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Behind the scenes with Java Post and SaskTel - Part 2

Topics:   Java Blog

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Working with Phoenix Group, Java Post Production and director Stephen Hall recently produced a new commercial for SaskTel, entitled "So Good Together."

Here is the second in a series of three posts giving you a little behind-the-scenes look at the day-long shoot.

The Java Post Production crew starts work on the third of seven scenes that need to be "in the can" by the end of the shooting day. With a change of camera position, lighting, and some extensive set-dec adjustments, the place where we saw two laughing kids watching a funny show on an iPad (see post one for more on that), now becomes a place where two adults (Jennifer Dawn Bishop and Danny Knight) cry while watching a sad movie.

While our two actors are in position on the couch, in the foreground of this picture we see, left to right, First Camera Assistant Joel Tabak, Director of Photography (DP) Adam Burwell, and our Director, Stephen Hall. You can also spot the boom microphone of our unseen Sound person, Kyle Parkinson, poking in above the heads of our actors.

Meanwhile, just off-camera, more of our crew wait quietly for the director to say "cut." Left to right: Art Department First Assistant Morgan Ottman, Hair and Makeup artist Vanessa Fahlman, and Java Post Production Supervising Producer Randy Shumay. In every movie and TV show you've ever seen, there are always far more people standing behind the camera than in front of it.

Still staying in this same lower level of the private home location, the crew moves the camera, shifts some furniture, moves some artwork and accessories, and creates something new for the next scene: a couple watching TV. If it looks like a totally different location to the camera, then it will look like a totally different room to the viewer. And it saves the crew from moving everything to seven different houses to get each shot.

Director Stephen and DP Adam check out the camera feed in the monitor.

For a change of behind-the-scenes pace, here's a photo of Adam and Stephen where you can see their faces. We don't know what they're discussing, but it looks both serious and creative. The headset Adam wears allows him to communicate with his camera assistants, who may be off in another room setting up something for the next scene. Headsets make communication quick and efficient, not to mention cutting down on the yelling throughout the location.

Java Post Production's Kristine Dowler (Second Camera Assistant) gets ready to "slate" the scene for the camera, while our Producer Randy gets set to play the video that will appear on the TV screen our actors (Jordan and Micah Lynnes) are watching. If you look closely at the camera slate in Kristine's hands, it says "scene 7." This is the fourth scene we're shooting today, but it's actually the last scene you'll see in the finished commercial.

Finally out of the basement, the crew moves upstairs for the next scene. Art Department Head Geoff Park points out something of interest to Randy.

Geoff and Randy are standing in - or, in this case, "sitting in" - for the actors while the camera crew sets the lighting.

Kristine updates the scene information on the camera slate. This is scene number four, even if it's the fifth scene we're shooting.

Before we start recording, Vanessa slips in to touch up the makeup on our actors, Karl Baui and Conie Zamayla. As with all our actors, they had been fitted for their clothing by our Wardrobe department, Joanna Volhoffer and Celeste Pinder.

Karl and Conie get set to leap off the couch, reacting to a presumed touchdown by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, while Adam and Stephen view the action on the camera monitor.


Throughout the shooting day, each shot is fed to a separate monitor so that representatives from SaskTel and Phoenix Group can watch each take and communicate their thoughts to the director. This collaboration is essential to ensure that everyone is feeling good about the results before we move on to the next scene.

To see part one of this three-part behind-the-scenes series, CLICK HERE.


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