Here are some additional behind-the-scenes photos of the Human Spark nighttime campfire shoot with archaeologist Curtis Marean.
The Setting The Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction, Arizona provided the location for our nighttime shoot. The setting was breathtaking – but completely extraneous for our campfire shoot! Photo by Larry Engel
A Beautiful Backdrop We took advantage of the beautiful backdrop to film Alan Alda’s introductory video to welcome viewers to this Web site. We couldn’t let all that desert scenery go to waste!
Photo by Maggie Villiger
Fire Pit Here’s the spot where we will build the fire for Alan and Curtis to gather around. Photo by Larry Engel
Strategy Session Director Larry Engel (left) and sound recordist John Garrett (center) discuss particulars of the upcoming shoot with Alan. Photo by Maggie Villiger
Pizza for Dinner It’s nonstop glamour on “Human Spark” shoots…. What, you were expecting Hollywood-style craft services for dinner, not lukewarm pizzas? Photo by Maggie Villiger
Framing the Discussion Producer Graham Chedd gives Curtis some last minute reminders about which parts of his research the conversation should highlight. See our faux moon in the background? Photo by Maggie Villiger
Jimmy Jib For this shot, Larry mounted the camera on a jimmy jib crane to get a smooth movement from the fire up to Curtis and Alan. Photo by Maggie Villiger
Working the Camera Here’s the opposite view of the jimmy jib setup. Photo by Maggie Villiger
Mic Check Sound AND picture both must be of the highest quality. John makes sure Alan’s hidden mic will pick up the conversation, despite his being bundled up to fend off the desert night chill. Photo by Maggie Villiger
A Smooth Pan For this shot, Larry and the camera are pushed slowly and smoothly along dolly tracks on the ground to get a nice steady pan of the conversation, with the fire in the foreground. Photo by Maggie Villiger
Getting Every Angle Curtis and Alan stay put for the duration of their talk, but the camera – and the rest of the crew – move around relative to them so that we can record a variety of angles. Having a variety of shots helps when we get back to the editing suite. Photo by Maggie Villiger
By the Light of the "Moon" With the fire burning bright – assisted by our artificial firelight and moonshine – Curtis and Alan had a great conversation. Photo by Larry Engel
Campfire Close-up Getting some extra shots of the fire…. The goal is also to record some great fire pops and crackles – without melting the microphone! Photo by Maggie Villiger
Packing Up A glimpse of the truckload of gear that went into lighting this night scene. Photo by Larry Engel
In a three-part series originally brodcast on PBS in January 2010, Alan Alda takes this question personally, visiting with dozens of scientists on three continents -- even undergoing an examination of his own brain. » Learn More
Major funding for The Human Spark is provided by the National Science Foundation, and by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the John Templeton Foundation, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, and The Winston Foundation.