This past month we headed down to Salem Mass to shoot an episode of The Chefs Plate, the weekly tv food show I shoot and produce that airs on WBIN Saturdays at 3:30. We had four stops for the day, which usually surprises people that the host, Helen, and I are able to shoot so much in one day. Its really a testament to both our work ethic and our organization skills, most tv shows will shoot one segment in a day, but because its just us and we focus on the restaurants and not sponsors, we need to shoot the entire show over the course of a single day.
We stopped at some amazing Massachusetts restaurants, and I’m still amazed at the food that gets laid out for us for the show. Our first stop, Toscana’s Ristorante & Cafe in Peabody was just a classic old school Italian restaurant, run all by family. This was such a great restaurant to shoot at, big north facing windows, white table cloths, and amazing food.
Our next stop, Adriatic Restaurant in Salem is a restaurant we have shoot at once before last spring, so its great to return again and see old friends. Our last time we were there I had both audio and video issues. We were trying out new mics and they were acting funky on me, and the camera on Helen died so the entire segment we only had her audio to use. Its a challenge to produce this show as one person, running not only the 2 cameras, but audio as well, so I’ve learned to deal with the challenges with ease. The food here is always amazing, rustic, and real. We spent some time in the back watching them make the homemade pasta, which is all made by hand, and they do it the same way I do it at home. That my friends, is real food.
Our last stop of the day was just up the street at O’Neills Pub & Restaurant, a REAL Irish pub and restaurant. The biggest challenge at this location was the light. Its a real Irish pub, so the lights are all very very low, and even at f1.4, iso 3200 1/30th of second, its barely possible to get a good exposure, so shooting the food under these lighting conditions was not an option. For this one I rolled out some basic daylight balanced lights, shot through a white umbrella attempting to mimic window light. One of my biggest challenges doing video production as a one man company is the balance between expenses and using good gear. I don’t have the budget to buy big expensive led lights, nor do I want to have to lug these around from location to location. So I pick up small “spider light” type setups, that use 4 daylight balanced bulbs and usually shoot them through a white umbrella for diffusion. Each location we normally have less than 2 hours to shoot the entire segment and be on our way, so I need to work fast and efficiently, and normally I am going to these restaurants during business hours, so I have to make use of available space.
For O’Neills Pub & Restaurant they even brought in an Irish band that plays there from time to time, just to get some additional footage, and they really rocked the place, just outstanding.
All in all it was a great day of video production, and I love Salem, Mass, but its always a little strange to go there in the winter as I’m used to going in the fall for Halloween.