In the 1990s, The Shooting Gallery produced some of the hottest indie films, including "Sling Blade" (an Academy Award for Billy Bob Thornton), "You Can Count On Me" starring Mark Ruffalo (Academy Award nomination), and a series of projects with now-famous actors, producers and directors. Not long ago, director/producers Whitney Ransick and Bob Gosse, along with DP/producer Gil Gilbert and his co-DP Derek Wiesehahn, chronicled the rise and fall of this industry icon in "Misfire: The Rise and Fall of The Shooting Gallery."
To capture on-camera interviews, which would be interwoven with chosen footage, the team chose to shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II supported by a Sachtler Video 20 fluid head tripod system.
The film was shot with the Canon 5D Mark II camera and an assortment of lenses. Producers wanted a fairly natural look with a limited depth-of-field, and were often shooting wide open on the lenses. In the end, more than 45 interviews were recorded both in New York and Los Angeles, using Sachtler’s Video 20 tripod.
One of the single most important tools when shooting in this documentary style is the tripod. Documentary work usually has limited set up time and is constantly grabbing things as they occur. The Sachtler was versatile, easy to set up and rock steady.
One of Gilbert’s first interviews was with Edie Falco, an original member of The Shooting Gallery group, when it started in 1990. It was shot in New York, and there were about 40 minutes of time to capture that interview. It was shot in a small confined space and with a lot to talk about in a short time. There was no time to say, "Stop! We have a problem."
It was the same when Michael Spiller was interviewed. Spiller is a highly praised TV producer/director in Los Angeles ("Sex In the City," "Modern Family" and "The Mindy Project"). Time was tight, with much to pack much into. Documentary shooting is not something that allows wasted time. Production may span a year or more, but when shooting, time is very limited. It has to be right the first time.
"Misfire: The Rise and Fall of The Shooting Gallery" is in final edit and will be seen at various film festivals in the coming months.