Stephen Duros: B-roll shooter
descending, 30 frames/sec
March 14th, Manchester, England. I'm coming into land, what do I know about this place? Can see the canal, almost as long as the Panama, Lonely Planet says it was built in the 1890s for moving in cotton from India and moving out coal and other stuff. Big time soccer team, Man U., not so big these days. Oasis, they're from here, I think. Bee Gees. The guy who sings for The Stone Roses. This place must rock. I'm only here for the night, though -- Toto, live and dangerous at the Apollo.
Usually Stephen Duros runs the lights for Toto but for this gig he's a B-roll shooter, running a Sony digicam backstage, on-stage and all around, grabbing verite footage for their in-progress DVD.
"Martin Cole is their Manager and he runs the tour," says Stephen. "A great guy, the one who hired me years ago in L.A. to do lighting for them when I was 23. But on this tour Andy Doig is doing the lighting as he usually does Europe with them. He's a big name in the lighting world. That's cool. I'm excited about my new role, shooting this vid."
The boys have already played Dubai (United Arab Emirates), jetted into Bristol (Colston Hall), ponied up to Newcastle (City Hall) on the U.K. leg. "Yeah, I missed the chance to talk to Sting," says Stephen. "Understand he's from Newcastle... who knows? Maybe he was there... seriously, though, the Manchester concert was hot and you can check out some pix here. You can see me lining up on Simon (Simon Phillips, the Toto drummer) in this Eddy Meuwese shot...hey, how cool is this? The videographer as conductor!"
a flamenco in disguise
March 20. I'm in Amsterdam, Sin City, but we leave for the airport in an hour to fly to Munich. Concert will be at the Olympiahalle. Everything is going well. Been taking lots of great footage and doing some editing. Have my own room where the portable video is set up so I can log and capture video, edit, etc. It's great -- Final Cut Pro great.
When he's not running lights or shooting digi, Stephen is a flamenco guitarist with a couple of CDs and a regular gig in the Ottmar Liebert band Luna Negra. "A fan of mine named Boris came to visit and meet me in Munich and the venue where I was working. Much appreciated. Didn't seem surprised that a flamenco would show up disguised as a cameraman!"
europe is a nice bus
Traveling with the band... what can I say? That's great too, lots of good meals, stories and 5 star hotels. I'm getting a hell of a workout running around with the camera on stage. This is something I've always wanted to do, I'm really happy to get this opportunity. I did some editing of one of the band interviews and it looks like they may want me to edit more of them and edit the B-roll footage for the Dvd when I get back.
So what does a B-roll shooter do when he's riding a luxury bus into the pre-Spring Alps? Film homework for one... sort of. "Simon and I sat down together and watched the behind the scenes footage to the new 007 Casino Royal movie," says Stephen. "Another time on the 10 hour drive from Innsbruck, Austria to Metz, France, Luke, Greg, Simon, Tony and I sat upstairs in the back lounge and watched the old classic "Total Recall" and had lots of laughs. Think about it: we're in Austria, a California band, watching Arnie who's from Austria and is now Governor of... yeah, lots of laughs."
"But I was working too, you know... got some nice sequences of the guys hanging out, some really funny stuff. Will it make the final cut? Guess we'll see, ha ha."
Thursday. Innsbruck Olympiahalle Austria... those highways into the Alps, could be cruising from Seattle through the Cascades, looks the same. Tour bus is great, two decks, just like a 747. I'm popping pictures, will post them at my Flickr site. It's going so fast... Rosanna, Rosanna... hotels, gigs, arenas... yep, I'm reaching the flicker fusion threshold... 30 frames per second progressive, baby... Rosanna, Rosanna... think I'm going down Africa way, not seque-ing into 24 Saturday Metz Galaxie France... 26 Monday Paris Zenith France ...Rosanna, Rosanna.
"I shot with the audio on and for the interviews... Simon would use mics all around for 5.1 surround.
"For the B-roll stuff I'll use the audio captured from the camera its self. I took shots of them playing live and if I want to use any of that footage in the B-roll, I can get an audio mix of the band as they had a Pro Tools rig out by the sound engineer, recording every show."
"In two road cases I used an Apple G5 using Final Cut Pro HD with a Cinima display and extra hard drives. Two cameras. A Sony HD Z1 cam and a Sony HD Handy Cam and a few tripods."
"In Innsbruck, we received a glasses cam, it was rather funny. But you would wear these glasses and they had a tiny camera mounted in the middle. It was so small you could hardly see it. Simon tried that while playing the kit and it worked out for some interesting shots but not too much was usable. Every one was laughing because the glasses looked so nerdy."
March 26. Paris, France. We play the Zenith on the east side of Paris, a space station in the middle of La Villette park. Le Zénith is a famous music hall where all the heavies set down. 6,000 seats, hosts all kinds... Burning Spear, PJ Harvey, Oasis, everybody. Tonight it's Toto. Get ready for the sweet guitar of Steve Lukather, kids.
The Zenith shoot is directed by Blue Leach, a veteran of rock performance video (Depechmode, Rem etc) "This is an 11 or 12 camera shoot. Me, I'm roaming with the Sony Z1 getting some shots that Blue asked me to get. They had a tour bus out back filled with video screens and a sound room, a total control setup, state-of-the-art."
It's a sold-out show and the Paris fans are rockin'. "During one of the songs -- believe it was Rosanna -- the crowd was hitting all these balloons everywhere. I had no idea where they came from. It's like they just materialized from nowhere. It wasn't planned, it just happened. You'll see them in the DVD, guaranteed."
"Le Zee is a great location. You can see it in Ronin, the movie with de Niro, the scene where the Russian ice skater gets shot by some woman with a rifle. Check it out.
"It's been close to nine years that I've been with them. Nine years, yeah.
"They aren't friends, they're family. I was with them so much that I felt like the 5th Beatle! I even had a bit of time to draw a few cartoons of them. Great bunch of guys to hang with and the crew was fantastic. About 25 over all, 3 tour buses including catering. The tour bus and hotels were, yes, fantastic."
"What would I rather be? A videographer & LD with Toto, or a guitarist in Luna Negra? Hey, either way, best seat in the house."
best seat in the house
"For that show I was the only camera man able to run around and get shots with out being cabled into anything. My job was to get shots the other cameras couldn't get.
"I crawled over and came up along side of the drum kit as Simon was doing his solo. I was so close and had a great shot. Very intense to be that close as he is hammering away, at the same time, so impressive, talk about the best seat in the house."