Spending time in the great shadow of LBJ.

It was a nice day in Johnson City, Texas. The temperature for most of the day was in the 50's. The sun was shining and I was surrounded by people and things of great interest. I'd been commissioned to go along with a group from the theater to document a research trip into the life and legend of Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Actor, Steve Vinovich, artistic director, David Steakley, P.R. genius, Lauren Lovell and I met with a National Park Service Ranger named, Russ and we explored LBJ's boyhood home in town and just about every square inch of the ranch and the "Texas White House" with an expert. To make it all the more spectacular we did most of our tour in a convertible Lincoln Continental, circa 1965. This is the exact model of car that Johnson insisted on driving for most of his life in politics.

I went back and forth between two cameras but I leaned on the D810 the most. I shot a mix of video and stills that we'll use to create marketing pieces for the show, All The Way. 

I came home with about 20 gigabytes of images and video and I think I could have shot more.

No lighting today and mostly a microphone on camera. But it's important to understand that this was a fast moving day with no budget for assistants and crew, and no room to drag them along with us. We'll use the footage mostly with a voice over track but there are a good number of audio gems in the data and I hope we can use those as well.

We're shooting more tomorrow but it will be people who live in Austin and were close to LBJ during his life. I've shot more video in the last two days than I have in the last two months and it feels great to be engaged in it. The more I shoot the more I learn about the current process. Also, the more I add to my future shopping list. Hello audio gear....

Tomorrow is a big day. I've got swim practice (of course) followed immediately by the video interviews of people who lived history. When we wrap that I'll be back to the studio to dump the video gear and grab electronic flashes and a white background and then I'm back to the theater to shoot the advertising promotion shots against white. I would normally put Monday aside for a binging of editing and post production but I'm booked on another video project in another location. Looks like Tues. and Weds. will be a couple of those days when I find myself chained to the computer trying to get everything sorted and off to the client and the editors for the projects.

I know I said I wanted to do more video but I'm starting to get the idea that I should be more circumspect about the things for which I wish....but right now it's fun!

Gotta get one of those Lincolns. What a cool car!!!


Fred said...

Two years ago this month, when we were in Austin (and you were looking at colleges up here) we went to Johnson City and the ranch and the library in Austin. It gave added perspective to what I remembered from the sixties.
He did love that car and loved driving it fast.
I also am getting more fascinated by video all the time.

Kirk Tuck said...

Hi Fred. It's interesting to do it the way I'm doing video right now. It's just a total immersion into shooting. I'm as guilty as anyone of sitting in front of the computer and researching stuff to death but the reality is that video is three different things: 1. a small collection of technical stuff you need to know. 2. A good story line and an idea of how to piece it together. And equally important, 3. the hand skills to hold a camera steady. The practice at hitting sharp focus without assistance from the camera and all the smooth operational things that just come from practicing over and over again with a real camera in one's hands. There is a physical training part that's really important.

Ben sure does love your area of the country. He's having a blast at school and even made the dean's list in his first semester. I'm restless with anticipation to see him over spring break.

Best advice from me about video? Go out and start shooting even if you throw all the early work away. It's really a physical/mental blend.

Edward Richards said...

Sounds like it is time to hire one of those hungry UT cinema students to do video editing for you.

Kirk Tuck said...

Hi Edward, both projects already have dedicated editors provided by the client. Good thought but not necessary on these.

Michael Matthews said...

Not that I'll ever buy either camera, but does the D810 offer some significant advantage over the GH4 when shooting certain kinds of video?

Anonymous said...

I love this dashboard photo.

Anonymous said...

Going to put those bulls horns on the front of the Lincoln? You are in Texas after all.


Mike Mundy said...

"1. a small collection of technical stuff you need to know."

On Craftsy, maybe . . .(nothing there yet.)

Bassman said...

Not trying to be snarky, but LBJ's political life was over by 1968, when he decided to not run for re-election (sadly, I'm old enough to remember). So while he may have driven big American convertibles for most his career, but not a '65.


Kirk Tuck said...

Bassman, Roy Butler, former mayor of Austin and the Central Texas Lincoln dealer supplied LBJ with a number of Lincolns. At least one per year from the early 1960's (before 1965) up until the year of his death. I rode with a park ranger in the same model 1965 Convertible continental model that is in the museum on the ranch. He did, in fact, drive himself around the ranch in the car followed by a chase car of secret service officers. He did destroy a fair number of these cars by driving them off road on the ranch. They were quickly replaced by identical cars by the aforementioned Roy Butler. I didn't spend the day with the leading expert without listening well. And riding in an exact model.