Yesterday was a long day. My call-time was 9:00 A.M. and I didn't get home till almost midnight. My clients were very new to producing and I'd never worked with them before. The production's video shooter, however, was someone I've known for many years and had worked with, plenty of times, back in the day. I haven't seen this guy for quite a while and I really enjoyed working on a production with him again.
They were producing a 3-D flick which, I'll admit, is a bit unusual. For some reason, they were very close-lipped about the 3-D technology they were employing. They claimed it was proprietary. No problem. After all, no one's ever shot a 3-D flick before.
During a lull in production and simply out of curiosity, I asked a few questions about their camera and recording rig. They declined to answer and, seemingly, became a bit agitated. I was told my questions indicated I'm a little too knowledgeable about production and post-production for them to feel comfortable answering me. After all, it's proprietary, right? Funny, it was like they were saying their rig was a state secret and I might be engaging in espionage or something.
I was just a guy on the crew asking a few innocent questions.
Anyway, they seemed so enamored with their "proprietary" technology they only ocassionally thought to have the performers doing anything that would "play to" 3-D's potential. You know, like creating plenty of opportunities to move the performers, or have them wield props, towards the camera and back away from it... that kind of stuff. Alas, another example of people allowing their love-affair with technology to trump creativity instead of enhancing it.
Earlier in the day, when I first arrived, they told me I was going to shoot with their gear. OK. That's a bit unusual but no problem. I'm a go with the flow kind of guy. They handed me a 5D with a Canon 28-70 f/2.8 "L" zoom attached. I told them I had a 5D with me but they insisted I use their camera. Whatever. BTW, that lens is very sweet, although its min/max focal lengths aren't my first-choice for this kinda work.
Later in the day, one of the producers asked me if I was dumping the cards onto my computer. "Of course," I told them. "That's your backup." This caused a bit of stir. As the conversaton continued, I felt more than a little like they were infering, in a not-overly-subtle way, that I might steal their content. Did I mention the producers were also lawyers? They were. Please note that my laptop was in plain site of them (and everyone else) and I wasn't sneaking over to my computer and dumping the CF cards onto it in any secretive way. I explained it's standard practice for the shooter to back-up the work. In fact, most clients wouldn't hire me if I didn't back-up their images. (Or they wouldn't hire me again if they found out I didn't.)
So, okay, whatever, I told them I wouldn't be using their images (that I'd already backed-up) for anything other than a bit of promotion--for their benefit as well as mine--and, assuming I did so, it would only be a couple of images and I'd properly watermark them. They seemed satisfied with this. But, since it became an issue, I stopped backing-up whatever I shot from that point on.
Fast-forward to my arrival home last night.
I thought, before going lights out, I'd look at some of the stuff I shot and backed-up. That's when I discovered someone, apparently, deleted everything I saved to my drive! I gotta tell you, I felt fairly insulted when I realized what had taken place. At the very least, someone could have asked *me* to erase the stuff off *my* computer or, at the very VERY least, told me they had done so. If, by some quirk of fate, their computer crashes and they lose all the images I shot -- which has happened a few times in the past or, at least, something similar happened -- oh well.
Just for a bit of personal satisfaction, I used file recovery software to recover the deleted images. Yeah, I felt a little better just doing so. I've been doing this a long time. Nothing like this has ever happened before. Can you imagine how long I'd be working for most anyone if word got out that I was ripping people off for the images they hired me to shoot?
Sorry, but no images from yesterday's shoot to post along with this. I could do so if I wanted to but I'm not going to post anything from that shoot anywhere. Not because I can't. Not because a few of the models weren't exceptional. Not because I'm concerned about legal ramifications. And not because I'm overly preoccupied with these guys hiring me again -- and I will mention that I worked hard for my money, remained upbeat and enthusiastic throughout the production day, and snapped some pretty good stuff for them -- but simply because I have a bitter taste in my mouth over a few of yesterday's events.
Other than all that, it was a pretty good day, I (for the most part) enjoyed myself, and I look forward to working for these producers again. Assuming that happens, I will, as always, strive to be an asset to the production and deliver exceptional work.