SHOOTING BIG & RICH
Updated: Jan 22, 2020
Hey Friends, David Abbott here telling you about my experience shooting Big & Rich on the series "THE SONG". I'm the director of photography of the series and I shoot all the stills:) It's a blast working with this incredible crew and all these inconic artists.
I’ve shot Big Kenny & John Rich a few times over the years, so it was great to have them on set. I actually moved to Nashville at the same time as Big Kenny and we became true friends over 20 years ago. I’ve enjoyed watching him and John build a career over the years. This was also a fun day of production because the executive producer/creator of this entire TV series, Marc Oswald has also been Big & Rich’s manager since the beginning of their career together. We really wanted to make sure this one was special because these guys are true family. Adding to the relationships, our director
Trey Fanjoy has also shot a few music videos of these guys. B&R also started a group called “The Music Mafia” and one of our show host’s, Damien Horne was a core part of that group. Finally, the lead hair and makeup stylist on this series is Mandy Burnett and she has been working with B&R for years. We all wanted to make this episode off the chart because these guys are so close to us all.
There was an excitement in the air when they arrived on set. We had great weather and decided to shoot the artist interviews first this time. I was able to use the sunshine instead of my 4k as the backlight, so I pushed the 4k through a 12x12 silk and matched the sunlight with all the 2k’s. These guys are really incredible in front of a camera. I have always loved shooting them because they bring their unique style, every time. As expected, they gave us an entertaining and informative interview.
It’s a challenge to shoot artist’s with hats, especially cowboy hats. So I brought my hat on this day to prep for John Rich and had my awesome 1st camera assistant, Andy Burchett stand in for me.... I used a low angle strobe in a body box, two back edge strips and my huge 59” Zeppelin para light modifier, double baffled with an alien bee 1600w strobe for the key light. This is one of my favorite set-ups. I knew shooting Big & Rich will be fast and furious and I wouldn’t have much time to get it done. When they got to the photo studio, I was ready. It was good for me to have had so much experience shooting these guys so we could just get straight to work. They always bring their A-game and they expect you to bring yours too. When they came in, John said he wanted some rock and roll, so I cranked “Back in Black” and started shooting. I just set a fast shutter speed and started popping images while they do what they do. It was a blast! It was also extra fun for me because there was a moment when I thought about how cool it was to be able to do a shoot like this knowing these guys since way before they became famous.
When we wrapped the photo session, they ate a gourmet lunch from on of Nashville’s top chefs, then headed down to the barn where Trey Fanjoy worked her magic on capturing these killer, over the top performances. They played smash hits, “Save A Horse Ride a Cowboy”, “Coming To Your City” and “8th of November”.
One thing I love about B&R and the music they make is the way they can go from full blown party mode to an emotional lyric such as "8th of November". Thier concert is an experience and they make you feel a part of it.
Another great addition on this day was the one and only Hick Hop master, Cowboy Troy! He is a true pioneer and continues blazing a trail with his unique style of rap, hip hop and country music. I got this cool shot of him waiting to take the stage on “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy”. I have always loved Cowboy Troy and it was funny to findout he recently moved to my home town in Texas.
It was a great day of production. The band was hot and the guys rocked it!!! Shout out to Big Kenny, John Rich and Cowboy Troy for sharing your talent with us!
Thanks for reading and stay in touch.
Me pictured below with Big Kenny just after we wrapped prodcution:)
~till next time, David "Doc" Abbott