Russert On Set

Sunday, April 23, 2006 Concept/Objective:

Assignment ConstructThe objective for this assignment was to capture NBC’s Tim Russert in two locations, on set, and outside, for the cover of the magazine. We wanted to show the set, and a bit about his character, and we were given a narrow window during which we could make the photos, given Tim’s schedule.


Working on a TV set is always a challenge, because, if course, the broadcast is the most important thing, and my presence is only at the whim of the floor manager. Get in the way of anybody, or make a peep of a sound, and you’re out. Bringing along our Jacobsen Blimp and lighting was critical. All the equipment was pre-set on the sound stage prior to the show.

Following the first setup, we went outside, and pre-set for the second setup, just outside the studio. We had 100’ of power to run to our location, which was no problem.


Assignment ConstructOnce Tim was finished with the Sunday broadcast, we moved in, and set up the lights for setup #1. The softbox had a tungsten gel in it, so that the strobe light was balanced for the ambient background of the set lights. Befriending the TV lighting crew meant that they offered to put a rim light on him for me (rather than my having to fly my own light, which was was preparing to do).

Being properly prepared with a blimp, the floor manager also allowed me to shoot during the broadcast, while Tim was interviewing Sen. Kennedy.

For the second setup, again, a single softbox, was used. I did a series with and without the tungsten gel in, because I often like the way the background changes color when doing this.


As an editorial assignment, we do little post-production beyond toning/dodging/burning. We processed the raw files, and uploaded them to a service for client review and download.

Final Analysis:

Assignment Construct
Assignment ConstructWhile the art director, who flew in for the assignment was pleased with the setups, and results, the magazie’s editor, after all that work, chose a generic posed photo of Tim on set.

Posted by John Harrington on 04/23
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