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Brian Lynn
by Brian Lynn
Aug 4, 2015
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Telluride Jazz Fest 2015

One Floor Up is a proud sponsor of the Telluride Jazz Festival. And every year, members of our team drive the 343 miles, cameras in tow, to Telluride to capture footage that we later use to create a few promotional videos.

This past weekend, Andrew and I made the drive.

I had spent weeks preparing for it. I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to preparing for a camping trip. I spend way too much time conceiving plans for maximum space efficiency in transit—I literally will practice packing and unpacking the car, seeing what needs to be eliminated or what I can afford to add. I draw schematics of how the campsite will look, where to go to the bathroom or wash dishes, and how that might all change depending on ground slope. I cruise the garage sales each weekend to see if I can snag a deal on a set of bungees, an old ground mat, or a used headlamp. Finally, I had enough stuff, in the right Sharpie labeled bins, and fitting comfortably in and on the car.

If you haven’t made the drive from Denver to Telluride, I will suggest taking the southern route, via US-285 South and US-50 West. It’s much prettier and less populated than I-70. And you get to stop at the Coney Island hot dog stand outside of Bailey, CO.

 We arrived around with enough time to grab a bite to eat and set up camp. The forecast was misleading, at best. It was clear… for now. 

 The first day of the festival was promising. Andrew and I discussed our plan of action. We had brought 4 cameras: 2 DSLRs (a Canon 5D MkII and a Sony a7S) and 2 GoPros, and an array of lens options. We also brought a 2’ Edelkron slider and a 6’ Dynamic Perception motorized slider rail (which Andrew was particularly geeked about). 

We had All-Access passes to the festival, on and off stage. The plan was to set up the GoPros to capitalize on the breathtaking views from the stage itself, and to capture the festival filling up. I would operate the a7S on stage, capturing both performers with the mountainous background, and the festivalgoers’ faces. Andrew would run the Dynamic Perception, and get some motorized timelapses throughout the festival grounds.

The festival doors opened around 1, with the first band playing at 2pm. At noon, however, the rains came.

I shot as much as I could from onstage, and out of the rain. But I couldn’t frame up both the musicians and the audience, because the audience looked wet and miserable. And I couldn’t frame up the musician against the stunning mountain peaks, because they were hidden behind thick, low clouds and gray rain. So I compromised and shot close-ups.

On occasion, the rains would let up, the sun would appear, and people would crawl out from under their umbrellas and ponchos to dance. And Andrew and I would go wild, shooting everything we could! 

By Sunday morning, we were soaked to the bone. Our Telluride weekend was not at all what we had envisioned. But without question, we got the footage necessary to make an amazing video.

The moral of the story is perseverance. As media sponsors, we had made a commitment. And despite the weather doing it’s best at trying to keep us off our game, we triumphed and in the end, we got the shot.

Video production, especially coverage of live events, is unpredictable. You can plan and plan for it, make schematics, account for worst-case-scenarios, but ultimately chaos exists. And if you don’t have or trust your team, if you can’t communicate clearly and if you can’t make quick decisions, you’ll miss it.

See you next year, Telluride!