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  • DAVID "Doc" ABBOTT

Shooting ceelo green

Updated: Jan 6

Hey freinds, I am the Director of Photography and Still Photographer of the TV series called "THE SONG". It's an incredible music centric show featuring iconic artists and songwriters talking about the songs that made them famous, then performing the song(s). The first episode features Gnarls Barkley's smash hit "CRAZY".

In addition to shooting the interviews and promo bumpers, I did a photo shoot of each artist. We use the photos throughtout the show as transitional elements. I have been shooting artist most of my career. This shoot was a super fast paced production and I was forced to really knock it out without time to tweek. The CeeLo Green episode was the first day of production. It was raining most of the day and to add to our production hurdles, CeeLo and his band informed us on the day they needed three hours to rehearse a new version of "Crazy". Three hours on a shoot day is a major chunk out of our produciton time and it put us in a serious rush with the interviews and photo shoot. Good for us, I was working with a stellar crew who made it work and Ceelo is an absolute pro. When the red light came on, CeeLo brought his A-game. He really delivered a stellar interview. For all my production peeps, I used 3 2K's, one 4k, 2 quazar tubes and a broncolor 1600w para dish to shoot the interveiws. We shot them outside in a zen-like area they call the Song Garden.

The director of this show is the incredible, award winning Trey Fanjoy. She really wanted the interviews to be "wrapped in light", so that's eactly what I did. It was a true test to keep it consistant throughout the produciton because the weather was different and the sun was in a different place every time we shot. But the interviews all turned out amazing. Working with Trey was an absolute blast. She's one of the best music video directors in the world and we go way back. She has worked with a LONG list of high profile artist such as Miranda Lambert, Reba, Steven Tyler, Keith Urban, Kid Rock and Garth! She has a stellar eye for visual dynamics. Looking forward to more days on set with her!


For the promo bumpers and the photos of CeeLo, I wanted to give this backdrop a special creative look. His segment will also be used as the "best-of" episode at the end of the season. Here's a shot of me working with him in the photo studio. Pictured with CeeLo are the incredible show host's, Krista Marie and Damien Horne. They are two of the coolest people I know. In addition to being the host, they are also a dynamic artist duo called New North. Can't wait for the world to know their music!

Here's a quick BTS look at the studio set:


I shot all my stills with a Canon 5dSR and Cine Prime Lenses. Here I put 2k Tungston lights behind each side of this particle board, which I painted black and positioned behind CeeLo at an angle. We hazzed the room so the light rays would backlight him, then I used a 42" porcelain beauty dish with 216 white soft paper diffusion on the key light . Adding an eyekick, I brought in a halo ringlight above and a white clamshell bounce below. I literally only had a few minutes on this day to get high quaity stills. Our crew worked fast to make it happen. Once we wrapped the photo session, we all got ready for the performance.


The location of this shoot was a key element and positioned the show on the rolling hillside of TGL farms. Perfectly named The Good Life Farm, we turned their beautiful barn into a performance venue. Once we got to the performance, I was mezmerized by the band.


They had such a creative vibe and were all so wonderful. Aside for their stylish looks, this band was so talented. The extra rehearsal time turned out to be worth it in the end. We were blessed to capture this uniquely stylized rendition of their hit song "Crazy".

I love it when an artist checks in with my camera and gives me some intimate looks along the way. CeeLo was really most comfortable in front of the mic. After learning how he wrote his mega-hit "Forget You" with Bruno Mars, it was fun to shoot images as he sang that one. The night ended with CeeLo giving me the image below. He said his artistic goals are to continue writing and performing forever. I hope he continues on his artistic path!



We all enjoyed having CeeLo and his team on set. It was a stellar begining to the production series of "THE SONG". This series was produced by Trey and two of the most incredible EP's in the business... Marc Oswald and Cary Glotzer. The Ceelo episode air tonight! It's syndicated, so you can go to www.thesong.tv to find out what station and time it will air in your area. It's on Fox here in the Nashville! Thanks for reading... more to come.


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