A few months ago when I was in the middle of a portrait shoot I got a call from my lady friend saying that the short film she was doing makeup work for wanted a photographer to do production stills and of course I said I was game.
Being put in a behind the scenes had me right in my element while at the same time brought it’s own set of challenges. The biggest of these challenges was that I had to avoid getting in the way. That seems like that would be fairly standard for shooting stills on set but when you what was so unique about The Understudy was that it was shot all on steadycam in one take following a central charter through the intricate inner workings of theater (and everything that can go wrong on opening night.) This meant I had to work quickly on the fly and well out of the way.
After the first couple of runs I got a clear sense of where I could and couldn’t be for all of my shots, what were the best vantage points and where the most visually interesting element were going to take place. What turned out to be most special aspect of the set was just how much was going on that the video camera wasn’t capturing. Makeup, costuming, line rehersals, vocal warm up, set dressing and the built tension that you feel before curtain opens were all happening as the single camera was rolling for a straight 8 minutes.
Great photos always come out of great challenges and shooting behind the scenes of the Understudy provided just that.