet he'll regret giving me a copy after he sees this.)