One Day in Boston: The Short and Behind the Scenes

by Hugh BrownstoneLeave a Comment

Sure we love BTS, especially when it’s with cool gear like the Canon EOS C300, the MoVI, the GoPro, or the new Weye Feye.

But the real value of this particular story is about people.

People like Isabel Torres and Kevin Thomas, members of Project Right in Boston; and people like Rick Macomber and the crew of volunteers who pulled together to tell their stories via the annual One Day in Boston event — Todd Mahoney, Brian Arata, Dan Berube, Ron Risman, Pictures from the Sky team Louise Michaud and Mike Magee, and the folks at Above Summit Films (Jovan Tanasijevik, Frederico Creatini, and Emily Pickering).

Well done, all.

Check it out.

One Day in Boston – Project Right from Rick Macomber on Vimeo

The Making of One Day in Boston – Project Right

One Day in Boston is one of those passion projects I try to do every year. It can be fun and challenging to dig up a good story to shoot all in one day that’s both emotionally charged and interesting to watch. I’ve been participating in this project since it began in 2010 when it was called One Day on Earth 10-10-10. It’s still part of One Day on Earth, which was co-founded by Kyle Ruddick and Brandon Litman. However this year instead of filmmakers producing stories shot around the entire globe, they decided to concentrate on documenting organizations and individuals regarding how to access opportunity in major metropolitan cities in the United States. Filmmakers were asked to investigate 10 specific questions about the future of their cities on April 26, 2014. All of the stories and raw footage will be uploaded and placed in an interactive geo-tagged archive on the One Day on Earth’s websites dedicated to each of those major cities. Our story will appear on the One Day in Boston website. One Day on Earth producers will also be creating a TV series about the future of the American city.

One Day in Boston Image 1

We wear many hats in TV news. To survive we need to have skills as field producers, directors, shooters and editors. The last few times I participated in One Day on Earth I covered them as a “one man band.” This year however, the One Day in Boston project date was scheduled at the same time I was recovering from left rotator cuff surgery. Since I couldn’t physically shoot this year, if I wanted to produce this short film I needed to try to put together a team of Boston filmmakers to assist me – without ever lifting a camera to my shoulder. The call went out on facebook and twitter. I got quite a quick response. Todd Mahoney agreed to shoot with my Canon C300 cinema camera. Brian Arata, Daniel Berube and Ron Risman jumped on board to shoot some amazing time-lapse films for us. Mike Magee and Louise Michaud of Pictures From The Sky had just purchased a new Freefly MoVI M5 motion rig and agreed to shoot all our motion shots, some great BTS clips and stills to boot. Jovan Tanasijevik, Frederico Creatini and Emilie Pickering of Above Summit Films offered up a couple of gorgeous aerial shots of Boston.

Checking C300 camera settings with Todd Mahoney Photo by Pictures From The Sky

Checking C300 camera settings with Todd Mahoney
Photo by Pictures From The Sky

Mike Sutton setting up new Freefly MoVI M5 for Mike Magee and Louise Michaud

Mike Sutton setting up new Freefly MoVI M5 for Mike Magee and Louise Michaud

Our focus this year was on an organization from Grove Hall in the Dorchester section of Boston called Project Right. I don’t want to spoil too much of the story but I will tell you what attracted me to Project Right was the fact that the inner city stuff happening at their office struck a chord with me. They do good work there. In addition to the activities they offer to younger kids, they also work with local youth gangs with their gun buy back program. In addition they offer help transitioning former gang members back into the community and give support to family members. Isabel Torres of Project Right said it best: “We’re just where we need to be. Where the people are.”

Isabel Torres speaks candidly. Canon C300 screen grab

Isabel Torres speaks candidly. Canon C300 screen grab

Here’s why this particular story pulled on my heart strings. In the 90s I was covering the inner city gang problem, standing by at a local coffee shop with paramedics every night monitoring shootings on the Boston police scanner frequencies. What we covered back then was graphic. My partner and I would sometimes times arrive on scene with paramedics even before police got there. It was disturbing and frustrating for me and my fellow colleagues to be thrust into what had become a media circus and the lead story almost every night. We were not only covering the stories, we were also in a round about way perpetuating more violence by reporters and anchors using the names of the gangs involved when the stories we shot aired. Gangs saw it as getting their props on TV for murdering people – in some instances innocent children struck by stray bullets. This situation was beginning to make me re-evaluate why I got into this business. This wasn’t what I had signed up for when I had decided to become a television news photojournalist. So now you know why I was drawn so intensely to this particular subject matter. Perhaps it was a way to help resolve what I had witnessed and documented through my lens for a good ten year period of my professional life as a news shooter.

Gear Used in the Making of One Day in Boston

Some of the gear used on the shoot: the interviews and some interior B-roll were shot with a minimally rigged Canon EOS C300 cinema camera using the awesome Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 lens. A Canon 5D MKIII with a 24mm f1.4 was used on the Freefly MoVI M5. The MoVI worked like a champ. Super smooth motion. Speed was important working outside with all the intermittent rain. Having that rig all set up and ready to go was a dream. Thanks goes out to Mike Sutton for going over the MoVI days before the shoot. A GoPro Hero 3 Black was mounted on the hood of the car for some driving shots. Above Summit Films used one hex and one quadcopter, also equipped with GoPro Hero 3 Black cameras and stabilizing gimbals.

New Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 EF mount

New Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 EF mount

Switronix Torch LED BOLT

Switronix Torch LED BOLT

The only additional light used for the interviews besides the gorgeous window light was one Switronix Torch LED BOLT for a little bit of fill. The time-lapse shots were accomplished using Canon 5D MKIII cameras as well as a Canon 7D with 70-200mm L f2.8 and 16-35mm f2.6 lenses, eMotimo TB3 Black and Dynamic Perception Stage One Dolly along with this new must have piece of kit: Xsories Weye Feye Wi-Fi device that can monitor your camera images from an iPhone or iPad.

Read more about this BTS at Macomber Productions' article “The Making of One Day in Boston – Project Right”

Xsories Weye Feye Wi-Fi device

Xsories Weye Feye Wi-Fi device

(cover photo credit: snap from Macomber Productions)


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