Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Behind the scenes: Producing/Shooting at LAX

This commercial was a challenge to produce! I decided I'd jot down some notes for anyone shooting at a big airport in the future:

Filming at LAX: Airport security requires background checks for the entire crew, which means you have to be crewed up a week in advance. All gear has to pass through TSA, so we opted to go with Alexa Amiras. Shooting on tarmac comes with a $10m insurance requirement that has to be prepared 7 days in advance in order to obtain the FilmLA permit in time. LAX parking+security+traffic meant no production runs, so everything had to be on hand for the first shot. Background was uncontrolled (it's an airport) so we had to have a number of releases on hand. All in all this 60 second job required 31 insurance documents, permit requests, or applications.

We only had the marching band for a total of 4 hours between the two locations, UCLA and LAX, which required two units and a total of 6 cameras. 3 to cover the constant action in the airport, 1 to capture the marching band on the UCLA field, a timelapse camera, and a background shooter for media. The client wanted one set of footage that was basically a press-release on the event, and another set that was more cinematic, this cut.

Filming at UCLA: Drones aren't allowed on campus, so an overhead shot of a football field is a tricky one. UCLA was more than happy to allow us to use their 40' scissor lift, which was a huge boon.

Though all of our airport/campus contacts were very professional and helpful, I cannot imagine doing an airport shoot if it wasn't for an airport client like Delta (and UCLA on campus). With Delta we got: Access to special rooms to create a DIT base camp, entrance through Delta One, and the ability to coordinate plane arrivals with our crew, which made the whole approach shot possible.

All in all, a bunch of work for 60 seconds!

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