This fashion video was originally called "Woman of the 80's", but eventually was just titled I.B. Diffusion Fall 86. At that time, having a video play in a department store at the point-of-purchase was an extremely new concept. Most of the department stores did not have TV's and video recorders, so they were rented. We pitched the client on this new idea of bringing the clothes to life and letting the customer see the garments in action. I know it's a lot dated, shot January 27-29 1986 with its music library (licensed rip-off version of "Every Breath You Take"), but this was our 4th video for I.B. Diffusion and an ambitious three day shoot shot on 16mm film with Rana Segal as the cinematographer. At the time it didn't seem so corny as it does when I watch it today, but it's a funny blast from the past.
Our budget was $46,000 and we decided to shoot it on 16mm and off-line edit on a Steenbeck film editor. The on-line editing was done on a new system called E-film C-tap at Allied film and video in Chicago. It had some crazy way of figuring out the edge numbers from the film workprint and only transferring the exact scenes needed to do the on-line video edit. The edit deal was $800 per finished minute of actual video. When they saw how many edits I had, they backed off that deal and ended up charging us more. They held our master hostage until we paid these extorted overages. I can't remember, but I think the client, the owner of I.B. Diffusion Ron Schmidt, gave us some additional money for this. He was a really great guy and I owe him a lot. He basically let us do what ever we wanted and he always loved what we did. I never got a chance to thank him; he changed my life in many ways. He took a shot on a 23 year old kid and I got to cut my chops on his dime.
This video was made before we had any non-linear editing (believe it or not the entire editing process took at least 3 weeks or more, it was primative) you had to do a off-line edit on film or 3/4" video or film and create a rough cut with no dissolves or effects and then go to an on-line edit house (that as very expensive to redo the entire edit from your film or original video edge numbers and or video time code (it sucked) We did the music at Zenith DB Audio. It started with a music search. This was literally done in a studio, where a guy would bring records from their music libraries and play a couple seconds of each song. We would go nope, nope, nope, yep. It was primitive but the only way to get music unless you scored it. The music contract depended on how many needle drops were used and how long the piece was. Then the recording assistant would pull out the original 1/4" tapes made from the library records and we would use a 1/2" 4 track reel to reel tape machine to cut the whole soundtrack together. I remember a lot of white grease pencil marks, razor blades to cut the audio tape & sticky tape to join the audio tape once cut. It was literally cut together. When all of the elements were in place, we would do a live mix. If we screwed up the mix we would start again from the beginning. They made tons of notes as we went through the mix. When done, they gave us a 1/4 open reel of our mono mixed audio. Everything was mixed in mono for a TV speaker until stereo TV's came around in the early 90's.
Day one of the shoot
We had a 25 foot crane (the kind that two guys used to ride on) in the Water Tower Park; it was exciting shooing in this beautiful venue. We got a lot of shots of models in the park in different outfits. The only requirement we had was to show 25 garments where you could see each of them in detail. Then we moved to Miegs field where we rented a Ferrari and Bell Jet II Helicopter. The model was supposed to get out of the Ferrari and into the helicopter but she was afraid so we had to fake it a bit. It was still fun and Jens and I got in the helicopter and had the pilot take us for a spin throughout the city. That was amazing.
Day two of the shoot
It was the same day of the Challenger disaster. Needless to say, it started out very sad. The shoot was in the model apartment of a newly completed Neiman Marcus building on Michigan Avenue. It was beautifully decorated, which was great for us as we didn't need to do any styling. Here we had a small crane and did some nice moving shots. The answering machine was mine, I brought it form home, and yes, it has a tape in it.
Day three of the shoot
We shot at the Van Statten gallery in River North a couple of blocks from our office. At the time, River North was called the creative community and it was all brick and timber loft buildings. In the 1800s it was all printing companies, in the 1980s it was mostly creative businesses like galleries, photographers and some video production companies. The grouping of clothes shot on day three had an art inspired design so we thought the gallery made a nice choice. We had the 10' crane, dollies and had models doing a lot of crazy dancing. The models were all top girls in Chicago. Loretta Wolger was one name that sticks out to me. She was on the Chicago Film Festival poster, that Victor Skrebneski shot. We paid the models $1,200/day which was huge money in 1986, but these were top girls. About 5 years after we shot in this gallery, it burnt down along with several other great old brick and timber loft buildings. Funny how that happened, the Fire Marshall said the fire started in no less then 8 places. That's Chicago.
Director: Steve Weiss
Producer: Rick Shaughnessy
Cinematographer: Rana Segal
Editor: Steve Weiss