Firehouse Pictures

creative solutions for visual communication

Established in 1986 as a full service video production and post-production facility, Firehouse combines a long history of technical expertise and experience with a creative team committed to telling your story.

 

Schlockmeister

Rummaging through our library the other day we came across a box with the name Larry Buchanan written in black magic marker.  Inside were an assortment of 1", 3/4" and VHS tapes, and the occasional loose 1/4" audio tape reel.  This brings to mind the seemingly sudden disappearance of tape in our industry, but that's a subject for another day.

The first time we met Larry Buchanan he told us he once shot a feature film in a space the size of a small insert studio -- 20' by 20'.  He wore a panama hat and carried a cane made from some type of exotic polished wood.  He was often accompanied by his wife, whom he referred to as "Lady Jane." 

Larry told us he was in the process of securing the rights to all of his movies, and wanted to make a series of DVDs that included the original films and commentary by the cast members -- at least the ones he could find who were still alive.

If you're not a student of 60's era drive-in movies (you're not?),  you've probably never heard of Larry Buchanan.  But if you're of a certain age and can remember seeing films like "Free, White and 21," or "Underage," you know Larry Buchanan was one of the first progenitors of the sexploitation/blaxploitation  genre.

 "In the Year 2889"

 "In the Year 2889"

He was known mostly for "Mars Needs Women."    He often talked about making a sequel, one we insisted he title, "Venus Needs Velcro."    That was never to be, but for a period of about three years we re-cut and re-packaged  the odd sequence or soundtrack in preparation for, well, we were never quite sure what.  

Later on, he would arrive via an older model silver Mercedes sedan, his driver sitting in our lobby patiently waiting while thumbing through trade magazines.

 

"Mistress of the Apes" 

"Mistress of the Apes" 

The last time we  spoke with him, he had been struck with valley fever and was calling from his hospital bed asking if we could send a dub of his film, "Goodnight Sweet Marilyn" over so he could give it to one of the nurses. He then wanted to put us on the phone to vouch to the nurse that he had really been the director.

He died shortly after that.  He was 81.  His obit in The New York Times said,  "His work called to mind a famous line from H.L. Mencken, who, describing President Warren G. Harding's prose, said, ''It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it.'' 

 

 


Pinehurst

The Firehouse crew just returned from Pinehurst, North Carolina and the U.S. Open championships.  This year saw both men's and women's tournaments played back to back on historic Pinehurst #2.

Cameraman Keith Page, soundman Mike Andrews and editor Christian Bruncsak spent the two weeks providing continued support for Fox Sports Asia and their coverage of major PGA tournaments and World Golf Championship events.


Sinfonia

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Shooting with Centerline Digital of Raleigh, North Carolina and  IBM.  We spent some time at Sinfonia, a home health care provider start-up that's putting to use some of IBM's new server technology.

Shooting with two F3 rigs with Pix240I recorders to s-log, a zeiss cp.2 prime lens set and an Angenieux 24 -290 zoom.  And a rogue Canon 5d for some pick-up material.


Do Zombies Carpool?

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This and some other important questions are answered in a program we're working on for the Pima County Rideshare program.  We developed and wrote the script looking at  irrational fears of alternative transportation - biking, riding the bus,  and carpooling. 

With a great performance by local actor Grant Bashore as the skeptical commuter.

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Veterans

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U.S. Army veterans  Brad and Barbara Frey recently decided to go into business for themselves with the help of Wells Fargo Bank's new SBA lending program, the Patriot Express.

We're working with Wells Fargo Communications in Charlotte, North Carolina to produce the short program examining the day-in-the-life of a small business owner.

Shooting with the Sony F3, Angenieux Rouge DP 30-80mm zoom, and a Duclos Tokina 11-17mm wide angle lens.


Large

 

One of the two 8.4 meter (27 ft. diameter) mirrors of the LBT

One of the two 8.4 meter (27 ft. diameter) mirrors of the LBT

The Firehouse crew is spending some time at The Large Binocular Telescope atop Mt. Graham in southeastern Arizona.   We're working with astronomer Xiaohui Fan, who is trying to determine when at the first luminous objects appeared in the universe. 







MIckey D's House

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We're completing post on a short piece about Ronald McDonald House.  With locations all around the country, it's a place that provides food and lodging to families with children facing long hospitable stays for treatment of serious illness.  

For families not living in a metro area with adequate healthcare resources, the prospect of 3 or 4 weeks of hotels and other expenses can often be impossible to manage. 

 


Just Folks

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We're working with Tucson Meet Yourself: A Folklife Festival on a presentation to the National Endowment for the Arts.  2013 is TMY's 40th Anniversary.

Known mostly for its wide variety of ethnic foods, the event is now evolving to include more educational exhibits and attractions along with the music, dancing and grub. 

We're working mostly with material we shot in 2011/2012, and some great still imagery from legendary Tucson photographer Steve Meckler.

Brevity

The 89-year-old George H.W. Bush, who just a few years ago parachuted out of an airplane, is no longer able to stand and spoke less than a minute at the White House Monday. But the 41st president still showed his spark with the colorful socks that are becoming his trademark and the barbs he traded with his son, Neil, chairman of the Points of Light organization. Bush simply thanked the Obamas for their hospitality and then turned the floor to Neil by telling him, “Keep it short.”

                                                              ---The Washington Post  7/16/13

 

A remark we never hear is,  "That was really good, I just wish it was longer." 

If we're on the producing end of a show, we  take the approach it's not done until there's nothing left to remove.  Or shorten.  Or save for another day.   

This is a powerful way of looking at things even when working with defined running times for broadcast or cable spots.  In the right context silence can be much more powerful than music or voice.  Musicians often say it's more about what's not played than what is played.

When developing or revising a script, it's often useful to ask yourself if what you're saying is the best use of the medium.   For example, would my laundry list or procedural descriptions be better suited for a print or web article?  Or, is this person's back story about their childhood better truncated by the narrator than having him/her explain it on camera?

Seeing your audience checking their watches (or scrolling through your web video) is no way to live. 

The highest compliment we can hear is, "I'd like to know more about that."