HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD!
August 10, 2007 by Kathi Jacobs
In June 2007 Wayne and I set out for sunny California, again accompanied by our 15 year old daughter. Sarah, over the past three years, has proved to be an intrepid traveler and an invaluable production assistant in trips to Italy, Hawaii, and Florida. Not only is she a great help during our location shoots, but she is learning how to help her dad in the post process of editing our DVDs.
This trip included plans for not only a treadmill virtual walk filmed in High Definition, but also another two DVDs in our Virtual Jog Series - a new project involving faster-paced virtual experiences which many of our clients have asked us to produce.
The Coldwater Canyon Trail, up in the Hollywood Hills, is a beautiful area for walking. After shooting for about 45 minutes in mid-afternoon, we decided that the summer heat high up in the canyons was not the best environment in which to be working. We made the decision to take a break, grab an early dinner of salads and fruit - okay, there were some cookies involved too, if memory serves! - and then tackle the remainder of the walk later that afternoon.
Some of you no doubt are familiar with that great scene at the beginning of "The Andy Griffith Show" when Andy and Opie (the now famous director, Ron Howard) are walking on the dirt road down to the fishing hole. Well, having lived all of my adult life in North Carolina - not too far from Mt. Airy and the mythical Mayberry - I never realized until this trip that the opening credits of this well-loved television show were filmed up in the Hollywood Hills. The "real" location of that Mayberry fishin' hole is Franklin Canyon, a truly lovely spot just off Mulholland Drive.
Wanting to share the experience of that walk with you, Wayne and I decided to end the Coldwater Canyon Walk with the Franklin Canyon walk, so we filmed that segment on a different day but in the early evening just before the park closed. It was a quiet, peaceful place and we could almost hear someone whistling in the distance.
And then it was time to think about how we wanted to film the posh, sophisticated, glittery side of Hollywood. We felt that this was a situation where our new Virtual Jog or Bike Ride would be perfect. We filmed sequences on several different occasions in the Hollywood Hills and also up on Mulholland Drive. For privacy and security reasons we can't tell you the names of the celebrities whose homes we passed during this phase of filming, but there were many. The winding roads of the Hollywood Hills were often flanked by beautifully manicured lawns and every type of architecture imaginable. As we filmed, we were fascinated with the breathtaking views and amazed that these multimillion dollar hideaways could ever have been constructed on such daring ridges and overlooks.
We filmed the third of our Hollywood Virtual Jogs and Bike Rides in the residential section of Beverly Hills. You know the line, "...swimming pools, movie stars" - yes, certainly that, and more! We've traveled quite a bit since forming VITA Digital several years ago, but I must admit that we all were open-mouthed at the incredible lawns, landscaping, luxury cars, palm trees, Mediterranean gardens, and houses along Beverly Drive, Rodeo Drive, Rexford Drive, etc. It was a delightful feast for the eye and an inspiration to come home and start upgrading our own garden spots!
We did get a chance to attend the annual Cine Gear Expo in Los Angeles where all types of new video and film equipment were on display. And at the Expo the highlight of the entire trip, for Wayne at least, occurred. Wayne had the opportunity to meet and talk with Garrett Brown, the inventor of the Steadicam. When Wayne introduced himself, Garrett responded, "Yes, I think I've heard of you." What a kick!
Our California filming trip was a big success and we look forward to soon having those three DVDs available.