Philadelphia for a Night and Day

Just before moving to New York a client I've worked with the last few years reached out about a quick shoot in Philadelphia. No question – let's go. I knew I'd already be in Brooklyn at the time so I did the normal thing and looked for flights, this time out of New York City. Google Maps made fun of me and let me know Philadelphia is a two hour drive from the city.

"Don't be dumb, get a rental car." - Google Maps (pretty much).

Booking a car and picking it up in my neighborhood – easy. Driving in and around NYC and trying to park – I'd rather lose a fingertip in a fight with a table saw.

Not having to fly my gear on this shoot allowed a bit of wiggle room with my grip and electric budget. All the cool kids on the internet shoot with those fancy Quasar LED tubes but it's tough getting your hands on those Jedi laser swords in Oklahoma City. This is where Lightbulb Grip & Electric comes in. By far they were more than accommodating in my small order and made sure I had what I needed and knew how to use it. They set me up with two 4' Quasar Crossfades, dimmers, clamps, and c-stands.

After more than an hour trying to drive the four or so miles from Park Slope to the other side of Brooklyn to pickup the gear at Lightbulb, I was off to Philadelphia and working up fresh 'Yo Momma' jokes for the next table saw I came across. Good lord it was weird being out of the city after not being more than six to eight miles from my apartment for nearly a month.

It was dark by the time I got to my hotel in downtown Philadelphia and paid the $30 for overnight parking. I bundled up and headed out with a camera instead of camping out in my room because, again, that's what the cool kids do (I'm told). Word to the wise, the National Park Service Rangers – or at least the hired overnight security guards – will yell at you if you're walking too close to the chain railing on the street next to Independence Hall. Also, make sure your headphones aren't up too loud so you can hear them yell at you the first time. Oh, and they're not up for jokes if you're trying to lighten the mood and get them to stop yelling at you.

The actual shoot the next morning and reason I was in Philadelphia went very well. We were shooting another two camera interview for a series of client videos. It's not like these things come with a built in location scout, so I showed up with my normal Rock-N-Roller cart full of gear. Thank goodness for carts. We had to park in a garage a couple blocks away and then use a service elevator to get where we needed to be in another building. Luckily I was able to get all my nonsense from the car to where it needed to be in one trip.

So those Quasars... I'm a fan. We were shooting in a white room with plenty of daylight bouncing around. If I'd just had my trusty tungsten ARRI kit (650/300/150) I'd be freaking out knowing the gel and diffusion death march I'd be putting it through in getting the color and softness I wanted while praying it still had enough horsepower to overcome the ambient light coming through the windows. Those Quasar Crossfades were soft, bright, and I was able to quickly dial in the color temperature to what I wanted. They also weren't hot so the talent wasn't melting and I didn't have to wait for them to cool off before packing up. They felt a bit more magenta than I was use to, but that could've been how my monitor was setup. I've heard the color temp warms up a bit as they're dimmed down, but I had them at full blast. Seemingly the only butt-pain in using these lights in a travel kit would be hauling around c-stands; surely there's an easy solution to that.

Clara the dog is up here with me in NYC and needed to be boarded overnight while I was gone. That was a whole thing too, but it was a great experience with both the neighborhood vets office and the actual boarding facility. I'm assuming you're not here to read about my dog, but I will say she had a good time riding the subway. You're not supposed to have a dog on the train without them being in some kind of carrier – which again is a whole thing – but she immediately made friends on the train and surely made it on at least one more Instagram account.