It’s A Wrap!
I recently wrapped out “La Voz Kids” for Telemundo. For those who don’t speak Spanish La Voz means The Voice. It’s the Latin version of “The Voice” which airs on NBC.
This was season 4 and production spanned intermittingly across 4 months from February through July. “La Voz Kids” is a similar format to “The Voice” except our show featured kids ranging from 7- 16 years old. They sing and compete each week trying to keep from getting eliminated from the next week’s competition. The kids are on teams with a celebrity coach leading each team. The coaches were Daddy Yankee, Natalia Jimenez, and Pedro Fernandez. I must admit that I was introduced to a lot of Latin music that I’ve never heard before and I am now a fan.
I was called at the beginning of the season and asked if I would be interested in the Director of Photography position for the reality side of the show. There are two sides of the show as far as production goes. There is the stage/performance side and there is the everything else reality side. This includes the rehearsals with the coaches at a recording studio, the backstage footage where contestants prepare to go onstage, special integrations with the sponsors of the show…basically everything that is not a performance on the stage is considered reality.
Although I have DP’d many shows and commercials this was a new experience for me. The size and scope of the show is outside most things I have done. The first week of shooting I had eight sets on three different sound stages. There were also at times 7-8 cameras working for me. I was also asked to direct the contestant arrivals outside of the soundstages. It was challenging and exciting to try something new like this.
Usually as a Director of Photography you work hand in hand with the production designer to make sure everything in front of the camera will photograph nicely and contribute to the quality and emotion of the scene. On this show things were decided well before I was brought on. There were many challenges, such as a HUGE glaring white La Voz sign that was in the background of many of my shots. Also the huge mirrored, faceted V that was in the background of some of our interviews presented new challenges for me. Another challenge was some of the sets were pre-lit before I was brought on. I would have lit them completely differently, as a result I had to move things around under a very tight schedule. My director the talented Mike Smith wanted the camera to be able to move all over the sets freely which meant I had to have the proper key and back lights everywhere. All of these challenges pushed me.
I believe that these uncomfortable, stressful situations are necessary in order to improve your craft. I was pushed and forced to grow as a DP, not just in my lighting but also in the way I handle people and circumstances. I feel that I met all challenges head on and overcame with confidence and clarity. The result was a beautiful looking show. At the wrap party the director of the stage/performance part of our show congratulated and complimented Mike Smith and I by saying the reality footage looked amazing and it was the best looking reality footage that has ever been on the show.
So I send out a thanks to my camera crew, my lighting crew, and my Director Mike Smith. There were some tough moments but we over came and made it happen. Thanks guys and girls! It was a pleasure working with you. Much Gusto!