Texas DP Heads To Poland For eSports FeatureReading Time: 4 minutes
2016 was a huge year for me both professionally and personally. I wrapped DP’ing HGTV‘s Fixer Upper after three seasons, shot a number of pilots and sizzle reels, worked on WWE‘s Wrestlemania 32, and married the woman of my dreams. It was an awesome year, to say the least. On top of all that I was fortunate enough to travel overseas. It was a great trip and an amazing experience. I learned so much more about traveling with gear and working overseas.
Turner Sports sent me on this European adventure. We made the trip out to Poznan, Poland to do a feature on Counter Strike Global Offense (CSGO) veteran, Neo AKA Philip. Neo is one of the older eSports players on the circuit at the age of 30. Not many players stay competitive at this age. This makes Neo and his team very unique.
After a full day of traveling we finally made it to Poland. We landed in Warsaw and then drove to Poznan. It’s about three hours west of Warsaw. Technically it’s not a long drive but it sure felt like it after about 27 hours of airports, airplanes, and customs. We did manage to squeeze in a few Warsaw scenics before our drive to Poznan.
We spent the first day at Neo’s house with him and his fiancé. I lit for an interview with Neo using 3 Lite Panels. I was shooting on the Sony F55 with a Canon 85mm f1.2 prime lens. Their apartment was made up of most large windows that let a lot of light in. I tried to use this to my advantage. We had Neo look right at the camera while answering questions during the interview to make it feel a little bit more intimate.
Our next interview was with Neo’s fiancé. We wanted all the other interviews we did to feel like we were catching them in their element. With that in mind, we had her sit at the kitchen table and gave her a cup of tea to sip on as our producer conducted the interview.
We ended our day by shooting the two of them in the kitchen cooking and setting the table for dinner. While Neo’s fiancé finished preparing dinner we shot Neo showing us a photo album of pictures from his gaming past. After dinner I shot some close-ups of old photos from past eSport competitions and him gaming as a child.
Our second and last day of filming started just before the sunrise. We explored Poznan, shooting early morning city scenics. It was so exhilarating to be shooting B-roll in a foreign country. Every shot felt unique and beautiful. As a bonus, our audio guy, Michael shot amazing drone footage of the city. Luckily for us, there are no drone laws in Poland, at least not yet.
After shooting B-roll of Poznan we headed over to a nearby park where we met up with Neo. We shot his morning bike riding routine with the F55, a DJI Osmo, drone, and three GoPros. Once we had some cool shots in the can we drove over to Neo’s parents’ house.
We had a quick bite to eat at the house and then shot some B-roll of Neo interacting with his family. After we had enough B-roll I shot separate interviews with his parents. We ended the day with beauty shots of his trophy collection. I also shot some family photos.
After we wrapped the shoot we drove back to Warsaw to spend the night. We flew out the following morning. We were literally in Poland for like 60 hours. Our producer did the math. It was crazy fast.
This was an awesome trip for so many reasons. I feel like I walked away with a lot of valuable experience. For starters, I got to learn all about what a carnet is and how to use it. Going through customs was interesting and tested my patience at times. I had to make sure I had the right plug adapters and power converters to use my gear in Europe. The trip was also amazing because I got to work with the same producer and audio guy that I worked with on TNT’s NASCAR Summer Series. It was like a mini-reunion.
This quick trip to Poland definitely has me wanting to go back to Europe, or maybe a different continent altogether. I think I would enjoy it a lot more now that I know what to expect. Hopefully 2017 means even more travel for business AND pleasure.
Check out the piece here!