Show and Tell!

by Walter Graff


I had some friends over recently. One needed to do something on my computer and came across my vast library of production shots I have from years of shooting. We ended up drinking beers and discussing the projects. While I can't offer you a beer, I thought it might be fun to look through some of the album.

This is a commercial I directed for The National Hockey League, one of two we shot that day. Both starred Matthew Perry. We shot in LA at the arena where the Kings play. That is the Stanley Cup. Actually there are two of them in existence but no one is supposed to know that.

This is a tabletop set-up I did for Grey Advertising. We were shooting a box of Tavist D for a commercial. It took forty five stands with lights and cutters to get a 4x3 inch box to look good for the commercial. Now we'd do it with graphics and no product at all.

That's me shooting high speed film at a Stanley Cup game. I helped create NHL Productions and one of the things we did was to shoot lots of high speed film so we had good slow motion to use for features on the players. The NFL has done that for years. Actually it was one of my mentors, Barry Winik who started the whole trend and created the look in sports shooting we take for granted today.

This is a still of a commercial I directed in Central Park. The idea was to have a car drive towards us at high speeds as if it was hitting the shadowy image in the photo above. We used eleven 12k HMIs that night along a quarter mile stretch of the park. You should have seen how pissed the folks who run around this roadway for exercise were earlier in the evening when we were setting up and they were trying to run through thousands of watts of light aimed at their faces.

That is me setting up a shot for the main title theme for the Ricki Lake Show. We own the Emmy for main title theme that year. It's one of three themes I did for the program, and one of seven I did in total. I also was part of the original staff of the show, as field producer.

As it says, me and Micky Mantle. What a legend. What a drunk! He did sign one of my light meters which I still have.

Me and a crew member during the lighting of the Disney parade in Times Square one summer. I had two locations in NY in a two hour live program but not enough crew so we had to rush back and forth between locations during the live program.

One of my crew members takes a reading of the NBA CHampionship trophy for the opening of the Championship show for NBC. Lighting mirrored trophies is a challenge. I think it took five hours to light this trophy which was mounted on a spinning turntable.

And you thought sunlight coming through a window was easy? This is what I had to do to make the light effect of a window work for us while shooting a commercial for a sports cards company. I forgot the name of the company.

Luckily we budgeted to replace this women's lawn after shooting a commercial for two days with cranes around her house in North Carolina for Starter Clothing.

Setting up for a special effect for a commercial with scale models and lots of blue screen.

Man that smoke can get to you! A commercial involving a band and LOTS of smoke. I remember it being hot too.

Prepping the cars for a Volvo Commercial.

It's sort of strange seeing myself work from another angle. Like an out of body experience.

Here we are setting up a jib shot for a commercial with Michael Jordan.

Here I am on location for NBA's Inside Stuff. I had some nice years as lighting director for the NBA. We were mostly in he studio, but on occasion we traveled around for play off games.

And here is a shot of the studio that I lit Inside Stuff from along with four other network programs. I used 750 fixtures to light seven sets. It sounds like a lot but I was always looking for more.

Here I am getting ready for a steadycam shot running around the reservoir in Central Park. I remember sleeping well that night.

Well that's it for now. I'll add more sometime soon. Thanks for watching!