A Few Minutes With Bill O’Reilly

Bill O'Reilly

When I got the call from Dave Baratz at USAWeekend to shoot Bill O’Reilly, I immediately could tell from his voice that this was probably when was of those quick in-and-out gigs, and I was right. Bill had extremely limited time available and wouldn’t go to a studio, so the only place we could shoot him was on the set of The O’Reilly Factor at Fox News. Oh yeah…we were told we would only have about ten minutes with him…immediately before he taped his show!

I figured I had better go check the place out…

It was small…really small! My wide-angle lenses were gonna get a workout! The only place I could drop a seamless for the cover would be in a back corner behind the cameras…


For a second shot, the only other possibility seemed around his desk…


But when I saw the Stage Manager sitting in a nook to the side I had an idea…


Because of the time constraints and the fact that I was going to shoot him against that backlit set, I made the decision to light Bill with a couple of 1′ x 1′ BiColor Litepanels. The BiColor variator made it super easy to dial in the correct color temperature and the output variator allowed me to match the intensity of the backlit blue wall in seconds. I’ve really come to appreciate the WYSIWYG aspect of shooting the the Litepanel system.

Bill O’Reilly…on set in 3…2…1…


Bill O'Reilly

That took care of the opener…


Now, on to the cover.

I took a subjects-eye-view of the cover setup…


…which sort of shows how tightly backed into that corner we really were…


Since the story was about volunteerism, Dave and I thought it would be nice to play off the old Uncle Sam, ‘I Want You!’ poster…


And Bill got into the whole Uncle-Sam-pointing thing which made my work that much easier…

Bill O'Reilly

And here’s the cover that came out yesterday


Bill and I hope YOU enjoyed todays behind-the-scenes look!



Blowing Smoke With Iron Chef Bobby Flay!!!


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This past weekend was the unofficial start of Summer and to kick off the season, Dave Baratz at USAWeekend had me shoot Iron Chef Bobby Flay for a Summer Grilling cover. He wanted BBQ…he wanted smoke…he wanted fire…and he wanted it shot in a studio.

So we obliged.

We set up shop at Milk studios for a couple of reasons…first, Studio #3 was wonderfully huge and second, it had tons of windows that we were gonna need to clear out all the smoke I knew we would have. But fake smoke is one thing, fire is something else! Since we couldn’t exactly light a real fire, I called upon Sarah Oliphant for a flame backdrop


Next came the smoke. I kinda knew the standard Rosco smoke fogger wouldn’t be the way to go because all it does is spew out a huge blast of very hard to control smoke and I really wanted to have very precise, wispy smoke curls. We did tests using Superior smoke pellets


…but at $7 a pop and only lasting 20-30 seconds each, they weren’t the ideal fit. But then we found something new to me at JMFX out in Brooklyn…the Tiny F07 fogger


Not only is it small…about the size of a deck of cards…so it’s easy to hide on a set or maneuver in and out of the shot on the fly, but since it has a wireless remote control, it’s extremely easy to control the output. About the only downside is that the damned thing costs $1850.00!!! Thank God for rental houses.

But after firing up a couple of the Tiny F07’s, this was literally our first test with the smoke..


Not bad at all…all we had to do now was add an Iron Chef…

Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay

…and the cover…


With the cover in the bag, we moved on to a second shot with another Olpihant backdrop


After slapping a couple of steaks on the grill and both mini-smoke machines hidden inside, Bobby went to work…

Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay

So that was our day with the Iron Chef…and the best part is that now all of us at Damn Ugly Photography are certified special effects technicians!!!

Kaz, Brad & Ben

Alec Baldwin Is Santa Claus

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In the Dreamworks Holiday Blockbuster, Rise of the Guardians, Alec Baldwin is lending his (Russian-accented) voice to Santa Claus, and in a bit of cross-promotion, David Baratz at USA Weekend called upon me and the crew to shoot him for the cover of their Holiday Tech Gift Guide. So a few weeks ago, we turned a room at the Crosby Street Hotel into our studio and brought a bit of Christmas to Soho…here’s how it went down…

Since it was a Christmas cover, I figured it was OK to dress up the set with a few Xmas lights…

Even though we knew we would only have Alec for maybe half an hour, my stylist, Cynthia Altoriso, pulled together a stunning array of clothes, including a couple of $7,000 Brioni burgundy velvet jackets (that unfortunately didn’t get worn)…

Since the idea of the cover was to have Alec plugged in to the tech gifts, he worked with the few props that played on that metaphor…

…and here are the final images…

Merry early Christmas!!!