No Reservations in Rome
By Jared Andrukanis, Segment Producer
I know this is a blog about our Rome shoot, not a lesson on film methodology…but trust me – this is important stuff to know.
In filmmaking parlance, there are two particular kinds of shooting, that can be used to quantify the day’s work – “On Set” and “On Location”. The names themselves are relatively self-explanatory, whereas one refers to shooting in a controlled, man-made environment and the other, a less controlled, natural setting.
Most films with a considerable budget film the majority of difficult scenes on set due to the unpredictability of natural locations. On set certain things are a given: there will be large generators consistently powering the shoot, moveable walls to accommodate large camera setups and dolly rigs, suspended rail systems to hang or “fly” lights, sealed entrances to keep out sounds or “lockdown”…these are just a few examples, but essentially all variables which can make filming more difficult are considered and factored into the mechanics of studios. This allows the filmmakers to focus on getting what they need without extemporaneous worry about mechanical items.
Sounds nice, right?
Perhaps, but No Reservations lives on location, and we adapt everything we do to that fact. If you are a fan of the show, you have no doubt seen evidence of how we make the best of each location with the most minimal gear – whether it be by an intricate lighting setup with trick line and household bulbs, Todd and Zach riding backwards on scooters to get tracking shots of moving vehicles, making dolly tracks out of skateboards…the list goes on and on.
I have often thought about what one of our episodes would look like if we set out to shoot a show where our DP’s had access to even a fraction of the materials (and time) to light each scene as if we were on set. Naturally, we could never film Rome on a soundstage, but to be able to have the opportunity to treat each scene as if it was a mini-movie would be quite an achievement for a show that has become notorious for picking up scenes on the fly.
Well, it turns out that we got this opportunity while in Italy, and Zach and Todd dove in headfirst to take advantage of it. We worked long(er) days, spent hours on ladders (sometimes needing a ladder to get to another ladder with all those high ceilings in the Ancient City and such), pushed more than a few electrical boxes and outlets to their limits, and tried our hand at some “studio” lighting for this one…
…and I am super-excited to see what we came home with.