Inside information

During the day yesterday, we filmed more footage for the gardening show which is due to come out in January or February. I am learning a lot about the process. I can't believe how much work goes into a half-hour segment.

The camera guy is amazing, a real pro. He spends up to an hour preparing each shot, getting rid of undesirable light in about a dozen different ways using blankets, sheets of colored cellophane, aluminum foil, screens and other devices, as well as adding light with various bulbs and reflectors.

At one point, light was glaring off a picture on the wall. The picture was vital to the scene, so instead of taking it down, he pulled out a spray can of wax which he sprayed on the picture. No more glare. And the wax comes right off.

I also have a glaring shiny head which had to be buffed up a bit with various powders so that it didn't burn up the camera lens. Every different shot required a different sort of dusting. One lighting set up might cause glare on my prominent hook nose, the other might shine off my ear.

Then, we had to have three separate shots of each scene, one wide angle, and one up close for each person. You had to say the same thing each time to keep it coordinated. So, while the camera man adjusted the lighting, the co-host and I would develop our lines and rehearse until they coalesced into something consistent. That is an agonizing process.

When we were ready to shoot, we always gave it our best shot on the first time because sometimes, miracle of miracles, the first shot is the best. But if that fails, we start doing it over and over and over until we get it right. Tape is cheap.

While we were setting up one shot, the cameraman mentioned that he had wired up Barack Obama for sound before interviews three times during the campaign season. That involves running a wire up from the wireless unit under the suit coat to your lapel or wherever. The procedure is sort of intrusive.

In the process, the cameraman did run across a pack of Camels.