Trailblazers; The 1st Black Marines to serve in WWII (view this story)

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Rep: 87
Michael Fagans June 4, 2012, 9:04 p.m. permalink

Eric: Thank you so much for telling the story of the Montford Marines so well. Really nice work.

It might be helpful for folks on FtF if you talked about why you decided to light your interviews and why you selected that particular technique. I really liked your compositions from the side with the hard edge lighting, it works well with this story.

Great use of historical images and footage. How did you get and incorporate the film footage?

If I have to nitpick on anything it is in the audio area. There were one or two places the audio sounded like it had extra reverb or that you had to really increase your levels. Yes? Also, it sounded like there was a soundtrack underneath things....I had a really hard time telling if that was there on purpose or not because it was so low. I don't know that you needed it. In one sense it ties things together, but if so, I would have liked to hear more of it so that I know it was intentional.

I also wouldn't have minded your mixing your iPhone image in to mix, some of them are really remarkable and combine that twin lens feel with modern capture that I really like as a photographer.

The thing that most impresses me about gentlemen and soldiers like these Marines is how honorably they served despite how a segment of the white population treated them. To see the injustice and feel the impact of segregation and yet be able to serve a country that did not yet see them as equal is most remarkable.

Really nice piece. Colin should use this video for his documentary class.

Rep: 7
John Harte June 4, 2012, 9:11 p.m. permalink

Beautiful piece, Eric!

Rep: 444
Eric Seals June 5, 2012, 5:18 a.m. permalink

Thanks it was great meeting these men of history. It was a learning experience also in many ways from shooting to more importantly knowing about their service which I didn't know unlike that of the Tuskegee Airman or the Buffalo Soliders.

For this video and the other one that I shot a few weeks ago and posted on here called "Montford Marines go back in time with old WWII pics" I used a king sized black fleece type blanket I bought at Target as my backdrop and lit it with 1 FotoRosa octagon softbox with daylight CFL bulbs and a large white foam core piece for fill.  

I wanted to use this treatment on this piece to make them pop out more with their red outfits on and for their nice skin tones as well.  Plus since I knew this was going to be a heavy on camera/face time piece I wanted it stylized more than other things I've done and also so the Marines were the only thing you were focused on not anything else that could of been in the background had I shot it another way.

Built my own portable studio kit for this (and used same kit in the other Montford video) and took it to their homes.  These guys are in their late 80's and early 90's so having them come to the studio at my newspaper just wasn't going to happen.

Getting the historical footage and pictures was so key to helping this.  I worked with the Marine Corps in Washington DC and they gave me full access to whatever I wanted that they had of the Montford Marines.  Interesting that now after this piece ran and the second piece they want the two videos and a poster print of the front page of our paper to have on permanent display at the National Marine Corps Museum, hope to check it out when we go to DC for vacation this summer.

Yeah the audio was a pain in the ass to deal with.  I used two and sometimes three Canon 5D Mark II's to shoot this and had the guys lav'd up and at the right settings and all and still had some issues.  I should of applied some audio filters to it in FCP and would have but my paper decided to rush this story and video out sooner than I expected and I was under the gun to turn it around quick and didn't have time to polish this the way I wanted to.

There was music and had it low at points and raised it up for effect at points during the piece but given more time I would of done a better job with this.

Amazing men and a amazing story.

Check out the second piece when you get a chance. Went to Tennessee for part of that story as a retired Army vet was given over 80 old black and white pictures of Montford Marines in training and fighting and I did a piece based off that.

Thanks again for watching and reviewing this.

Take care



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