Production Journal: Dec. 1, 1994

It is probably time to let you in on the planned deployment of production equipment and staff for this shoot.

Base Station: four vehicles. One is a fully-equipped production truck, similar to ones used in other location shoots. Another is the uplink truck. Third is the Interactivity Control Center, which is outfitted with computers for Q & A, exercises, and driving. Fourth is a general-purpose facility.

Hand-held cameras: Two with Steve Mattox and Frank Sansone out on the bench; One each for Biology and Astronomy argonaut stations and one with Bob. One will be on the helicopter but it may be a different operator depending on the flight. Some operators will move around to allow double-team coverage on one site from time to time. This movement is being carefully orchestrated in tandem with the script development.

Remote-operated cameras: One on the bench; one by the skylight Lava Crane; one at Pu'u O'o; two at the IRTF on Mauna Loa. The IRTF cameras are actually video telephones.

Specially-rigged cameras: Two on the Marsakhod, one on a crane on the lava field somewhere, one inside the helicopter. There are also two infra-red cameras, one on the chopper and one on the bench.

Other video sources: cameras on telescope; on microscope; video output from computers, including internet access.

Audio: boom operators will move around and cover camera locations as needed; there are three or four planned, depending on the final script.

Lights: There will be lights needed for two purposes, darkness in show one and supplemental in the rest of the day. The sunlight can be blinding, and the only way to get a decent picture against a bright background is to throw extra light on the subject to match. This implies rather different instruments. We will light in darkness to see what is going on but not to attempt to simulate a fully-lit environment. This calls for more but smaller lights. Daytime lights will be larger and we will have fewer of them. We also need work lights to illuminate the area while we are setting up.

Sets: We will be building shelters to provide relief for the scientists and argonauts from hot sun or pouring rain. These are likely to have translucent tops and be open on at least one side. The biology area is most critical in terms of keeping cool, because the specimens will only behave naturally in a narrow temperature range.

Power: We are self-contained, with two large generators.

Helicopter: The chopper will be outfitted with transmitters and receivers so they are as much in touch with the rest of the team as any other site. Specialized mics will allow people on the helicopter to speak on air without too much background noise. The aircraft and pilot are specially rated to fly with camera crews and in the dangerous conditions of the volcanic atmosphere. Ordinarily, flights like the ones we plan are not permitted, but because we are performing actual scientific research, we are able to qualify for special consideration.

Repeaters: Some distant signals (from Pu'u O'o, for instance) will be amplified by intermediate microwave relays.

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Gene Carl Feldman ( (301) 286-9428
Todd Carlo Viola, JASON Foundation for Education (