It was a busy day for the entire ACMT staff and the Big Shot contingency. We had two Big Shot meetings today, and there’s another one this evening. There are so many logistics and details to go over before Thursday night’s Big Shot. Here’s some of what has happened so far:
I met Michael, Bill, Dawn and Willie at Pile Gate, the main entrance to Dubrovnik’s Old Town and the site of RIT’s 23rd Big Shot. The Old Town is surrounded by a high fortress wall stretching more than two kilometers. In some places, the wall is 25 meters high and up to six meters thick. To see photos from our site visit, visit www.rit.edu/news and click “Photo Gallery.” Bill DuBois shot all of the images. Thanks Bill!
The planning of this particular Big Shot has been in the works for more than a year. Now I understand why! I walked along the top of the fortress wall to listen in on how they’re going to cover this enormous space with only camera flash units and flashlights—the only light sources for the image. The City of Dubrovnik will turn off all lights on the wall near Pile Gate as well as streetlights in the area. After several walkthroughs and dissecting the area into various sections, Big Shot organizers determined that eight lighting teams will be needed.
The subject area of the photograph includes the expansive high fortress wall, the gate itself, a stonebridge, moat, the Croatian flag, a spire, parapets and Fortress Minceta. In the test photo, Fortress Minceta is on the top left-hand side. This area alone will require at least 200 volunteers. Each lighting team will vary in size. For example, one person will be assigned to light the Croatian flag. We were hoping for a slight breeze so the entire flag can be seen, but our friends at ACMT tell us there will be no breeze at that time of night. Professor Stasa Puskaric, who teaches environmental science at ACMT, will attempt to use fishing line to keep the flag unfurled. He bravely volunteered his services during one of our Big Shot meetings this morning. We shall see how this goes, right?
Also in the Big Shot photograph will be eight models dressed in authentic Renaissance costumes and positioned on the stonebridge. Two of the models will be dressed as guards. They will provide not only some historical perspective, but will also give viewers a better idea of the size and scale of the fortress wall. To make sure they don’t look like ghosts in the final photograph, the models will be required to stand still during the exposure, which could last anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes. Some of you may remember that models, along with a horse, were part of the Big Shot at Genesee Country Village and Museum several years ago. As seen in the final image, the horse had a little bit of trouble standing still.
The models add another dimension of complexity to what is going to be an already difficult choreography between hundreds of volunteers and photographers. Two RIT photography students have been assigned to light the models. They will need to quickly run on to the bridge, paint them in light, and then run out of the frame of the shot. Once that is complete, Bill and Dawn will open up the camera lenses again and begin the exposure of the structure itself.
Dawn and Bill will shoot four different images using both a Nikon D200 digital camera as well as 4-by-5 inch Kodak film. There is nowhere in Dubrovnik, though, to develop this size film. The closest processing center is in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. It’s about a 12-hour bus ride away! What you will see on Thursday night on Rochester television stations or on the RIT Web site will be one of the images shot digitally. In between shots, Dawn and Bill will evaluate the digital images on a computer screen and make necessary adjustments. People may have to be moved around to change various degrees of brightness and darkness throughout the area.
The weather looks like it will cooperate. The forecast calls for clear skies, and it will be in the 70s! Bye for now, I’m off to interview Don Hudspeth, president and dean of RIT’s American College of Management and Technology. You can hear Don’s audio podcast at www.rit.edu/news (see “Latest Podcasts”).