Images of Arizona



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Robinson: It's really nice. From what we've seen of him, it's certainly true. Going back to the sweat for a second.

Tobias: You like that sweat.

Robinson: I like the sweat! I know! Are you kidding?! I've been wanting to do this forever.

Tobias: Oh, when you see the crew shots, you might not. You might change your mind.

Robinson: Is it your understanding that the only thing that would have been done differently, had you been Navajo, there would have been some prayers spoken?

Tobias: Oh, LeRoy did say a prayer for us inside the sweat. He sang. He sang a prayer. We didn't sing. No, there wouldn't have been anything different. It might have been a little hotter, and we might have stayed in there a little longer, which I would have loved. But no, I don't think anything was done differently.

Logistics and Equipment

Robinson: Great. I'd open this up to you, too, Travis [Johnson] — Anything from a logistical perspective that you think people would be interested to know about in making this kind of TV segment? We talked a little bit about challenges, but you who've been living with a camera on your shoulder for two-and-a-half days. Anything you'd like to say?

Johnson: The hunchback of Canyon de Chelly. Hmm.... Dealing with the extreme temperatures in the sweat lodge was probably the hardest problem I could say. I'd probably echo, I'm sure, some of the same stuff you guys covered. I certainly can't put it as articulately as Michael does. The people and their humor and their joy of life is nice to see, compared to the old westerns that make [one] think of Indians and their seriousness and straight-faced, never cracking a smile — almost any expression, for that matter — compared to what you see in real life. That's refreshing.

Robinson: Tell us a little bit about the equipment that you brought on this trip.

Johnson: Shooting everything on broadcast beta obviously. As far as lenses, we're trying to — and with LeRoy helping us too — we're trying to stay back as far as we can, be as unobtrusive as possible, and being able to do that with a large lens, the 20 x 8, which equates to about a 320mm lens in still photography terms. It's very fast, we can shoot under real low light situations if we need to. By the same token, we also have a wide-angle lens, because the guy that we're focusing on isn't able to give us the opportunity to get up close and personal so we can move smoothly with the wide angle lens, and move right in there. And as far as filtration and stuff, nothing beyond normal, just kind of enhancing washed-out skies or anything like that, with filters. But sound-wise, we've got a couple of wireless microphones we've put on our subject so he can wander several hundred feet away from us, or more. And again, so we get the good sound without being obtrusive, if we need to. Production-wise, we brought along a portable — called a Jimmy-jib or a portable jib. Jimmy-jib is a trademarked name. It gives us a more smooth panoramic capabilities, as opposed to shooting it off the shoulder. We brought that along for two reasons. It's small and compact so we can get into remote areas and stuff fairly quickly, and it gives us more of a production quality, as opposed to just hard-core documentary. So, it's kind of a blend in styles.

Robinson: What about the script boy? Tell us about that.

Johnson: The script boy is just a cheat sheet, if you will, helping us work a little more efficiently. What it does is, it's a wireless clipboard that transmits what's called time code off the camera. Basically, when we're logging our shots and our sound, the producer or director is able to take notes as we're recording in the field. And the beauty of it is, he doesn't need to be attached to me. He can be, again, a hundred yards away, yet the signal is being transmitted from the camera, spitting out the time, the clock, as the tape rolls. That way, if he sees a great shot or hears a good piece of sound, he simply writes it down on his script.

Tobias: I'll tell you, frankly, a big challenge with this small a group, three people, when we're doing a film this serious, is releases, carrying gear, logging, dealing with logistics — that's very challenging. Not impossible, we're doing it — but that's very challenging. We were lucky enough, LeRoy's sister — Charlotte Tsosie — volunteered the second day of the Fair to help with the release forms, standard PBS-style release forms. She would go to everyone that we would shoot close-on, to get permission from that child's parents, or from those parents themselves, to use their image and voice, if it so happened, in the film.

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jack dykinga / leroy dejolie / david muench


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