Adapting to Surprises on the Set of Brooklyn Baby
Someone once said “when man plans, God laughs.” On the set of our film, Brooklyn Baby, we didn’t hear any laughter from above, but things definitely didn’t always go as planned. And it was up to us to decide how to react.
For months, Galileo Media Arts planned out the production of Brooklyn Baby. We coordinated between our offices in Boston, MA and Albany, NY, as well as our other crew members in Chicago and Saratoga Springs, NY. We finalized the script, carefully storyboarded our shots, prepared our gear, and booked flights for our video production crew to gather in Albany, NY, from around the country.
Like so many films, with logistics to organize and so many pieces to pull together, Brooklyn Baby ended up running slightly behind schedule — 3 weeks to be exact. We ended up locking in 3 shoot days in early April, 2019. This posed no major issues except one– our story originally was to take place in winter, and in upstate NY, early March and early April can make a BIG difference in terms of weather (April in Albany usually has temperatures in the 50s). While not ideal, we conceded that despite the warmer weather, our actors would just wear winter coats. At least it would (mostly) look like winter.
Finally the first shoot day came. We arrived early to set at Washington Park in Troy, NY. We looked around, and to our surprise, it began SNOWING. Our video production crew was flabbergasted. We had to act fast. While we hadn’t brought any protective gear for our RED Gemini camera and other water-sensitive equipment, this unexpected snow was a blessing for our story. Now it could really look like the setting was in winter!
Galileo crew sheltering from the April (!) snow
We immediately scrambled to set up our gear. We didn’t know how long the snow would last, so we had to act fast and think on our toes. We quickly applied makeup to our actor and set up our RED Gemini camera, dolly track, and Steadicam rig. We realized we also had to protect the RED Gemini camera’s sensitive electronics from the snow. Not to mention, it’s hard to get a clear shot if snow accumulates on the lens. Using what we had on hand, we quickly wrapped our RED camera body with a plastic bag to protect it from the snow. We also held an umbrella over the camera rig as the DP maneuvered all the shots.
Makeshift waterproofing for our RED Gemini camera
The snow only lasted for one hour, and by the end of the hour, our lead actress and video production crew were shivering in the cold. But we were so excited because we managed to get the shots we needed! We captured beautiful shots with our RED Gemini camera of our lead actress surrounded by the snow flurry. And even though it was April, the snowy shots really helped to solidify the winter setting of Brooklyn Baby.
No matter how much planning goes into any creative endeavor, things will never go exactly as you plan. Especially when filming outdoors, there’s always a degree of uncertainty– it’s up to you to decide how to react. And every once in a while, those unexpected surprises will help you create something even better than you imagined.