Behind the Scenes

Yesterday we wrapped up filming with the crew from Crossroads, then said our good-byes so they could head back to Port au Prince to wrap up their trip.

We really enjoyed the last few days with them. They’re wonderful people working with a great ministry. Several times Chris and I just stopped and talked about what a blessing it was to have them here. They kept talking about how much they wanted to share what we do in a beautiful way, and we kept thinking about what a huge gift this all is for Clean Water for Haiti. The footage that they gathered will be used for a telethon that they’ll be doing on December 2nd, as well as for spots throughout 2014. You can visit their website to learn more about program times so you can tune in and see us!

I don’t think either Chris or myself had any idea how much work goes into the filming side of things. We’ve had people here to interview us before, but it was very short and the type of situation where they grab what they can in a few minutes and then hit the road to keep on schedule. What Crossroads was doing was full on production with a plan of what kinds of information they wanted, what types of imagery, the types of interviews they knew would be beneficial, etc. I’ve talked to photographer friends before and know that it’s normal to get very few shots that actually work, sometimes out of 100’s. The same is true for video, especially when you can’t always control the surroundings. When you’re filming out in communities people or animals or things like motorcycles might come meandering into your shots, so you start over. Sometimes the video card fills up, so you have to back track and try to say what you just said. Background noise, lighting, wind… so many factors go into creating the images we see.

Chris spent two days with the crew out in an area called Ti Dedune where we’ve been doing a lot of filter installations for the past year. This area was down river from where the Cholera epidemic started, so was hit quite badly. Their source water is the canal system that’s out there. It’s arid and the ground water is salty, so few things grow unless they can irrigate an area with the canals like they do with the rice paddies. I haven’t been there myself, but have been to areas similar. These zones are very rural, and very far away from the nearest “town”. The houses are typically made from rock, mud and sticks, with a tin roof. These areas are the definition of rural poverty in Haiti. Yet, the people are typically more community minded and more reliant on one another, and while they may live without many things, they tend to have a contentedness about them. Most are farmers and live off the land. Because of all these things combined, they love the filters. Cheryl and Greg were really happy with some of the interviews they were able to do with filter owners in Ti Dedune. They got to hear personal stories of families affected by Cholera, and the life change, and the saved lives, that our filters have brought to the area. Chris and I don’t often go on deliveries or repairs, so in some cases it was the first time we’ve even heard these stories. We know the work we do is impacting Haitian families in a big way, we just don’t always get to be in direct contact with those people. To say that it was encouraging is an understatement.

It was fun to see the production side of things for the past few days. It gave me a new appreciation for the amount of work that goes into something like this. Five minutes of television is days of work! As Cheryl said, it’s a lot of hurry up and wait. Hurry up and be ready to go, but wait because there’s a technical difficulty or someone walks into a shot. Hurry up and get to a spot to get the sunrise, but then wait for the whole thing to be filmed. Hurry up to get people prepped for interviews, but be patient because it might take an hour to get the one question that you really want answered, answered.

We decided to go out to the new property to film my interview, mostly because it was quiet, and there would be fewer interruptions. When we arrived, Edoise, an older farmer from the community, was there working on the weeding. We’ve hired him to help us stay on top of things. He’s a sweet man who works hard. I haven’t been going out there much because we haven’t been doing any work on things and I haven’t had many reasons to be there. As Greg set up the camera and equipment I spent some time chatting with Edoise about the land, and he gave me the fruit he had found that day (a regime of small bananas, 6 passion fruit, and a couple of sour sop). He was so proud to have the time to share what he was doing with me. It was really sweet.

Cheryl & Greg setting up a beautiful shot.
Cheryl & Greg setting up a beautiful shot.

When Greg was ready I got all set up and we started the interview, but had to stop so I could ask Edoise to stop hoeing for about 20 minutes since the sound was interfering with the audio. He was happy to oblige. We started up again, and a few minutes later he came wandering over and asked if he could remove the dried grass that was all over the ground at our feet, to make things look nice for the video. It was so sweet, and a perfect example of why stuff can take so much time when shooting! We had a good laugh, thanked him and kept going!

Yesterday we wrapped up filming with Greg getting shots of the work yard and the different parts of filter production.

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We also did some filming in our house, which was a good laugh for Chris and I. I’m pretty sure Alex wants to be a camera man now. He kept trying to turn knobs on the tri-pod every time Greg walked away from it for a second.

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Greg also took about 15 minutes after staff prayer in the morning to take some staff pictures for us. It’s SO hard to get good pictures here because I either have to take them, which means I’m not in them, or when we do have people take them they often do them quickly and don’t have much experience so people’s eyes are closed, they’re looking away, etc. We honestly have not had a full staff photo in years! When I looked at what Greg snapped and did the editing my heart got all mushy. Look at these people!

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When I look at this picture I see the personalities of our workers and I love the dignity and character I see in their faces. I’m like a proud Mama! We have such a great bunch of workers. I wish you could meet them and see all the things Chris and I see in them. We feel so blessed to be doing this with them, and know that NONE of it would be possible without them.

It was a fun, and very tiring, few days! Seriously, I had no idea how much work it was. The dedication that producers and camera people have to doing great work is amazing. We can’t wait to see what they put together!

~Leslie

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