Recently, I had the opportunity to direct and photograph Steelers’ coach, Mike Tomlin in a new public service TV campaign for Pittsburgh's “Extra Mile Foundation.” This worthwhile, non-profit organization gives urban kids the chance to attend a school where they learn in an atmosphere that’s free from drugs and violence.
When you’re the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, every hour of your day is blocked out with meetings, interviews and other activities. Mike Tomlin was kind enough to give us 3 hours of his time. Producer and production coordinator, Judy Gurchak and I worked our entire shoot day around Tomlin’s schedule. Whenever you work with known personalities or athletes, every shot has to be pre-planned, lit and camera rehearsed before the talent arrives. This includes blocking the action of extras and doing a few test recordings and playbacks. "Star" talent always has definite on-set time constraints & shoot schedule limitations. Our Pittsburgh crew was kind enough to forgo their lunch break until after we finished Tomlin's scenes.
I shot all of Mike Tomlin’s on-camera segments with Panasonic’s AF100, HDTV camera using Canon FD series lenses. The camera was mounted on my Ronford head attached to a Fisher 10 crab dolly. I always try to give each shot a sense of motion. Daylight balanced HMI's and Kino-flo lights were used for Tomlin's scenes. The AF100's ISO setting was 400.
I shot the 1080P “B-Roll” footage earlier the same day in active, working classrooms. We allocated 15 minutes for each of 6 classrooms. For these scenes, I used my Panasonic GH2 camera and Olympus 14mm-35mm F2 lens. This little camera makes great HD images and it’s small enough that kids don’t feel intimidated having it close to their face. Gaffer, Ted Weigand used small LED soft panels, bounce cards and battery powered LED fill lights to minimize classroom disruptions.
The combination of the AF100 for sync scenes and the GH2 for "B-roll" works very well.