The seamless gallery shoot

Posted on Jul 30, 2015

Well, it's been a busy week for Andrew Bako, the stills photographer since day 1 on Heartland. In addition to his days on set, capturing images we will see when the season 9 episodes begin to air in the fall, Andrew also shoots the gallery images of the cast against a white backdrop. This white backdrop enables the art directors at CBC (and the foreign broadcasters and DVD distributors) to use good photos of the actors for posters, DVD artwork, ads and billboards, etc.

This year the gallery shoot was split into two days. One week ago today photos were taken at the ranch set of the series, in the hopes of getting an organic shot of the actors together that could be used as the main image for season 9. This would be the first time a non-composite key art image was done since season 2, which was of Ty and Amy on the jumping ring fence, with Spartan in the background. I am not going to show you the photos that are going to be used this year until a little closer to season 9's October 4 premiere, when the look of this site will change to reflect the new images.

Getting back to the seamless gallery session, that was a mere three days ago, when Shaun, Alisha, Gabriel, Michelle, Julia, Graham and Amber posed for about fifteen minutes each, getting good shots taken of them that will be used to promote the series. Unfortunately, Chris Potter was not only directing that day, but he was acting in every scene as well, so it was impossible to get him the time to be a part of this year's gallery shoot. However, production has many great unused photos of him from previous seamless shoots; one of those will work really well as a replacement.

So here are some photos that were shot of Andrew taking the cast photographs. The fellow you see standing just off to Andrew's left is Rob. He is a photography expert who comes in to assist Andrew on these days, so the day goes as efficiently as possible. There were also extra hair, makeup and wardrobe crew present on the shoot, which took place in the Calgary studio. These images will give you an idea of what you can expect when you see the new artwork.

At the top is Alisha Newton (Georgie) and Shaun Johnston (Jack) being photographed together.

Here's Shaun again. This wide shot shows you the white ceiling that the flash lighting bounces off of. This way the cast being photographed are not blinded by the light. (Gee - sounds like a song, doesn't it?)

Here's Amber Marshall (Amy), looking her ususal great self for Andrew to photograph.

And here's Michelle Morgan (Lou), who also looks totally comfortable having her photo taken.

This was a photo of Gabriel Hogan (Peter) that I posted on Twitter on Monday. That visible appendage attached to Andrew's camera is not a walkie talkie; it's called a Pocket Wizard, a wireless triggering device that activates the flashes of light to coincide with the shutter opening on his camera.

Heartland's newest regular cast member, Julia Baker (Katie) had a lot of fun posing for photos.

There's no cast providing more laughs than Graham Wardle (Ty), who likes to clown around a lot when he's not being serious. As with the other cast, great photos were taken of him on Monday.

And for a last photo here is what the actors all see when they step on the seamless paper to have their photo taken. That's Andrew Bako dead centre. To his immediate right is an apple box he sits on when he is shooting full body set ups. The big white thing on the left of the photo is a diffused light which balances and compensates for the illumination from the flashes. The red tape cross to the right is a spot where Andrew can direct an actor to look while he is being photographed. The black screen behind Andrew is what separates the gallery area from where production was filming; if you look to the right you will see the backdrop of the barn set that is visible through the "north" door of the barn.

So, I hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes look at part of the Heartland process. I found it interesting; I hope you do too.

The last days of July are here; make sure you enjoy yourself. We all know how fleeting summer is in Canada. I'll be back next Thursday, which is the first Thursday in August, with more Heartland stuff for all of you.

Until then I remain, as always, obediently yours.