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Day in the life of a medical surgeon.....ANY IDEAS?

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Skipno
Day in the life of a medical surgeon.....ANY IDEAS?
on Jun 17, 2005 at 9:45:49 pm

Hi all,

I've been hired to produce a "Day in the Life" video for a medical surgeon who will retire very shortly. My contact, the surgeon's daughter, wants me to videotape him in the operating room and in the office, doing his normal routine. I asked her if there were any testimonials to be given by friends/family, and she said "Maybe...let's just shoot his 'day in the life' first..."

That response splits the project into two possible scenarios:

1. An edited piece set to music, with occasional quotes and titles appearing throughout the video, or
2. A documentary-style video, complete with interviews and testimonials from friends and family.

How can I shoot this project while keeping both scenarios open? I'm a wedding videographer, but ironically, I don't like long music video montages and slow-motion all the way through. If I shoot for #1, I would probably have to stage a few things while in office, just to keep things exciting. On the other hand--shooting for #2, I can use the interviews to tell the story, along with supporting photos. Then, the O.R. and office shots can simply serve as cutaways. Capturing quality audio would not be as essential in this scenario, but I think miking up the surgeon is always good...

Any suggestions or comments on this issue would be greatly appreciated!!!

Andrew


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Mark Suszko
Re: Day in the life of a medical surgeon.....ANY IDEAS?
on Jun 19, 2005 at 2:55:44 am

Don't sweat it. First shoot the b-roll following the guy around his day, as much as you can, because that's got to be the hardest footage to get. Interviews can be gotten later, anywhere, have the daughter help set those up for you, it will be easier. Explaing that she knows the people and that will tend to put them at ease about participating.

There are numerous ways to combine the interviews and b-roll and stills. Might be fun to create a graphic theme using medical charts, x-rays, and folders as titling devices.

One of the variations on these that have often been very popular, especially for co-worker good-bye parties, is the gag slideshow. This is a completely normal home movie type slide show , the gimmick is the narrations and interviews are completely wrong from what's expected. When the subject is uncooperative in supplying photos or there's no time, stock shots or GIS searches can turn up ridiculous images to go with a "straight" naration.
These usually run with the "life story of" theme, or for hipper crowds, a parody of "Behind The Music" or "E" true hollywood Story".

None of these sound right for the kindly old doctor, though. That one should probably be played straight. It's no big deal to float some interviewer bits in a window over b-roll of the doc on rounds. Add some needle-drop music and hand out the kleenex.

I did a tribute video for a guy who passed away after about 20 years on the job. It was a nice creative change of pace, I was able to do a pretty good job even though I never knew him. It was interviews mixed between short 1 and 2-minute music stills montages.

The thing the clients liked a LOT was, I added a slow fade to black with a quote. The guy was a highway enginer, so I did a google search for quotes about engineers and engineering. Came up with a Chinese proverb that was kind of open-ended: you could read almost anything into it, but it was the best quote I could find about building roads. Man, the positive reactions that ending got, it was all out of proportion, they said I'd nailed who he was!

Maybe when you interview the friends and family, you could look for quotes of the doc, some aphorism or code he's always espoused.

.


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Skipno
Re: Day in the life of a medical surgeon.....ANY IDEAS?
on Jun 19, 2005 at 4:27:29 am

Thanks for the ideas. The surgeon's daughter also told me that they might not even do interviews at all for this video. If I don't have interviews, what else can I do with the b-rolls, as it would now be my a-rolls! I can only think of photos to cutaway to. This client is the type that doesn't know what they want....saying "can you make us a video of my dad?" No script, no direction. Just 4-5 hours of raw footage, with no motivation to cut.

What the heck, any other suggestions?

Andrew


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Mark Suszko
Re: Day in the life of a medical surgeon.....ANY IDEAS?
on Jun 19, 2005 at 7:53:53 pm

Another alternative approach would be to put the man in context with his times, so in this case, that could imply mixing in headlines and maybe library stock shots from key years in his life. This however opens up copyright issues, something to be careful about. Way around this might include researching modern history and almanacs and dropping in trivia references comparing things when he was born, when he started school, when he began his practice, and now.


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Jon Zanone
Re: Day in the life of a medical surgeon.....ANY IDEAS?
on Jun 20, 2005 at 6:42:22 pm

[Mark Suszko] "so I did a google search for quotes about engineers and engineering. Came up with a Chinese proverb that was kind of open-ended: you could read almost anything into it, but it was the best quote I could find about building roads."


OK, Mark, I gotta' know - what was the quote?

Jon


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Mark Suszko
Re: Day in the life of a medical surgeon.....ANY IDEAS?
on Jun 21, 2005 at 5:14:44 am

I'd tell you, but I'd have to charge you;-) Actually, it was something about pioneers building the roads others walk on. It was the closest thing I could find at that hour, and I didn't think much of it, but everybody who read it read something personal of their own into it, and it just clicked, who knows why.

Here's a fun list of quotes that might work better
http://www.benadams.com/humor/quotes.asp


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Jon Zanone
Re: Day in the life of a medical surgeon.....ANY IDEAS?
on Jun 21, 2005 at 11:47:17 am

What a great list!

Now I'm late for work....

Jon


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Peabody
Re: Day in the life of a medical surgeon.....ANY IDEAS?
on Jun 27, 2005 at 2:29:20 am

Have a look at some of Marco Greenberg's Reel Biography samples.
I find them stylish and inspiring.
I'm not talking about a rip off of his style,---but viewing this stuff may serve as a catylist for your imagination.

http://www.reelbiography.com/gerald_ginsberg/



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Mike Cohen
Re: Day in the life of a medical surgeon.....ANY IDEAS?
on Jul 7, 2005 at 4:09:33 pm

If you have not done your day in the life shoot yet, I would try to get the doctor to submit to an interview at some point in the day, or during down time, even in the elevator or cafeteria - let him be his own narration - ask him questions baout his career, interests, passions, approach to patient care, his family etc - then just use b-roll of him, even some SOT segments of his interactions with staff and patients. Have him repeat the question in his responses, you may be able to cut it to sound like he is following a script. Also scan his office for awards, family photos, certificates, etc. Take good static shots of these items, which you could use as b-roll also - or take some digital pics which you could pan/zoom.

That's what I would do giventhe lack of direction you described.

If you have already done the shoot, let us know how you approached it.

Mike Cohen


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Skipno
Re: Day in the life of a medical surgeon.....ANY IDEAS?
on Jul 7, 2005 at 4:47:31 pm

Thanks for the ideas. I've begun my first shoot in the O.R. to videotape him performing surgery. Here's how it went:

*Audio

During the op, wired/wireless lav mics weren't allowed, so I couldn't get him talking about how that knee cap looked like what he had for dinner last night. I tried to set up a boom mic...they said no. I was to stay outside of the sterile field and rely on my camera mic (Sony VX2000).

*Video/Lighting

Since he also wanted me to get the guts on camera, I was having to iris up and down due to their extreme lighting on the patient. When zooming in on the guts, I was at F9-F11 with the on-camera ND filter#1. Zooming out, I turned of the ND filter and was set to about F4.

*Coverage

Got some good shots of all the assistants in the O.R. Closeups, preparing tools, laughing, etc. I also got a wide-shot of an empty O.R., and the same shot with everyone in the room. I plan to transition the full room to an empty room during closing. After the op, I took the surgeon aside and had him briefly describe the op, and how he thought his assistants performed.

I had a chance to speak briefly with his family to get an idea of his personality, and tried talking them into getting at least three people to interview just to spice things up with multiple perspectives. Looks like they've taken the bait.

Luckily, he's a real joker, so this won't turn out to be a boring retirement video after all. It's for his grand-children! Right now, we're trying to schedule the office shoot. I'll keep everyone posted. Again, thanks for the ideas!

Andrew


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