DFS helps put on TCM Classic Film Festival

Montalban Theater, Hollywood

The TCM Classic Film Festival, hosted by the Turner Network and located in Hollywood, is now in its fifth year. Between April 10th and 13th, thousands of film lovers (and millions more, watching at home) celebrated classic cinema here in Los Angeles, attending panels, watching movies, and listening to the stars of yesteryear’s biggest pictures talk about their experiences, in life and on screen.

But that’s just what you see on TV.

Behind the scenes, and for the second consecutive year, Digital Film Studios and Bad Company have helped put on a show that, perhaps for others, would be a daunting endeavor.

Over 60 featured guests from film and television. Eleven cameras. Four days of programming. Sound easy? Throw in a live broadcast and simultaneous shooting at two different venues, and you’ve got yourself a party.

Michael Gossen, editor with Radar Dog

“For me, it’s all about communication and organization. I’ve got a lot of plates spinning, and flaming hoops to jump through, so I want to find people who understand what I need,” says Sean Cameron, director of the program. “I want to be able to say ‘this is the show,’ do a tech scout, answer any questions they may have, and then walk away knowing that when I get off a plane 6 weeks later, everything’s taken care of.”

As it turns out, Cameron was looking for Bad Company.

Founded by Raub Shapiro, Bad Company is a San Francisco-based media production company with a history of excellence. When they took over production duties for the TCM Classic Film Festival, they tapped a long-standing working relationship with DFS in order to put on the show.

“Raub asked if DFS wanted to come along and do something really challenging,” says John McGarty, production coordinator. “The kind of environment we have here doesn’t happen that often. Usually things are more contained, and we’re on a set with a few actors, at one location at a time  this is a real challenge.”

John McGarty (in black), production coordinator, Bad Company

In addition to providing the equipment necessary to shoot the festival program, including lights, grip, and cameras, DFS also contributed personnel, including camera operators and assistants. McGarty explains that working with DFS is convenient for Bad Company: “On this job, things can get really down-to-the-minute. We don’t have time to open new accounts when we need gear. Fortunately, I can just call DFS, say what we need, and get it very quickly. Cameras, lights – one call and it’s done.”

Shapiro gets in-depth. “What I really like about DFS is that they bring the best answer and not just the easiest one. They run the kind of operation that allows them to access equipment they don’t have in-house, which in turn benefits everyone they work with.” He continues, “They scale up into large projects and down into small ones, and that’s huge. They make things easy, and that’s why we come to them.” It doesn’t hurt that there’s a lot of camaraderie between the two companies. “It’s a stressful work environment, and what makes it better is that we all know each other and are on a first name basis. Even if we have a 4-hour turnaround on one of the days, we all stay in a good mood and keep at it,” says McGarty.

Sean Cameron, director

“DFS and Bad Company know what I need before I need it,” says Cameron. “I appreciate that they reveal things to me, on the technology side, that I wasn’t previously aware of. This year, DFS provided LED lighting for the show that was fantastic. The fact that you can change color and intensity on the fly, with a fraction of the power and heat, is tremendous.”

As the festival winds down and attendees trickle out into the street, DFS and Bad Company employees shake hands and begin to strike the set. “It really does feel like a family effort,” says McGarty, and when he smiles, you know he means it.




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