Videographer, or no?

Television production can be as complex or as simple as you can imagine.  High-end productions travel with hundreds, if not thousands of pounds of gear and people with the skilled expertise to use all of it.  This production I am planning won’t be like that.  I will need to be nimble.  It’s a balancing act, really.  The question I am working to answer is, “how lightly can I travel without negatively effecting the production?”

In the past two weeks I have had conversations with three different videographers.  My first thought about this project was that I would really like to have a skilled shooter with me…television shooter, not Army shooter…though that goes without saying.  I couldn’t go wrong with either of the three guys I’ve spoken to.  Assuming they’re all interested they would all bring a unique skill set to the project.  Traveling with someone, being able to talk things over, think through story lines, collaborate, each run a camera, have one of us take stills…the benefits of having a shooter go on and on.  There is one deterrent to having a shooter with me and it’s a big one.  How would I feel if something terrible happened to this person while we were in Afghanistan?  Would I feel the need to continually worry about and check in on this person’s well-being as we’re traveling?  Is it easier, albeit much lonelier, to go solo?

I watched an incredible documentary that aired on PBS’s POV called “Where Soldiers Come From“.  The filmmaker followed 8 Michigan National Guard soldiers through an eight month deployment to Afghanistan.  Coupling interviews and footage from Michigan with interviews and footage from Afghanistan created a sense for the viewer of how deployments effect those deployed and those back home.  The filmmaker commented in a Q&A that she chose to make her THREE (!!!) trips to Afghanistan by herself because of her worry for any potential crew she would bring with her.

I’ll continue to search for the trade off of how I would deal with my conscious if something unfortunate happened versus the end-result of having a well-skilled videographer with me while I’m in the fields of Afghanistan.