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It’s in the Details

Flexibility is key

While most producers have some technical help with pulling all the parts together for the day of the shoot — Shlomo Rivkin works with his talented wife, Chaya, who is a whiz at logistics — coordinating times with all the professionals and extras involved is a huge task. The date has to be locked in everybody’s calendar, the lighting technicians have to be booked with their truck of equipment, plus cameramen and assistants if the producer will not be filming himself. Many producers visit the location with the singer before the day of the shoot, walking through to prepare themselves, rehearse, and familiarize themselves with any challenges that come with the terrain.

Technical jobs need to be clearly distributed in advance, so everyone is clear on their responsibilities. Props need to be sourced and hired, sometimes from party planners or specialty sources. For the second Chasdei Lev video, Moshe Finkelstein brought on Yaakov Giniger to create a set that resembled a dinner.

“We needed a dais, printed signs, and a fully set table.” Just one table? “It was one table on a stage, with like ten people watching, but I shot it as if it were a full room, with 200 people watching.”

Motty Berkowitz, who worked on Lipa’s “Gemara Bemangina” video in an intense 36-hour marathon for its Chol Hamoed Succos release, says that the authentic Arabic costumes came from a surprising source: a yeshivah rebbi.

“I called a costume gemach, who sent me on to one of my own rebbeim, who always dresses up Arabic on Purim. He gave me a black bag filled with costumes, and that was it. Now the violinists could match Lipa’s style.”

Flexibility is key, because if the producer is fixated on a certain detail, and that detail doesn’t materialize, his whole shoot can go down the drain.

“I once ordered props from a certain supplier, who arrived to the location two hours late for the shoot,” Shlomo relates. “When I asked him where the windows we had ordered were, he was confused. He didn’t realize that I actually needed a physical window — it was a misunderstanding, but we couldn’t move the shoot to another day. You have to work with what you have, and make sure that the product is still 100 percent amazing with it. Because whatever changes you’re making, the standard of the product can’t change.”


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, issue 907)

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