Earlier this year, I had the privilege to shoot some B-roll at a travelling carnival in St. Peters, MO. The concept was to use the footage for a circus influenced aerial performance by local artist, Lilly Steele.
Although I had captured some pretty good scenes that established the ambience of being at a circus, Lilly felt that she had not truly perfected her choreography for the death defying aerial performance. So, after about 6 months and plenty of live shows under her belt, Lilly and I met up once more at the Movement Arts Center in South County - St. Louis. Using minimal light (which I have just been obsessed with as of late), we were able to complete the look of her big top act with a few small spots pointed at two separate sections of her silk ribbon.
I chose to use a Canon 70-200mm L Telephoto lens, so that way I could zoom in and capture the intricacies of her movement while hanging 20 feet in the air. I compensated for the wide angles with just a standard zoom, in order to have the option of moving out, without revealing too much of the background. The biggest fail of the shoot though, was the on site breaking of one of my two fill lights, it was then that I realized that I hadn't ordered any replacement bulbs in over a year and was completely out of luck!
I had only seen aerial performances from afar, mostly on the internet and with nothing to protect her fall, I was terrified that if something were to happen, I would be the only one able to break the fall. At least if it did, the camera would still be rolling...
But without fail, Lilly Steele killed it and ran the same routine over and over for almost an hour, until I was able to capture the performance from all angles. The video is set to the moody and mystic sounds of Robert Plant and Allison Kraus, which I believe only amplifies the the creepy carnival vibe that we so desperately tried to accomplish.