This week had me booked again with Running Robot to shoot out in their home turf in Phoenix, AZ. Being used to flying out of Oklahoma City all these years, it was a bit of a hike from New York to that part of the country. Flying out Wednesday afternoon got me there in time to get to sleep that night, pick up rental gear the next morning, the actual shoot, return rental gear, then race back to the airport for a red-eye flight back to NYC Thursday night.
Big fan of lensrentals.com and how easy they make shipping across the country. For this trip it was easier to rent and ship a similar tripod to a local FedEx vs. me traveling with mine. For grip and electric, I connected with MP&E Equipment Rental out in Scottsdale. They're 30-40 minutes outside of Phoenix but the scenery was worth the drive.
Speaking of Scottsdale, Chris Fenner – a solid Instagram follow and car enthusiast – introduced me to Four Coffee and their rubber stamps. Have I mentioned I've got a mild obsession with collecting rubber stamps from coffee shops? It's a thing and filling up my notebooks...
Once again, we were rocking the two camera interview setup: Canon 5D Mark III with a 70-200 lens for the tight; Canon 7D with a 24-70 for the wide. They also had me shooting a third camera through the interview to act as additional B-roll for the edit. The Running Robot guys booked a conference room in a downtown Phoenix co-working space. Three of the four walls were floor to ceiling glass so reflections were a real issue.
Slowly but surely I too am preaching the good news of working with these 4' Quasar Crossfades. The slim profile let me get the backlight in a tight spot between the talent and glass wall. The skimpy dimmers from by rental house were unusable trash, so instead I used some gaffe tape on the fixture to make a small skirt on the light cutting back some of the output. Oh, and the baby pin mounting option and rubber bumpers on each end of the tubes – so rad. The hodgepodge of color temps flooding the glass room from everywhere was a hot mess. I still feel like the color on these fixtures is a bit more red than I'm used to, but it's an easy fix in camera or post. My iPhone Xs was having issues too getting the color temps correct in my BTS photos. Side note: we had to rig the audio boom pole to a light stand via spring clamps because we felt like it (and didn't have the proper mount anyway).
Can we talk for a moment about red-eye flights? They're pretty awful – but still have their place. By all means it was my choice in scheduling because I wanted "the experience." Plus I knew it would help budget-wise seeing as how expensive all this is. Plus (plus) I'd already scheduled a couple meetings back in NYC knowing I'd be back in time thanks to flying through the night. The air travel part isn't that bad. Yes, it sucks trying to sleep on a plane, especially on a rough flight and next to a seat mate who isn't into "personal space" or "boundaries" or "jackets without massive shoulder pads." Some solid red-eye flight tips are only a Google search away and I know what I'll be doing next time – i.e. neck pillow, window seat, glasses instead of contact lenses, etc...
For me the rough part of flights back to NYC is actually getting from the airport back to my place in Brooklyn. There's a tipping point between in the financial benefits of public transit ($15-20 and 60-90 minutes) and time and comfort of just hiring a car from the airport ($50+ and 30-40 minutes). It was seriously a trip stumbling into my now regular coffee shop knowing only a few hours earlier I was standing on the other side of the country (Phoenix to San Francisco to Newark). I was fried for my 11am meeting in Manhattan, but it still went well. I was two coffees in before my 1:30p back in Brooklyn, but again, it went well too.