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Tuberville Episodes 2 and 3

 

I’m a little behind in getting out exciting news about new releases here in electron-land (that’s the internet to you and me), but I thought it prudent to do just that. If you’ve not yet had a chance to watch episodes two (2) and three (3) of the webseries Tuberville, I urge you to do so now. Go head, you can watch them both now. It’ll only take about 20 minutes. Really, you can come back and keep reading after you’ve watched them. I won’t mind.

See, wasn’t that fun?

Episode two, like its predecessor, was filmed entirely in the wilds of Vermont. In fact it was filmed at the same time as the first (or pilot) episode. Why? Because it’s slightly less expensive to film multiple episodes concurrently than to do so one at at time. This episode was filmed in August of 2011 and the weather was mostly fantastic – save for a few torrential rain showers and zillions of mosquitoes. But that notwithstanding, the experience was great and the cast and crew had a lovely time. At the end of each day we would wind down with a delicious meal cooked by our very own Nic Roewert – he plays Ox in the show – followed by a vigorous game of rotational ping pong in the basement of the house we all lived in during the duration of filming.

Episode three (along with upcoming episode four) were shot in the depths of winter, also in the wilds of Vermont. Like one and two, we filmed these two episodes in four days (four very long days). Unlike the first two episodes, however, we were deluged with snow and all its accompanying nuttiness. For example: cars stuck in snow drifts, trucks losing their brakes, crew slipping on ice, the director’s car sliding off the road into a ravine (she and the Unit Production Manager were unharmed) and numerous chilly fingers and toes. But we persevered and came away with two great episodes and lots of stories, that in hindsight seem much more charming than they were at the time.

From a cinematographer’s perspective (that’s what I do), each pair of episodes presented unique challenges. We decided to shoot the series on the Canon 7D – a small DSLR photo camera with video capabilities. The camera itself presents a number of hurdles, but the image quality it delivers is sometimes worth the extra effort of transforming what is really a still camera into something more film-friendly. Interestingly, once the camera is fully rigged for video shooting it’s nearly the size and weight of its more traditional filmic brethren. To get it to this point we add an external viewfinder (in our case a Zacuto EVF) on a naga arm, a set of 15mm rods on which we can mount a follow focus (Chrosziel) and matte box (also Chrosziel), a counter weight (so the camera isn’t so front heavy when hand-held) and hand grips (again for hand held work). We also add one or two small LCD screens for the 1st AC and possibly the dolly grip (both SmallHDs). We record the series using Technicolor’s Cinestyle picture profile which gives us a nice flat image in the camera which we can then manipulate in post (using Apple Color) to get very saturated colors – part of the Tuberville style.

Regarding the style, or look, of the show, when we were originally planning the series, Anelisa Garfunkel (director/writer), Mark Booker (Russ/writer) and myself (cinematographer), spent a lot of time talking about how the show should look. In the end we decided it would have a color palate similar to the show Pushing Daisies (long since cancelled, but lovely and worth watching), very saturated with deep reds and greens and a landscape similar to Northern Exposure (also long gone, but worth a watch), wide, expansive exteriors and warm interiors.

If you haven’t yet watched the show, go ahead and take a peek. They’re short and fun – and as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, they support a great non-profit organization, Tuberville. The non-profit works with farms and volunteer farmers to grow fresh, local, healthy food for foodbanks in New England. I suggest you check it out – perhaps you’d like to get involved.