The Eagle RED has Landed

RED One

After almost two years of anticipation, Jesse’s RED One camera (#184 off the production line) arrived via delivery truck a few minutes ago. They got the address wrong, let the ship dates slip, and bent a few promises, but we have a camera to shoot with. A last minute plea by Jesse to the RED Camera Company founder, Jim Jannard, saved the day. It couldn’t be any tighter – Jesse & Lyn leave in less than 24 hours for the long trek to Rwanda.

It’s a big risk, taking delivery of a new camera system hours before our most important trip. In the end I hope the stress and risk pay off. This camera provides us with astounding capability for our doc, the equivalent of an 11-megapixel Digital SLR, shooting in RAW mode at up to 60 frames per second. With it we’ll be able to capture the dynamic beauty of Rwanda like never before. It’s hard not to be hyperbolic – this camera has broken open a level of imagery only accessible in 35mm film stock to little films like ours. Beautiful images for a beautiful story…

We do have a backup camera in-country already. Hopefully it will sit on the shelf while the RED gets a workout. I can’t wait to see what it can do in person!

Boarding…

I’m in the new YVR international terminal, waiting to board a flight to Heathrow. Besides my trip to Texas (Texas counts as another continent) this will be my longest trip off the North American rock. Six weeks, five countries, ten flights, and two major assignments (plus a little side-jaunt with some friends).

It’s been a complex setup… prep, planning and logistics have been more difficult than any other trip. But I’m looking forward to two challenging projects. I’ve been doing a fair amount of pre-work on both projects, exercising my new-found story knowledge.

I’ll be attempting to keep a regular log on the blog… stay posted.

Trip prep

What do Yellow Fever, PVC, and scotch have in common? That’s right, you guessed it – packing!

My basement haunt is knee-deep in cases, gear, and clothing as I prep for one of the most interesting and complex trips I’ve been on. I’ll be departing New Years Eve for a total of six weeks away, with three major stops in Scotland, Rwanda and Swaziland.

When I need a distraction from packing I’ll post more about my assignments and itinerary…

Two Green Lights

Last night the good news arrived that our grant has been approved allowing Lyn, Jesse and I to return to Rwanda in January.

The day before, I received confirmation of a photography assignment to Swaziland. I’ll be using photography to tell the story of Bulembu as part of a promotional campaign for the Teldon Group. I’ll be headed to Swaziland (via South Africa) immediately after wrapping in Rwanda.

Rwanda Whiteboard

Rwanda Whiteboard

This is an initial sketch of the Rwanda: Hope Rises storyline. Normally I would do this on a sketchpad, but this whiteboard came in handy (it’s in the conference room of Savvy Productions, home of the docs’ cinematographer.)

Admittedly this is just a sketch, and structurally it represents mostly how we move through the story. Expanding on this is where my sketchpad comes in – creating character sketches, adding sequence and tension, creating a beat chart, etc.

Click the image to get a closer view.

Incidentally, this is the first in what may be a series of “sketchpad posts”. My sketchpad has become my most important workspace – freeform thoughts limited by analog boundaries and permanence. I use it to bounce ideas back to myself and see how they work together. Sometimes they’re interesting or informative, so I’ll experiment with posting them here. For now these will remain off the main blog, but if you keep track of this feed you can see what comes of it.

Rwanda Resumes

The filming of Rwanda: Hope Rises will resume on or about January 13th. Lyn & Jesse and I met recently to review the rough cut and begin story construction towards our last shoot and, eventually, a final edit.

Rwanda Whiteboard

We are nervously anticipating the arrival of our RED One cameras for this shoot. Both Jesse and I initially expected to receive them around Nov. 1st. Now our delivery is sometime in December. Jesse’s nervously doing the rain-dance in the hope that they arrive sometime before Dec. 31st, our departure date.

If all goes well Jesse, Lyn and I will shoot for two weeks at the end of January, picking up b-roll, extra interviews, and shooting a promotional film for our hosts, The Wellspring Foundation. After Lyn & Jesse head home, I plan to stick around for an extra week shooting stills and additional footage.

Then it’s a race to the finish. With some fine planning and precision editing, I hope to have the film locked for a screening in Rwanda in early April.