Production Notes

The video production of the 6th Degree –
“Master of the Brazen Serpent” is moving forward, on schedule.  In early and mid-September auditions were
held in Mansfield and in Canton.
Scottish Rite Masons from all Valleys in the NMJ were invited to attend,
with the knowledge that production would be done in the Canton and Cleveland


While the turnout for the auditions was not as XXX as we
had hoped/anticipated, Four Valleys from NE Ohio were represented:  Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown and, of course,
Canton.  Our cast director, Dave
Griffith, had everyone read multiple parts and worked with the actors to
explain our interpretation of the various characters and how they will be
portrayed in the video.  We found some
exciting “naturals” and a few “diamonds in the rough.”  By the time this edition of the Chronicle
comes out, many of the principal parts will have been cast and Dave will begin
rehearsals with the cast.


On the other side of the camera, things are also
progressing well.  Storyboards have been
completed, the video director, editor, director of photography, art director
lighting director and animators have been working diligently to formulate the
look and feel of the video and bring the Camp of Israel at the base of Mt. Hor
to life on a sound stage in NE Ohio.
Unlike the presentations at our Reunions, the video will not be shot in
front of canvas backdrops or our multimedia screen.  The actors will work in front of a huge
cyclorama which is painted green.
Similar to the technology that allows your local weathercaster to stand
in front of various computer maps and weather graphics, we will electronically
remove the green from the video and replace it with computer-generated desert
scenes and other animations relevant to the story.  It’s quite a technically ambitious project
but easier (and cheaper) than loading 20 Masons and 20 crew people in a plane
and flying to an actual desert for a week!


While the tech guys work their magic, the cast will have
the month of October to learn their lines and buff their performance to
Oscar-worthy caliber.  At the end of the
month and into early November, we will put the video director together with the
cast director at the rehearsals to work out the blocking – where the actors and
the camera need to be positioned to capture the shots we’re looking for.  In the middle of November, we will spend a
long weekend in the studio, doing it “for real” and recording the results.  A couple of weeks later, we will shoot and
record the first scene of the Degree in the Cathedral Room of the Canton


Then the hard part begins… the editor will cut the video
together – shot by shot, sorting through the various “takes” to select the one
where the actor’s performance and the camera shot are both the best they can
be.  Once that process is complete (10 –
14 days) the art director will get the rough cut version and begin to insert
the backgrounds and animations – again shot by shot.  This will take another 2-3 weeks.  Then it goes back to the editor for audio
“sweetening” where the audio levels are balanced out, background music and
voice-over tracks are added and sound effects inserted.  We’ve got a busy few months ahead of us!