I just heard yesterday on some news program that some airline is offering a new "coach" upgrade thing ...where for about $160 more per ticket you get 4 inches more leg room, and the seats go back 50% MORE.....
Yikes ! The guy in front will have his head in your LAP ! Might be like dominoes...where if the guy in the very front reclines, everyone in that row will also need to recline... ???
A Silly Story.. the punch-line never got to be an offical slogan ( unfortunately )
Years ago I was flying from NY to Denver via Continental. The airline had just had some kind of major problem ( bankruptcy and restructure ? ) and was now working with no more union employees at JFK... Also, they had no "gate" anymore. All the other union affiliated airlines didn't like the Continental planes cause they thought Continental had done the bankruptcy thing in part to "bust" the union. So at JFK that day all the people working for the other airlines... near the Continental plane getting ready to go to Denver ...looked at that plane and made faces and thumbed their noses etc. Nobody offered the use of a "gate". So we passengers were directed to some seating area and told to wait there.... We didn't really know what was going on. We didn't know we were going to be escorted out a door, down some stairs onto the ramp, and then use some portable staircase to get on the plane... While trying to figure out where our plane was and what was going to happen all the other airline employees came by and made faces at us. We saw nobody from "Continental" until finally one of their employees came into our area...( sorta between a couple gates ).. and YELLED AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS ..." ANYONE GOING TO DENVER ??!! "
I always thought that was a no nonsense way to get our attention and get us herded to the plane....and wish it had become a slogan...
" ANYONE GOING TO .......? "
That must have been in the Frank Lorenzo days. Continental was once a "proud" airline ("the proud bird with the golden tail"), but did fall on hard times. We used to fly it often from New Orleans, and they were working to create a real "luxury" experience. During that time, they bought several DC-10's (or maybe 1011 Tri-stars - just cannot remember, and they were very similar planes), and put in a stand-up bar in FC. The FC seating was "captain's chairs" around little round coffee tables - Neat! I photographed their inaugral flight from MSY to DIA, for their ads. The bar came about the same time that United (and others) went with the 747BC's with the little "piano bar" upstairs. Man, flying was fun back then. No passenger with their head in your lap!
Now, up-thread a bit, United has been up-selling their Economy Plus, if there are not enough Premiere Exec, or 1K fliers on a paticular flight. Depending on the ship, the Economy Plus can be a good deal. Now, United has reconfigured several 757's for their PS (Premium Service), and fly them between LAX & SFO and JFK & IAD. There is ONLY FC (more like BC on most ships) and Economy Plus, but the latter is not even close to the seating in Economy Plus on most other ships - a very, very bad joke. United has also recruited a bunch of "flight attendents from Hell" to work those PS ships. Most remind me of the character that Lottie Lenya played in a From Russia With Love. I will never fly a PS flight, unless I know that I will be upgraded.
haha...funny..I recall some of what you talk about.
That must have been in the Frank Lorenzo days
It was ( the continental flight to Denver ) to visit a friend dying from cancer in his mid thirties ( a freak thing )..younger than me by 5 years maybe...sooo, I would guess it was 1983 therabouts ?? My memory fades.
In the spirit of the occassion I flew first class round trip ( 1 week ) with the expressed condition that I not remain sober or allow my friend a sober moment through the week. We accomplished that ( found a nice sweater of mine under his bed ( his wife found it a month later) that I thought I'd lost in some swanky place on Larimer Street ) - this was when Denver was welcoming "Brooks Brothers" for the first time in that area.
ps.. I should explain....he was a State wrestling champion in his youth and we often had some skirmishes over some "art" issue ( we met in art school )
On the return flight ( first class and stewed to the gills ) I sat down in the FC area ( it was empty except for 1 other passenger ). That other passenger, after looking at me, his ticket, the stewardess, me, his ticket ....whispered something to the stewardess. I ( meantime ) was trying to figure out where the bar was in this god forsaken airplane....and she said, "may I see your ticket sir ? "
I showed her something resembling the ticket and she said I was mistakenly in the wrong seat and in THAT gentleman's seat ( pointing at the moron standing in an entirely EMPTY FC cabin ) ...and I mumbled, " Oh, I must be in THE FRONT ROW..." ( as aside re: the funny baseball commericials... )... at which time they both looked at me with stony faces ( not getting the joke ) and I moseyed over to the seat the stewardess led me to ( with grace at least ....she didn't just let me try to figure it out on my own...where I "belonged" ).
My friend died soon afterwards ( not from our week of insanity ) and wrote in his last letter, " If you ever want to do some REALLY good drugs.... GET CANCER ! " ( hydromorphine will do strange things to friends .. .he didn't mean it ).
The bar came about the same time that United (and others) went with the 747BC's with the little "piano bar" upstairs.
we used to wear a suit and tie on those flights....not "mandatory" but you would never think otherwise out of respect for each other... it wasn't like '''' oh geez, I have to wear a suit ! ? ''' It was more like, " yipee...I'm going first class to Tahiti and I'm going to wear a suit ! " Put on a good "face" for America or something ?
United has also recruited a bunch of "flight attendents from Hell" to work those PS ships. Most remind me of the character that Lottie Lenya played in a From Russia With Love.
In tribute to Bill, my best friend probably, I never DID pin him ( 3 secs with both his shoulder blades on ground ). but he never pinned me either. And we nearly destroyed quite a bit of furniture and high fidelity stereo stuff to prove this. God bless him.
ps. I was twice his size and weight and in very good shape !
We used to wear a suit and tie on those flights....not "mandatory" but you would never think otherwise out of respect for each other... it wasn't like '''' oh geez, I have to wear a suit ! ? ''' It was more like, " yipee...I'm going first class to Tahiti and I'm going to wear a suit ! " Put on a good "face" for America or something ?
I recall those days. I still fly in a blazer, but that is so that I do not have to pack it, 'cause I'll need it for dinner. If I fly FC, or BC, I can get it hung up. If I fly coach, I usually try to charm the attendents into haning it up front. On that United PS flight, that was were the issues with the attendents started. One replied, "when you're back here, you don't get to do that." OK. Next, I order the "premium" Chardonnay for me, and for the wife. I was then told, "look, I'm too busy to get that. Back here you've got to take what I give you - no exceptions." It went way downhill from there. So much for "Welcome to the friendly skies... "
My favorite slogan is actually a tag line, which I have used several times -- "Wanna Get Away?"
LOL.. that's a good one...
reminds me of some job I was on where there were a bunch of 'burger king' employee shirts on set and I got one at end of job....they were very "cool" insomuch as they are meant to be worn in hot kitchen type area.. so the material etc was very nice for working on hot sets.
With the added bonus that every time I wore it on a job and someone asked me to do something I would yell, " OK, HAVE IT YOUR WAY ! "
Hope you get back from vacation soon , Bill.... and report a fun time etc
re: airline stuff ...this trailer should bring back some memories re: dressing up for flights and the general "designs" around in the early 60's. Cars were distinctive looking back then and made of real steel ! ...
pan am trailer
the talent on show is great... good people, hard working, very talented and fun too..
hope show does well with audience
I think Kelli is my favorite... she is hilarious on set sometimes, but everyone is real nice...
its "looks" beautiful... with great costumes, hair, makeup, set design, lighting, etc
its unusual for me to be so enthusiastic about a show.
worked 2nd unit as dolly grip on this Thu.. ...thu night. Man what a night ...rain, tons of wind... ext / night in big parking lot area near stages...about a 200 foot x 60 foot scaffolding built to hold a green screen of that size ( will be JFK getting on airforce one - in Berlin - in final composite )...
Had to use wire rope to tie scaffolding off to tractor trailer ( rigging stuff on truck ) behind scaffolding, it was so windy... first screen put on ripped in half from wind in about 10 min.... had to put another one on... was pretty hairy stuff... 20- 30 mph wind.
Plus temp went from 80+ in daytime to about 47 deg at night... was like being in desert or something, the temp swing was so severe. Good thing I had a sweatshirt in my car... was wearing shorts and rain pants...and froze butt off toward morning...legs were shaking from cold.
used fisher dollies and luma crane
for shots... plus a steadicam.... using alexa cameras, recording log C on sxs cards...fcp with powerbooks and gtech graid drives to check s x s cards after reloads on camera ( cards are checked quickly during the " check the gate" action when shot is done.. though now we say " check the chip " instead of check the gate ..if its digital ). To make sure the cards got everything and is transferred to hard drive backup ...fcp and powerbook and gtech drives is the thing.
Would love to see adobe instead. I do see maya on set sometimes for composites " live " during shots.. which is kinda cool.
started prelight 330pm thu, shooting started about 7:30 - 800pm...wrapped around 730am friday.... beat the XXX outta me...was sore and tired and slept all day friday , friday night ....finally feeling human again now.
show looks great !
My first wife ( got married around 20 years old ) worked for pan am after graduating from Katherine Gibbs Secretarial school ( in pan am building ).
Was exec sec for a VP of cargo sales , Asia.... so we used to go to the hot shot lounge for pan am on roof near heliport etc sometimes.... meet there after her workday ( I was working on wall st for merrill lynch then )... and we also flew all over the place on employee discounts... ( tahiti, london, puerto rico on weekends, nassau, etc )
pan am owned intercontinental hotels then so they slashed that bill in half on checkout...
I wore suit and tie on flights back in those days... wasnt a grip back then .... the show brings back fond memories cause of this ....
I guess this show might be targeting the over 40 crowd. There's some secret spy stuff going on, and maybe writers will dig a little into the history of the period ( JFK period ) and make it interesting beyond the usual " character driven drama".
Here's hoping its a success....
when watching video ( after commercial ) look at 49 secs into it...the ceiling ...for VFX...
This set has TONS of green screen stuff going on... and those "points" of reference are real important for camera match moves etc.
at 1:47, that plane is on a stage too.. this is all sets so far... no locations yet...
at 2:12, thats all green screen back there ...background.. we are still on set you saw in beginning with the VFX stuff on ceiling.
going back to the trailer....
notice in taxi ride ( girdle dialogue ) camera is low...looking "UP" out of cab windows so you dont see modern cars etc.
plane boarding ( will you marry me ? )... is parking lot of steiner studios...wind made by fans, plane is green screen...
stairway to plane is real.
lots of green screen stuff...is fun to pick it out as you watch ( IMO )
ps... the alexa camera ( newest firmware update ) has a built in " angle" display. used to be you'd have to manually get measurement of angle of camera as one of your " input points " for match moves, green screen stuff ,etc in editing vfx ... in other words, camera now knows it is angled "up" at end of shot at 28.2 degrees... and displays that when asked... so camera dept can record that in notes on shots ( beginning and end of shots etc ). measurements are also taken re: lens heights ( on boom , beginning and end heights etc ).. and other measurements are made at green screen by putting markers on the screens ( X shaped or whatever on screens... ). This is fairly "new" in film biz... to deal with this stuff so much. It used to be that only a star wars or avatar type movie would deal with this.. to see this on large scale on TV episodic ( boardwalk empire does some of this too ) job is pretty much breaking new ground for that venue.
Is interesting... fun to figure out what is actually going on in post and so on.
It appears that in some instances, a few people see an advantage in proper tax incentives, and also Bloomberg is not talking about "rioting" in the streets.
I am glad that NYC is addressing the production issues, and trying to make it easier to film in the City.
Yeah, the tax incentive thing...not sure how that works....but I THINK it's the sales tax paid on stuff that goes to the production as some sort of "voucher". 30% from ny state and something like 10% from nyc.
I'm guessing the voucher(s) can be sold ( at a slight discount probably ) to another production thats gonna shoot in ny...or applied toward income tax of city and state by production..
but at any rate the lumber yards ( set building etc ), hotels ( cast , production), local restaurants ( cast and crew ), equipment rental houses, camera rentals, crew ( jobs for employees ) benefit from more work and they in turn spend more money, generating more tax revenue for city and state etc etc...
It sorta got started on an international level first ( canada, countries in europe, new zealand etc ) and then stateside between states and cities...like a sort of competition to draw the work there.
NYC can't handle much more work at this point for a couple reasons...one of which is that at some point residents get fed up with having their blocks and neighborhoods invaded by huge trucks and campers etc... so they can't park on their own blocks etc... or get sick of having bridges and roads closed by movie companies.. By and large most people are pretty cool about things, but there is a saturation point.
Do not know how it works with other states, or cities, but in New Orleans, and Louisiana, all state, and city sales taxes were waived, via an exempt status awarded to the production companies.
I do understand shutting down parts of a city. Though the productions in NOLA were a bit on the small size (some exceptions), there were always plenty of closures, and the merchants, plus the residents, always came out and complained.
Not that long ago, Washington, DC, shut down many of the routes into and out of the city, so that several news organizations could film/tape the cherry blossoms. Not sure who issued those closure orders, but several transportation companies raised a ruckus. Luckily for us, our limo driver knew many shortcuts, and was aware of all closures. This was for only a few parts of a couple of days, but caused some heavy backups - along with tour companies also trying to get tourists down certain roads to see the blossoms.
but in New Orleans, and Louisiana, all state, and city sales taxes were waived,
This brings back a not so fond memory of one of my first " editing " experiments with cs3 on mouse computer. My local made a "video" about productions in nyc using a red camera ( we own ...the one I used at home to experiment with later on ).... and was basically 'interviews' of working people on crews ( my local, camera local, teamsters, craft service, production designers, scenics, etc ) and how much the tax credit helped bring work to nyc.
Well, I wanted to stress that the credit actually helped OTHERS in the state and also new jersey, CT etc... to have these credits...so that the message that the video conveyed was broader in scope. Part of my desire to make it more broad in it's appeal to viewers, was to have real 'numbers' ( comptroller of state numbers ) re: cost in tax credit vs generation of jobs, industry expenditures and generation of ' more ' revenue. In other words, don't just say " this generates more taxes for the state and jobs etc " ...but prove it with the numbers.
So I edited the video and put some titles and text and other stuff in there to show how it could be improved ( with my great idea to make a broader appeal ).
Well, when I got to show it to the president of the editors local in nyc via youtube I got slapped on the wrist...
His response, " this has been worked on, approved and edited by professionals and has recieved great response from ny state legislature already, and will be voted on soon and is a done deal "
Well, I was crestfallen and plussed ( not nonplussed ).
NJ lost its tax credit but ny did pass it.
It was sorta fun to " edit " something to make it better ( IMO ) to make a point ( like photo journalism sorta ).. and I found out it isnt good to overestimate the intelligence of " those in control " of things on the working man's plane of existence.
( video started with a countdown like the one in cs3 for leader -- looked like some kinda " kids' project from the start with that ....)
PAN AM TV SHOW
I keep thinking about this show and have to admit its the first one in 40 years or so of working on stuff that I feel really enthusiastic about... that I want to succeed for as long as the talent and writers and producers and everyone feels good about doing it...and audience loves.
Oddly, there's no advertising for it that I've seen in nyc area.
Oddly, what ads there are ( on abc website etc ) stresses " lives of stewardesses " ...which kinda limits the overall potential of the show IMO. After all, pan am was an air carrier.. with great stewardesses and great service etc...but it wasnt about the stewardesses. It was about travel.
Compared to travel today ( where everyone goes everywhere at the drop of a hat ), travel then was sorta a planned big deal for passengers. Like maybe once a year you would go somewhere as a vacationer...maybe once every 5 years.
Girls back then faced the taboo of sex before marriage.. as did men, though us men tend to forget that little fact of life nowadays. So I didnt pursue sex before marriage, and most girls I knew then ( back in 1967-69-70 ) didn't either. And we were already 17-18-19 years old etc.... not kids really, but not quite full time adults either.
Kids supposedly grow up faster today I guess, and with women's rights movement and " sex and the city" tv shows, it's hard to imagine that time period of " pan am " show... but it's true. You expected pan am to have beautiful stewardesses, but like most men of my age you thought of women as " better then men " in general, protected them instead of lusting after them, and tried to be on equal ground regarding a love for life and a good future for the world.
I hope the writers bring some history and unexplained incidents to the screen with this show. Like when my wife ( who worked for pan am at main office ) went to a bunch of middle east countries on a vacation ...and the plane got boarded in Kabul by a bunch of soldiers with machine guns... and walked through plane looking at everyone with fierce expressions on faces....and nobody ( including pilots ) had a CLUE what was going on...
No " answer " or explanation ever came...
That's what flying was like .. an adventure sometimes with no answers as to why things were crazy in other parts of the world.
And the stewardesses ( and pilots etc ) handled all this with class and I hope the show is brave enough to show us these things... back when flying was really comfortable and the planes weren't packed like cargo carriers.
I am with you on desires to see more than prime-time "soap," set in the middle of the last century, with a plane, or two involved. I want to see the "glory days" of commercial airline travel portrayed realistically. I grew up in that era, and fondly recall air travel then, though did not experience trans-Atlantic, or trans-Pacific air travel, until later, when things had already changed. Even at that time, I pined for a few decades before, with more interesting ships, and every gentleman wearing a suit and hat, and many women in hats and gloves. Air travel WAS a big deal then, rather like train travel, just a few years before.
There was also a lot going on regarding the men (mostly) behind the airlines, and the unique identity of each airline. It was more than ships and routes - think Braniff. I want a "trip back in time," and if there are individual characters' stories, I want air travel to be the leit motif of the series. However, I am not holding my breath. Unfortunately, the TV audience wants to see The Randy Housewives of East Lincolnshire, or similar. Unfortunately, I feel that that is what we will get, but maybe Pan Am will break new ground, just like Hill Street Blues, Twin Peaks, St. Elsewhere, and others did, 20 - 30 years ago. It will all depend on whether the producers are ONLY drawn by $, or whether they realize that they have a real potential groundbreaker on their hands. I am betting on The Randy Stewardesses of Pan Am, but hope that I am proved very wrong.
I want to see Hap Arnold, Juan Trippe and others, who shaped air travel in particular, and travel in general. I had the pleasure of knowing some of the later movers and shakers, like Frank Lorenzo (later Continental), Frank Borman (Eastern Airlines), Ed Beauvais and Bill Franke (America West Airlines - plus Doug Parker, the CEO of the new US Air) and some others. In their own way, they were pioneers, just like Walter Varney (UAL).
Naw, the potential is there, but all will depend on how it's handled. Time will tell.
In the meantime, I am looking closely at Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class, for my flights to Heathrow, as they seem to get it, and harken back to that earlier time. Maybe airline travel can regain some of the glory? Maybe everyone has not forgotten? Perhaps it will soon shake the Greyhound Bus image, that permiates the industry now. We'll see if "class" is still viable in our world.
PS - I have been seeing the promos for ABC's Pan Am, in Arizona, San Francisco and Hawaii, so ads ARE playing. Not sure why the NYC market is bereft of them?
I suppose I'm suffering from nostalgia re: air travel back in the late 60's and early 70's... and that from a perspective of a "airline employee ( wife- pan am )" discount. When stewardesses saw ( from boarding pass or ticket stub ? ) that we were married traveling on pan am employee discount it was inevitable that at some point they would sit with us ( it was never crowded back then ) and yap about what we did for living and what our plans were and so on ...sharing info and comraderie like as if we were somehow connected.
I recall one stewardess trying to help me get my ears equalized as I had stuffy nose and ears were killing me... from pressure... and she made all these faces and mime expressions etc ( like hold nose, gently blow out.. or open mouth wide and try to yawn ) that she had everyone around us laughing hysterically ...
If first class had room we got put up there when flying standby regular class ( forget what it was called... there were only 2 ...first and normal ).
The travel itself ( experience there at destinations ) inevitably became part of the " whole " experience, including the flying part. So the trip to tahiti is just as important re: flying experience ( was a long flight from nyc ) and the hotel and activities and people met etc.
At an outdoor cafe / restaurant in papeyete (sp? ) some french waiters were speaking french and making fun of me and wife as we struggled with menus. Some guy near us heard and invited us to his table ( he was alone at big table ). He was captain of a ship from UCLA or some southern CA. school affilliated with the ship which was doing maps of the ocean floor around there ( seismograph stuff ). He became our friend and invited us for tour of ship and lunch with crew etc in the mess later that day.. was an American. It was truly fascinating... how the ship worked ( had propellors that pointed DOWN in both bow and stern areas so it could crab sideways or turn on a dime ).. and it took the sting out of the waiters making fun of us at the restaurant, which he had heard and put to an end by inviting us to his table, etc. He was much older than us " kids " and I still think of that whole trip with fond memories in part cause of that one guy.
One day we went to Morea (sp? ) where there was a brand new club med ( first one ? ). We took ferry to island and saw there was only one to go back to papeyete in afternoon... so we got there and had lunch someplace on "beach" and met some girls from club med thing and drank a few tropical drinks with rum and fruit. We never had these drinks before and when it came time to actually STAND UP and move ...me and wife were dizzy !
There goes the ferry back to mainland and our hotel !!! Bye ! We watch it go and laugh hysterically due to rum etc. So those girls had some kind of " hut " or whatever you call it each... and they gave us one and stayed together in the other one... for the night. How cool is THAT ?
The next morning we felt a bit hung over and sheepish but everything was OK..and after breakfast with girls and saying bye and stuff we walked a couple miles to some little dirt airport and managed to talk some guy into flying us in his little cessna to the mainland. On way we passed a place that sold fresh bread and cheese etc...which we ate on beach ...
These sorts of memories are intertwined with PAN AM ... The whole thing is like impossible to separate into parts... like " oh, this is how we got there and back, but THIS is what we did when we were there..."
It's all one thing... hard to describe I guess.
That's the type of stuff, that I hope Pan Am focuses on, but somehow doubt it. Not enough illicit behavior - no car chases - few explosions - just stories, linked via Pan Am, from a by-gone era.
I predict that it will be some sort of ...Housewives series, with elements "borrowed" from The Stewardesses. Heck, they might even release Pan Am in 3D...
( whine ) ohhhh, please dont say that ! nooooooooo.... It HAS TO BE GOOD !
The writers and creative husband / wife that got this going are normal people who REMEMBER ...and they wont let it become that dumb etc. Maybe at first there's some faltering steps and some confusion etc... but I really need to believe in this show for some reason.. that it wont be so darn stupid ! The talent is really really good ! They will help too !
I feel strongly about this to the point that if someone asks tomorrow on set, " Who wrote this NONSENSE ? ! " , I will gladly stand up and yell, " I'M SPARTACUS ! " ...and someone else hopefully stands up and yells, " NO, I'M SPARTACUS ! " ...and we can move on quickly to get some good stuff in the can ! ( with the on the spot revisions necessary to make it a good show ! )
I hope that you are correct and that TV does not corrupt a good thing - as it has sometimes in the past.
I'll be looking forward to the release (need to check dates, and maybe set DVR, depending on when it airs), and will also hope for the best. I am interested from many levels, and cannot say that I have found any dramatic series in the last several years, that I really cared to view. Now, I spend most of my viewing time on FoxNews, some cooking/restaurant/wine shows, and if I can find something good (not so easy nowadays) on History, or Discovery, or maybe even the Travel Channel. Were it not for NFL football, some golf (ain't the same, since Tiger's fall from grace), and the majors in tennis, I would only be watching "news TV." I need something lighter to entertain me, and this would be a good one, at least in concept.
Fingers X'ed for the show's success, and also for a long term for you, working on it.
Good luck, and keep the reports coming,
yeah, life goes on.. but I'm not thinking long term about anything at the moment.
It's day by day for me.
Here's an interesting email I just sent to my union buddy about a seminar on balloon lighting TOMORROW at 12 noon...
This is what is on the website now...
We are currently in the process of organizing a seminar that covers both lighting and ground fault technology. As lighting balloon technology progresses, the need to train qualified electricians in our Local is becoming more important. We feel it's time to address the needs of productions by training technicians in all safety procedures and new technical advances. This will ensure that every position is covered by our Local.
Wet and humid locations are becoming a safety hazard for the electric department. It's because of this that we're packaging a GFCI "Wet Rigging" safety course along with the balloon seminar. We will have a special guest, Steve Brock from Bender ET, to take part in teaching the latest in safety standards. Bender is the worldwide leader in ground-fault technology.
The seminar will be held on Saturday, September 24th at 12:00pm, and will be roughly 6 hours long. It will be at Sourcemaker's warehouse (612 Corporate Way, Suite 1, Valley Cottage, NY 10989). The class will only hold a maximum of 25 people, so be sure to contact the union hall to express your interest in this course. It's meant for department heads, best boys, as well as interested electricians in both on-set and rigging. It will include both hands-on and PowerPoint segments. Anyone who attends this class will be considered qualified for balloon operating an wet rigging using GFCIs and those specialized skills will be added to your place on the roster.
Any Grip interested in learning about the cloud balloon please call the office ASAP.
It seems to me that over the last few years whenever there's a balloon ( int or ext ) the key grip and gaffer and dp know where they want it to live... but nobody else knows what to do about it until they are " asked " to do this or that.... I've been on so many jobs ( ext night, rain SFX etc ) where wind is a factor and the balloon guys actually try to fly the stupid thing without breast lines on it to wrangle it to where they want ONCE ITS IN THE AIR ". I've carried sandbags to them ( to tie their lines down ) without being asked for it, as it seems kinda like common sense to deal with the problems inherent with a balloon ( whether its a light or not ). On " have you heard about the morgans" I took off all the ******** lines the balloon had on it ( like a harness around balloon attached to pick points ( reinforced points with beckets ) ) to make room for my own lines to tie it to a crane.. which was nothing more than some speedrail pipe off the bucket to "trap" the balloon there ....
Meanwhile, everyone looks around like , " what should I do ? "
This is grip stuff and has nothing to do with grounding the thing .. I guess that has to do with if the neutral leg gets kicked out by accident or something ?? like people get electrocuted near the ballast etc ?? I have no idea how the thing is powered and made safe re: electric.
But I do know that it is NOT anything that the grip dept is inherently involved with beyond the initial " rig" ( like putting on crane ).. and the communication between the balloon guys ( sorta like SFX ? ) and electricians ( run power to the thing ) and the grips ( look out ...there's a crazy balloon flying around ! ) .. is not the greatest in the world.
So I'm glad there's some seminar and interest in handling these things going on between depts in 52.
I happen to be working on pan am ( I think ) tomorrow. I have no call time or location yet and dont know if its been cancelled due to weather ... and its already 530pm.
This is what is going on in the world of " being a dolly grip on 2nd unit for pan am " . And a lot of jobs in general. Last minute " bodies " needed to do jobs , but not much in the way of communication. Production doesnt feel the need to do it. We all have cell phones and the hall now treats members like " per diem " employees of a " temporary employment agency " . No respect for workers and no respect for talent and skill.
So why would I express an interest in a seminar that helps an equip " vendor " if I dont even know if I'll be done with tomorrow's workday by 12 pm tomorrow ? How can I plan my life and appointments etc with less and less control over my own schedule ?
Good luck and hopefully the balloon vendor has the class to invite individuals up to their warehouse etc to show those individuals how to work with their equipment and make it safe and fast to use on set. Time is important and people standing around with thumb up butts doesnt help anyone on set.
heres the place with balloons
ITS BEER THIRTY ! YIPEE !
EDIT... hehe.. Bill... go to that website and look at link " balloon of the month " and you will notice it has a definite resemblance to " sausage " of the month... that promised YOU a lobster dinner at Adobe headquarters ! Nothing like gold stars and sausages and lots of free yoodles to make our lounge a more friendly and fun place to be !
( hic )
is beer thirty !
I have not seen those things on a production set, but for many years now, have seen them illuminating "garden" events, and they do a wonderful job. The quality of the light is very, very nice. For the "event" units, not sure what instruments and bulbs are inside, but I do like the effect, kind of like the light that you get in a partial solar eclipse - very interesting.
We has something a bit similar in Denver, BUT it was a 10' x 10' trapazoid, with diffusion on the bottom, and white on the inside. Would have been better, if it was a parabolic unit, or better yet, eliptical, rather like the balloons. We could rig the instruments for firing up, into the trapazoid (and the square mounting plate at the top, or down through the Herculean. Nice, but no where near that quality of a balloon. If we'd have had about 35' of clear eave height, we might have been able to do a better job, but only had 24', and this sucka' was rather deep (to soften the light). After we packed in the studio, I did see one that was commercial with the parabolic shape, which was some form of lightweight fibreglas, sort of like a custom hot tub, but paited matte white and upside down. However, it was about US $ 30K, so one would need to be shooting car ads, or something similar, to justify the cost. Trust me, even big-time still work is not like TV/film production "stuff." Also, away from Hollywood, Detroit (in glory days) or NYC, there are not that many rental houses for some of this stuff. Besides how do you ship a 20' x 20' fibreglas parabola - on an angle on a rail car?
Yeah, those balloons look like a neat device.
yeah, car stuff is pretty demanding space wise and is sorta like shooting jewelry but on a large scale... due to reflections and using large sources etc. .. basically tent out the thing like jewelry and then add negative fill and "reflections" with blacks etc... not unusual to pre-light for 5 days with all the rigging and so on.
on men in black there was a scene ( the pawn shop owned by alien with hidden weapons ) where we rigged a similar " overhead " sometimes used for car type shots ...a giant silk outside that covered about 1/2 the block in length and the whole distance between buildings on opposite sides of street...so it was all silk ( for sun ) on block outside, at the height of rooftops ( actually one floor below roof ). had to get locations to "buy" a lot of access to the places to rig wire rope with come-alongs to stretch real tight, anchor properly etc etc ... and then use beckets on edge of custom silk to clip onto wire rope... and then use rope and pulley system to pull the silk up and down the block as needed ( sun moves ) and to keep it tight.
lots of cranes to rig the stuff.
Had to spread the load a lot too, at pick points..due to fact you dont exactly wanna tighten wire rope and pull the wall off a building by accident...
pan am airplane "set" .... info from some article online...
the cockpit is in "parts" so that you can have the entire nose intact or you can pull "panels" of cockpit off as needed for camera angles to shoot into it... this shot has the whole nose and side panels off.
this is now a bit more "busy" ... as there are now lighting wires ( header cables, feeder cables etc ) all over this thing..plus some air conditioner "tubes" feeding the fuselage.. but you get the general idea. One thing I noticed right off is that the "plane" fuselage" looks WAY longer when there are no wings on it....weird but true... its very long.
=========pasted info re: set etc =========
There’s a full bar, leather banquettes and legroom that makes today’s planes look like cattle cars. You can almost hear the sexy stewardesses whispering, “Coffee, tea or me?”
“The level of detail that went into the build is staggering,” said the show’s technical adviser, Toby Conroy.
“Our altimeter is set at 35,000 feet when cruising. Our landing-gear lights illuminate upon landing.”
The set plane, which cost producers at least $100,000, is 115 feet long and 18 feet wide and sits in a long tin shed across from the Navy Yard’s Steiner Studios.
It’s a replica of the kind of Boeing 707 that made Pan American World Airways, which went bankrupt 20 years ago, the king of the so-called Jet Age.
It was an era when high-speed, long-range flights were only for wealthy, fashionable travelers who expected a level of comfort beyond even today’s private jets.
The new show, “Pan Am” -- which debuts Sept. 25 at 10 p.m. -- looks to capture the vibe of that bygone era, and its Brooklyn jet set is a key part of the illusion.
As you walk through the fuselage to the cockpit, you can easily forget about today’s airport security lines and imagine a day when airline passengers were treated like royalty.
The seats on this flight have leg and arm room. There are no overhead bins, just shelves for piles of fabulous signature blue Pan Am blankets.
And if you’re still a smoker, you can light up at your seat and use the ashtray in the armrest.
The first-class lounge is even more deluxe.
It has a full bar and blue leather banquettes where passengers can sip their vodka gimlets out of real glasses.
“The Boeing 707 was the flagship that changed the world, and Pan Am was the first to use them,” said Conroy.
Tasked with building a set, production designer Bob Shaw contacted several airline archives and realized his team would have to start from scratch.
At airline scrap yards in California and Nevada, the crew found everything from wall panels to toilets to windows.
For the cockpit, Shaw and his team cut the nose off of a 727, which Conroy says is structurally identical to the 707. They refurbished the interior with original 707 parts.
you maybe cant see this clearly but re: the fuselage...its wood. each "section" ( where you see a window ) is built as units and then it is all bolted together ( at flanges you see )... you can score ( route , datablade ) plywood so it bends to the curve you want on inside, and there are products ( rubber wood ) that bend easily to shape..
set builders work from blueprints ( exact detailed blown up drawings for custom mouldings etc ) by set designer and art director helps the scenics finish the set you " see ".. lots of talent on show to do these things.
I was given tour of intrumentation of cockpit ( all is working ) and mini - " simulator " type custom made electronics to control the cockpit "instrumentation".. and if there had been time woulda sat in pilots seat just to see where everything was compared to my own little flying experience ( supercub in Denver 1973 ). I bet its a lot different than a supercub !!!!
Is sorta fun sometimes to work on stuff like this !
comments etc at bottom got resonse from company guy seen below
Sam Nicholson says:
September 17, 2011 at 9:41 pm
Hey Brendan. Great comments. To give you guys (Matt) an idea of why the GS stage was not perfect – we convinced Sony about two weeks before the shoot that we had to do all the comps live on set and capture the tracking data or we would not be able to deliver the show on schedule. We flew four 30′x100′ green screens to NYC with two Previson compositing systems, 75 ceiling targets and two complete camera packages. Our two TD’s flew in from California before the shoot and we had four days to completely turn an empty warehouse into a real time virtual shooting stage with a minimal crew. That involves hanging 400′ of green, securing 75 4x4 targets into the ceiling, laser surveying and calibrating 450 individually ID’d images on the targets, calibrating all the production lenses (both zooms and primes), registering the virtual sets to the physical sets and setting up the workflow to record both composited and non-composite images during the shoot. We did all this for a two day shoot – then struck the set back to an empty warehouse – that is why there are some wrinkles in the green screen. But you will notice there are no tracking marks. 98% of our final shots bypassed post motion tracking. X,Y,Z, Yaw, Pitch, Roll, Focus and Zoom translated seamlessly into our 3D group allowing for final uprezed renders to start right after picture lock – for a 10 day compositing turnaround. In pre-production the virtual World Port terminal, interior and exterior took a team of eight 3D artists 6 weeks to build.
We have now given all our CG assets to Zoic for the series. I wish them luck in that the studio as cut the episodic. budget to 1/10th what we did the pilot for.
If you want to see the before and afters in better resolution, check out our website at http://www.stargatestudios.net.
Thanks for watching.
note: pilot shot on Long Island near Grumman "stage" ( luna module building turned into stage ).. the warehouse used was close to the 'new' Grumman stage.
After pilot was shot ( that part shot in warehouse ), it was struck, transported to Steiner studios ( brooklyn navy yard ) and re-contructed for series shooting. Yesterday was the last day for that green screen stuff for a while and is now being struck to make room for other sets.
The primes and 2 zooms ( optimo 12x and 24x ) are typically with the A unit. 2nd unit had to 'borrow' the lenses yesterday to shoot stuff.
Alexa has a little camera pointing up at the ceiling targets mounted on top of alexa. That gets recorded at DIT station at same time alexa is recording shot to SxS card ( log c ). That ceiling target information is then available to composite later ( match moves etc ).
I tried to find out what lens characteristics make those primes and zooms particularly "calibrated" with the laser measurements of targets.. how that is sorta 'done' and why other lenses would throw of the measurement ( what element of lens, distance to gate etc , makes that critical..but couldnt find out... too busy to ask the right persons... will find out when I can.
Any ideas about that ???
2nd video down -link on page - is like a " reel " for the vfx co...isnt long, shows a lot.
to see ceiling targets see...
when watching video ( after commercial ) look at 49 secs into it...the ceiling ...for VFX...
we had techno crane on yesterday 2nd unit..that green screen stage stuff being shot ( with ceiling targets ). I was yappin with the crane tech ( Stu , who is very good and also very funny ) re: ceiling target and little rig on alexa for the camera to record target info ( mounted off side of alexa to fit and get clear shots with remote head properly etc during the crane use ). As you know, the green screen stuff is a big airport stage composite etc.
I said something like, " I hope that little target camera doesnt get accidentally bumped ".
Stu said, " If it does we will get transported to a whorehouse in Bankok ! "
hehe... funny stuff
before and after pics from samples seen in first link above...the one with the whole airport terminal thing is cool. As is the one of girls walking through glass doors. Yeserday a couple extras ( cause there's no glass on set piece ) did some funny things. One guy was leaning against outside of that set piece and was partly INSIDE the glass ( morph man ! ). Someone else was standing halfway inside a wall.