Last fall I was commissioned to create a video for CJEB, the Center on Japanese Economy and Business at Columbia Business School. The center was about to celebrate its 30th year and it had already begun passing the torch from its founder, Hugh Patrick, to economist David Weinstein. The center, which promotes the knowledge and understanding of Japanese business and economics in an international context, is unique for its longevity and for its affiliation with an academic institution.
Originally conceived as 4-5 interviews and a day or two of b-roll the project quickly grew to 10 interviews with the school providing b-roll as stills, video, and stock footage of the campus. This enabled more of the principal players to be part of the project and it was a recognition of the time frame. It was already December when we started, way past prime to film the campus, and the center’s schedule of public events was on hiatus during the holidays.
In order to get some variety within the video we settled on using two backdrops, a Thunder Grey and a Gulf Blue. The former would be for two-camera interviews with VIPs affiliated with the program and the latter would be for one-camera setups with CJEB staff. The Gulf Blue is also close in feel to Columbia University’s blue.
Space is at a premium at Columbia Business School and that proved to be the biggest challenge of the project. We worked in setups crazy tight, okay, and fine. The first two necessitating the backdrops. The best space was Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz’s conference room (the perks of winning a Nobel Prize!) and we took advantage of that – filming him with his books in the background.
One of the reasons I got this project was the “look” of my prior work, particularly the lighting in my interviews. Given the constraints of the spaces I had to keep things simple but there was still enough space to keep the key light directed, have a backlight, and provide some finesse to the background to direct the eye to the interviewee.
Everything was filmed on my C300s. Lighting was via my Litepanel Astras and Sola 4. Footage was shot in C-log. I conducted the interviews with Chris Flanegan on audio and grip. I also shot the b-roll of the CJEB staff at work and the meeting with Toshikazu Nambu.