Shooting for “The Blaze” in Wyoming

By Doug Gritzmacher

Denver Director of Photography & Cinematographer

wyoming cameraman

This week I went up to Cheyenne, Wyoming, from my home base of Denver, Colorado, for a shoot for “For the Record”, a newsmagazine broadcast program on The Blaze network. I first got connected with the producers at “For the Record” when I lived in Washington, DC, and became their go-to cinematographer for any VIPs, pundits, or politicians, they wanted to get for their program. So I was happy to get the call from them to help out with their needs in the Rocky Mountain west, especially as the shoot was to be on a ranch, a welcome change of scenery from the District.

 

This shoot was of a profile of a lawyer, formerly of the Department of the Interior. She lives on a ranch with her husband a little ways north of Cheyenne. In addition to her professional career, she and her husband use their land to raise cattle for beef, which has given her a firm position from which to represent the interest of ranchers in fighting the government over land use and rights issues. Interested in checking out this program and others? Head over to The Blaze website for broadcast times and more.

ADAMS COUNTY, COLORADO, ON THE RISE

By Doug Gritzmacher

Denver Director of Photography & Cinematographer

boyer's coffee
Last week I served as director of photography for a video for Adams County, Colorado. It was a day that started at Boyer’s Coffee, located in Commerce City. We met and photographed several businesses in the county to show the wealth of activity and opportunity. Along the way we learned several interesting tidbits about the county, such as the fact that all major interstates pass through it. The nexus of these interstates, along with being home of Denver International Airport, the world’s sixteenth most trafficked, and its proximity to downtown Denver (20 minutes) has positioned the county for explosive growth: It is expected the population of 500,000 will double by 2030!

RAIL DISASTER IN PUEBLO, COLORADO!

By Doug Gritzmacher

Denver Director of Photography & Cinematographer

SERTC training Pueblo Colorado

Well, sorta. What you are seeing here is indeed a derailment, but it’s been staged. The facility, “SERTC” is located east of Pueblo, Colorado. They wanted a video to promote their training facility, so they contracted with a UK production company, who then hired me as director of photography and my Canon C300 to shoot it. Emergency responders come to this facility to train for rail disasters. It’s the only one like it in the world. “You get a rush of adrenaline when you are working with real cars, real spills, and real fires.”

 

I’ll say! I had a rush just shooting it. After the exercise pictured above, they lit three cars on fire and set the responders to put out the flames. I had never felt heat that hot.

REMI AWARD IS IN!

By Doug Gritzmacher

Denver Director of Photography & Cinematographer

remi award doug gritzmacher

Opened the mailbox today to find, yet again, no Publisher’s Clearing House check. Sigh. But I did find this. It ain’t a million smackers, but then again you can’t put a price on recognition of one’s work. This is a film directed by Courtenay SInger. Haven’t seen it yet? You should! It’s excellent. And the good folks in Houston seem to agree!

“Years of Living Dangerously” now on Showtime

By Doug Gritzmacher

Denver Director of Photography & Cinematographer

years

I was up in New York City a couple weeks ago and noticed ads for this series plastered all over the subway system. I had the pleasure of serving as a cinematographer on it last year for a variety of episodes in the series. It’s directed by Joel Bach, a veteran of “60 Minutes.” He liked the look of ’70s lighting style—dark, high contrast, moody—which I was only too happy to accommodate. The series airs on Sundays at 10pm on Showtime. Check it out!

Photography work appearing in “The Americans”

By Doug Gritzmacher

Denver Director of Photography & Cinematographer

the_americans
Tonight’s episode, the sixth installment in the show’s second season, features a scene in which I contributed a background image. The FX show (Wednesdays at 10pm) is based in Washington, DC, but shot mostly around Brooklyn. This episode contains a scene in which three of the show’s main characters meet at the middle of a bridge. They show’s creators needed a Washington, DC, background to replace the Brooklyn background in the shot so Phosphene, the NY-based post-production house that does the show’s visual effects (and which employs my friend Lea Prainsack as a post-producer), commissioned me to provide an image of part of the Washington, DC, skyline that includes Georgetown and the Roosevelt and Key bridges. It’s a pretty amazing process as the visual effects artists have to matte out the Brooklyn background frame by painstaking frame.

 

I shot a background image for an episode in “The Americans” first season as well, but it was before the show had debuted so I had forgotten the name of the program by the time it premiered in February. I became a fan of the show and when I saw episode four I was pleasantly surprised to find my background shot! Pretty cool.

 

This week I am working on a background image for season two’s finale.

Uncommon Knowledge

By Doug Gritzmacher

Denver Director of Photography & Cinematographer

 

For the past three years, during the annual governor’s meeting in Washington, DC, The Hoover Institution and WallStreetJournal.com have contracted with me to produce their remote shoots  in Washington, DC, of the conservative political talk show “Uncommon Knowledge”. This year the guest was Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah. I enjoy these shoots because it gives me an opportunity to hire and work with some of DC’s finest production professionals, including gaffer Doug Wallick, key grip Steve Seitz, sound recordist Aaron Webster, camera assistant Jonny Meyer, and camera operator Autumn Moran. With such a wealth of talent aboard the shoot, I have to say I was not much surprised when the show’s producer, impressed with our work, wrote me to say it is “the best remote show we’ve done yet”.

Interview on Blogcritics.com

By Doug Gritzmacher

Denver Director of Photography & Cinematographer

Blogcritics.com, an online magazine covering the arts, culture and society, interviewed me about my feature film, “Soldiers of Paint.” It was a nice opportunity to be able to discuss some of the decision-making that went into the making of the film. A snippet is posted below. You may read the full article here.

 

 “Q: This world’s largest paintball event also became the closest scored contest in the history of the event. How did you create the helpful color schemes, map animations, specialized paintball gun explanations, slow motion and text captions for audiences so this historic score would have a lasting impact on the film?”

 

“A: Filmmaking is mostly about problem solving. And we had a lot of problems with ‘Soldiers of Paint’. How are points scored? What are the rules? We had to be cognizant that most of our viewers would not be familiar with paintball. We needed to find a way to have them understand what was taking place so they could become invested in the outcome, but not bog them down with too much minutiae.

 

Filmmaking is a visual medium so we solved these issues visually with the help of some really cool map graphics (designed by Matt Nagy), title cards that froze action to relate a game rule when appropriate, and subtitles so viewers would not miss what was said. In most films the viewers is able to see mouths move when people speak, which helps for understanding words that can sometimes be hard to hear. Our characters wore masks through most of the film, so subtitles simply became a necessity.

 

The color scheme device (in which all Allied footage is toned blue and all German footage is toned red) was borne out of a need to distinguish the two sides visually. In dramatic war films, as in life, two opposing sides wear different uniforms. The players at Oklahoma D-Day do not, so there is no way to tell on side from the other. So the red and blue toning helps with that but also ended up looking really cool! We’ve gotten a lot of great responses to it.”

NOW ON NETFLIX, BABY!

By Doug Gritzmacher

Denver Director of Photography & Cinematographer

doug gritzmacher netflix

My documentary film, “Soldiers of Paint“, went live on Netflix today. If you’re a fan of off-beat docs like “Murderball” and “King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters”, chances are you’ll really enjoy this film. Check it out!

Garibaldi & The World Cup

By Doug Gritzmacher

Denver Director of Photography & Cinematographer

http://youtu.be/B_FnKYyuGXk

 

Last week I got a call to do a shoot of an artist performance at the Brazilian Embassy. The day before the event I got the call sheet and noticed the event was sponsored by Budweiser. Brazilian Embassy and Budweiser? An odd pairing to be sure. As is often the case with shoots I am on I know very little of what it actually is before getting on site. So I was curious to find out what was in store.

 

Turns out the artist was David Garibaldi, a popular performance painter. And Budweiser? Well they are sponsors of the 2014 World Cup, the drawing of which to determine the groupings was happening that morning. So the Brazilian Embassy was hosting an event to coincide with the drawing in Brazil and Budweiser brought in Garibaldi as the main attraction.

 

If you have never seen Garibaldi work, it is a sight to see. Above is the finished video from my shoot. For more check out his videos on Youtube. I’m particularly fond of the Michael Jackson performance.

 

For my shoot, we used my Canon C300 as the A cam and my Canon 5D and Sony EX1 as the two time-lapse cameras. One was on a slider driven electronically by an Oracle motor. This lets you get those cool shots that have popped up all over the place recently where the camera moves throughout the time-lapse. Initially we had it set to move over the course of 40 minutes to capture the length of the time it take to complete the painting but as you can see the movement barely registers ( I was told the editor would be speeding it up, which they seem to have elected not to do). The last time-lapse shot was done over an eight minute period and here the effect definitely reads.