MacDirectory Magazine

Winter-Spring 2012

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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FEA TURE MD: Big Fish uses primarily Macs in your studio? DC: Absolutely, we are a 100% Mac-based company. We use 14 FCP suites, Xsan, Xserve, etc. Our Macbook Pros running FCP were used extensively in the field for media management and communication. MD: And the camera crew brought iPads too? DC: In Afghanistan, iPads were mostly used for entertainment. MD: The camera crew followed Navy EOD techs, but was stationed on an Army base in Afghanistan. Big Fish must have gone through some red tape to receive clearance. DC: No kidding. Our team was probably the largest camera crew ever embedded with the military. LT David Bennett helped pull this altogether through the right military channels. LT: Demonstrating that our professional sailors are fully equipped, manned and ready to complete their jobs was an important message to get across to the U.S. public. MD: So…where did this adventure begin? DC: In February 2010, we completed preliminary interviews. In May, Katie Gilbert and I met with the leadership teams of EODGRU ONE and EODMU-3. EODMU-3 was the next unit up to deploy into Afghanistan. By July, our film team had traveled to the Navy's training facility at China Lake, Calif. We filmed some great free-fall skydiving. In San Diego, we filmed underwater mine removal footage and yeah, by then our crew team and the EOD techs had become better acquainted. In October 2010, we shipped out on an Air Force C-17 transport ending up at Camp Bob Griffin in northern Afghanistan. MD: What was a typical day with EOD techs? DC: Actually, I'll let Supervising Producer/Cameraman Joe Venafro answer this question. Missions aside, your typical day started being woken up by either someone else in your tent (snoring) or indirect fire (mortars, AK- fire). That got your adrenaline pumping so much you couldn't go back to sleep. Around 7 AM, you'd walk up to the chow-hall for link sausage (often cold) and powdered eggs. Most of the time we ate watching reruns of . . . then back to your tent to make sure camera gear was ready and working (we were on call 24/7), before logging tapes and figuring out the story. All the waiting around to go out and diffuse bombs got to you. Some of us went for runs, others worked out, read, or watched movies. Lunch usually consisted of MREs (meals ready- to-eat), so we usually skipped it, warding off our hunger with caches of Pop-tarts and Clif Bars until dinnertime. If it was "Taco Tuesday," you were in luck. Any other night you were gambling with your digestive track. After dinner meant swinging by the mailroom in hopes of getting a care package and checking email. Tuesday and Thursday nights, crewmembers called Dan on their SAT phones and briefed him on production. The day would end hanging with the platoon. After that we'd go to our bunks, wondering when and if a call was coming. MD: How many missions were filmed? And what safety gear did the camera crew wear? DC: The crew filmed over 50 missions, and shot over 4,000 hours of footage. Throughout the whole engagement, EOD focused on the safety of the camera crew and EOD personnel. If it wasn't safe, they let the crew know. Every day, camera crewmembers had to wear a ballistic helmet, Level 3a Body Armor with side plates and soft armor underneath. And EOD asked them to have a "go-bag", or back-pack containing MREs, bottled water, toilet paper, SAT phone, and survival gear. Chief Groat (Chief): In each mission, you never knew what to expect, so safety was paramount. None of the cameramen had any prior military experience, so when I said jump, they jumped. MD: And the EOD techs and crew had some awesome camera gear with body cameras, helmet mounted cameras, plus multiple cameras mounted inside and outside the truck? DC: All the EOD techs had GoPro HD Hero cameras as chest cams, plus they were mounted all over the JERRV truck exterior. TV Boy in NYC designed three custom camera mounted rigs just for the JERRV interior. Contour HD and Toshiba lipstick cameras were mounted as helmet cams. These were critical to the storytelling, because sometimes cameramen couldn't get out of the truck and follow the EOD techs due to safety concerns. The cameramen used Sony Z7U cameras during the day, Sony A1Us at night, as well as the Canon 5Ds for base scenes and portraits. We came home with upwards of 100 terrabytes of tapeless material on FireWire hard drives. MacDirectory 107 G o l d e n G i r l s

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