Guest blog by Director of Photography ... PAUL HOWARD
Shoot Day 3 - A 5am start. Central Park is beautiful at this time and today the weather is shaping up to be gorgeous. Our first location is the Delacorte Theatre, a huge outdoor theatre built in 1962 with a seating capacity of 1800. Originally the scene was written as an interior, so we quickly figure out how to make it work as an exterior scene to take advantage of the stunning park backgrounds. As we walk to our location, a massive bicycle race begins, allowing us excellent cut-aways of park life.
The scene went really well with actress Ashley Griffen once again stealing the show.
The next stop - Belvedere Castle. Shooting on the steps to the lookout and forecourt gives our actors space to sing out the song and the freedom for the dance steps. We replay the music track from a Zoom recorder which isn't loud, but allows us to work away largely unnoticed. Apart from nearly colliding with a small child during a Steadicam move on the forecourt of the castle, the crew has a ball but realize the New York sun can burn pretty fast. All good so far but our biggest challenge of the day still lays ahead.
Paul Howard holding the camera
On the way down The Mall, to the Bethesda fountain, I spot a small dance troupe rehearsing and ask if they would like to be in our movie... they agreed and quickly joined our Choreographer and actors to learn the dance number. With time against us as we block the routine on the fountain steps, we work as fast as we can, there are people everywhere as it's Saturday, a busy day in Central Park. Just as we are ready to roll our cameras, a park ranger appears at the top of the steps. Our cameras and dance rehearsals had attracted a crowd and spectators were enjoying the show. We quickly hide the cameras in an attempt to cloak our shoot. The minutes are ticking by and our time is running out because the dancers have to go...
Finally the ranger wandered off and it's ROLL CAMERAS, PLAYBACK!
The scene turns out amazing and coupled with another great little dance routine in The Dairy, once again gave us gold for Big Apple Dreaming.
A great day is had by all, but on wrap are told the biggest surprise of the shoot yet and the next day is shaping up to be a very special day indeed...