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Rolling with the Punches

So, last week I began to tell you, gentle reader, the tale of the first day of shooting on my latest film project "Relationship Rewind".  It was a tale of grand plans, and meticulous designs... which were abandoned almost immediately.  All my great ideas for cinematic lighting, stereophonic sound, and coverage of every scene from every angle, were jetisoned in the wake of people looking at me and waiting for me to get this proverbial show on the road.  I could handle this, I was just going to have to scale down my ideas, but I could keep moving forward.  Then I got hit again.

I had just completed the first few shots of a movie I had been trying to pull together for over a year and a half.  I was happy with the footage I had gotten from this first position, and it was time to move the camera.  The camera I was using is notorious for having a less than stellar battery life, so (having planed for this) I had plugged the camera into the wall, so as not to run out of battery power.  I unplugged the camera and moved to the next angle in the room.  People were talking, and not paying much attention to me as I set the camera, plugged it back in, and then went to turn it on again.  The view screen on the camera flickered and then went black.  "Hmm...", I thought to myself, "that's not supposed to happen".  Again I hit the power button, and again the screen flickered and turned black.  Not good.  Maybe there was something wrong with the wall outlet.  Maybe it was connected to a switch somewhere in the room, that was switched off.  Maybe, but unlikely.  You see, gentle reader, when the camera is plugged into the wall, it charges the battery inside the camera, so even if the camera wasn't recieving power from the wall, it still had an extremely fresh battery inside it from which to power up.  I was starting to get nervous.  I switched outlets and tried to power up the camera again.  The screen flickered, then went black.  I could feel a drop of sweat begin to trickle down the back of my neck, as the people in the room, who were counting on me to make this happen, began to notice I was having a little trouble.  I tried a plug on a different wall.  Pressing the power button a little harder now, my stomache sank as the screen flickered and then went black.  Had my camera just up and died on me?  This camera, that had fewer than twenty hours of use, and had sat in my climate controled home office, was not powering up.  Was this the end?  I didn't bring my second camera with me, if I had, this would have been the point were I would have pulled it out and used it. I would just have try and match the images from the different cameras latter in the editing room.  But, I didn't have another camera.  So, I could either figure out what was going wrong, or I was going to have to send everyone home, just a few shots into my movie.  I held the power button even longer.  You guessed it, the screen flickered, then went black.  My mind began to race.  The screen is flickering, so it seems like the camera is trying to power up, but just isn't succeeding.  Maybe when it is plugged into the wall, it still uses the battery power, and the battery currently in the camera is drained, thus the camera can't power up.  (I realize this doesn't actually make sense, but I had to try everything I could think of as people began to make their suggestions as to what they thought might be wrong).  I changed the battery and hit the power button, willing the camera to power up.  The screen flickered and went black.  It was with a certain level of desperation that I took the camera into my hands and began to really examine it.  Everything appeared to be fine.  All the compartments were sealed, nothing was out of place.  What was wrong!?  I shifted my grip on the camera and tapped the power button.  The screen flickered and then turned ON!  I wanted to lift that camera over my head like it was Simba from the Lion King!  I had gotten rocked to my core, but I had managed to find my feet again.  I had been knocked down, but I wasn't knocked out.  The shoot would continue, and I would do my best to get what I needed for the movie.

So what happened?  As to that, gentle reader, I can only guess, but I'm a pretty good guesser.  In order to power up the camera, one must tap the power switch.  I was holding it down too long, so the camera was powering up, then immediately powering back down again.  The more nervous I got, the more intentional I became about holding down the power button, and as a result the camera kept powering up, then turning itself off.  I now count myself fortuate that I had not brought my second camera, because I would have jettisoned the new camera, along with all of my other plans, only to find that the camera was in perfect working order, and the only problem was an over anxious opperator.  However, the opperator error did cost us time, and we would have to keep pushing in order to complete all that needed completing.  At the very least, I had learned how to successfully turn on the camera, and that seems like a good thing to know.

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