Hallelujah, Quiet on Set (Sp. Week 5)

This past Sunday, we started taping chapel. It was kind of exciting and stressful at the same time, and a borderline disaster. But a good disaster. It’s like when your car battery dies for the first time. It sucks and you don’t really know what’s going on, and you find out those funny looking cables in the trunk actually serve a purpose. Wallah, now you know how to jump a car.

Myself and four other interns we were told to get to chapel at eight in the morning. Louis and Alex didn’t show up until 8:30-9. We unloaded all the (heavy) equipment out the car and proceeded to set up. This wasn’t just hooking up wires, like in the Spotlight studio. No, this was setting up huge tripods with movie size cameras. I’m only 5’2, I struggled to say the least. Alex laughed at my height disability but was a lot of help. He is all about trying and failing, and trying again.

Once everything was hooked up, Louis and Alex picked me to be TD. Technical director, a job I had never done before. It was like a sink or swim situation. In the WHUT studio, you are able to see the feed from all three cameras in Cramton. Everyone was equipped with headsets and the camera people, in theory, knew their primary shots. So it was me in WHUT with Louis given me the rundown, three other interns operating the cameras with the help of Alex, and the fourth intern who was an audio controlling the sound board from inside Cramton as well.

It all seemed good in theory. I was learning how to ready each camera, how to fade from one shot to another, which buttons to push when I wanted to speak, all that good stuff. When the service started it all went to hell, and so quickly.

Immediately down in the studio the audio was through the roof. Not only was the audio loud but for some reason, it reflected in our headsets as well. So everyone started talking at once in my ear. Everyone was so focused on the sound that they, and forgot about the cameras. Once the audio was fixed, we tried to get into a steady rhythm. At first, the shots were all over the place, and I’m sure I confused camera 1 with camera 2 almost a million times. I think only the last 20 minutes of the service was salvageable.

So we didn’t totally sink, but we didn’t swim either. More like a sad doggy paddle. It was super rough, but I have no doubt in my mind that it will run smoother next time.

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