Recently I wrapped on Season 3 of “Fixer Upper.” It was a rewarding feeling to know that another season worth of content was in the “can.” I can’t believe I’ve had the privilege to be the Director of Photography on 40 episodes of the show. It has been quite the journey. This season was filled with challenges and changes but ultimately the crew of “Fixer Upper” pushed on.
Season 3 saw a producer change, format tweaks, and even a change in the gear we use on the show. Towards the half way point we made a switch from ENG glass to Canon’s L-Series glass. Shooting scene work with Canon’s L-Series glass is a challenge but it did allow for a more “cinematic look” as far as depth of field and bokeh (how the lens renders out-of-focus light) are concerned. The new glass requires you to “zoom with your feet.” Our primary lens for shooting scene work is the Canon 24mm-105mm f4. It’s nice to have the image stabilization but I wish this lens was wider. The change in glass caused us to approach scene work differently. For instance, getting a wide shot usually means I have to shoot from the next room. I find myself shooting through a door way and it tends to give my wide shot a voyeuristic look. I don’t mind it. Most of the time it looks cool and I welcome the foreground.
I’ve been shooting “OTFs” AKA “On The Fly Interviews” with the Canon 70mm-200mm f2.8. If we’re in a rush I’ll make it work with the 24mm-105mm. One of the best changes to my camera rig has been using Zacuto’s Universal Baseplate. This baseplate works with the Sony VCT-14 mount on my tripod. It has made the transition from handheld shooting to “sticks” very smooth.
Chip and Jo are obviously a blast to work with. Chip is always finding ways to goof with the crew. On demolition day Chip will throw debris within inches of us. Of course, that’s just another good reason to wear steel toed boots on “demo day”. Chip has also placed little lizards on my shoulder while I’m shooting. It’s fair to say that I scream like a little girl whenever he does that.
Working on “Fixer Upper” has been a wonderful experience. Like any adventure, it has its ups and its downs but overall I have learned so much from DP’ing this show and working with all the talented individuals that make up the crew. Season 3 of “Fixer Upper” aired on December 1st on HGTV. #seasonthreeiscoming
PS. For all you Fixer Upper fans out there you’ll be happy to know that we have started shooting season 4.
– Roger Woodruff, Director of Photography