It’s always interesting to find out opinions from those who work behind the scenes and to learn more about what they do and how they are effected by the show. Gianna Sobol has interviewed Dave Scott, a Video Assist on True Blood, who was kind enough to respond to some questions for her and in his responses, we find out what he does, and what’s happening out on location…
Gianna: What is your title and what is your job on set?
Dave: My job is most commonly referred to as “Video Assist,” but “Video Engineer” and “Video Playback Operator” are also used. ”Assisting” the director throughout the filming process is what it’s all about. The crux of my job is to always have every take of every episode shot to date for immediate reference on set… This might mean simply making sure via playback that the performance was indeed what was desired, or sometimes it is for matching purposes to decide what a complimentary shot needs to be. Also, when visual effects sequences are being filmed, I provide the ability to line up multiple camera passes… for instance, when a character morphs into something less, human. In order for this to happen, I manage a few carts of modified computers, monitors, routers and other quirky gadgetry. At one cart sit the director, writer and producers to observe the exact live camera framing of the shots as they occur a few feet away. I meanwhile sit at my own cart and make sure I don’t miss anything! As the camera shoots film, that image is simultaneously split into a video ‘tap’ that I get my feed from. I also get an audio feed from the Sound Mixer and in fair trade, send the Sound Mixer an image from each camera.
Gianna: True Blood shoots a lot of nights… What’s that like?
Dave: To be completely honest, I don’t feel that we shoot any more nights than most normal features. When a scene in the script starts with EXT Night: well, you’re pretty much in for an all nighter… but frequently night scenes take place indoors, which means ON STAGE. I can hardly think of a film that doesn’t have night scenes, but then again, this is a vampire show, so perhaps we do have just a “few” more night scenes. It’s honestly not that bad though, because we have a truly outstanding crew and besides… True Blood always provides something different!
Gianna: Where are you shooting right now?
Dave: Right now we are at a practical location in Hancock Park, and surprisingly during the day!
Gianna: Anything you can share with us about the scene that’s up?
Dave: It makes me cringe a bit and of course has a lot of blood in it.
Gianna: Any particularly fond memories from the set?
Dave: We had a scene late last season in which someone gets beheaded. During that, we had a VFX element to shoot… this one being a thick splat of blood on the floor. Sounds simple enough, just fill a balloon with fake blood and throw it on the floor, right? Apparently they used a pretty thick balloon as it took about fifteen throws to get the poor thing to finally break. It became comical to the point that I put a video loop up on the screens of a spinning head.
Gianna: Team Eric or Team Bill?
Dave: Undecided… I need to learn each one’s true motivation.