Here’s a glimpse behind the scenes of the Fences “Arrows” shoot. We were in a top secret location in South Seattle for most of the shoot. The old warehouse, dirty and grimy from years of use for metal fabrication, was our home for about three weeks. Production Designer Adi Goodrich and Art Director John Lavin with their crew of carpenters, scenic painters, props people, buyers and assistants rolled in first, building sets and collecting props for the numerous scenes we’d shoot in the space. Starting the 17th of June, we had the Grip and Electric departments come in to pre-rig and prep the space for shooting. All the windows had to be blacked out, power had to be distributed between the floor and ceiling plus an extensive grid had to be put in by the grips, lead by Key Grip Collen Newberry. With that grid in place, Chief Lighting Technician and Gaffer Vince Klimeck hung space lights for the huge number of green screen shots we had to capture. While the crew rigged the old warehouse, the camera department dug into the two Red Dragon cameras, preparing them for the arduous shoot. Jason Knoll was the key Assistant Camera along with help from Chris Duerkopp as the B camera 1st. Ryan Haug was our Movi Op and Doug Hostetter was the A camera operator.
After five days of shooting in the warehouse plus two days of “de-rigging” we moved to a municipal pool in North Seattle for the underwater work. We had over 3500 square feet of special black material to cover nearly the entire pool to make it feel right. Our two underwater riggers – Jon LaFollette and Laura James worked directly with the top side riggers getting all of that fabric in place. From there, it was all about shooting underwater with Jeff Whitehurst operating the Dragon. Laura also doubled as our in water safety person ensuring Macklemore was well cared for while in the drink.
One cool aspect of the job was having editor Johnnie Valencia on set culling shots and cutting sequences as we worked. This was a huge help in post to get a rough cut together quickly. This was also key in that the deadline was looming. Arrows dropped on August 11th. Ian Hubert was also on set all the time. He was the genius behind all of the visual effects. Closely watching all of the shooting, he made sure elements for the video were captured in a way that could be easily modified in VFX.
At times, we had over 50 people on the crew plus chickens and dogs and lots and lots of extras. Everyday had unique quirks and hurdles to navigate to create the look and feel that the directors had in mind. It was fun – we laughed, we cried, we got it done. It was an amazing shoot with huge challenges to overcome, but our bang up production team of Line Producer Craig Stevens and Production Manager Elizabeth Deutsch kept things together. We owe a world of thanks to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Fences, Zach Quillen and especially the directing team of John Keatley and Jason Koenig for bringing us on board to help realized their vision.