Short Documentary: Udderly Direct

A short documentary film about a raw milk dairy near Fresno, California that has been plagued by regulators. Filmed in early 2012, produced by

in association with the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking. Full discussion after the jump.

Udderly Direct: Cinematography by Maria Escala Ribas, sound by Wusi Liu, directed by

. Motion graphics sequences, titles and additional photography by Randy Hall. Footage at Organic Pastures Dairy was captured by both Canon 60D with Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, and Sony PMW-EX1. Interview shot on Canon 60D with the 18-135mm lens, as was the grocery store footage. Sound recorded on Marantz PMD-660 with a Røde NTG-2 shotgun/boompole, and for the interview added the Sennheiser G2 100 wireless lav.

This was a ridiculously long day. We started two hours before dawn to drive the 30 minutes from where we were staying in Clovis to the dairy, located west-southwest of Fresno. We arrived for the morning milking operation, much of which made it into the finished piece. Mery originally was tasked to operate the Sony EX-1, but she begged and begged and I was soft and let her use the Canon DSLR instead. The footage ended up being better because of it, but we were vexed by the limitation of the camera when we tried using it for the interview. So the interview got broken up into 10-12 minute chunks, making assembling the interview and transcribing a bit more painful.
An added bonus that didn’t make it into the piece was that Mery was invited by Mark McAfee (a licensed pilot) to go up in his plane and get aerial shots of the dairy and land surrounding. Mark even has a landing strip right there on his property! The footage was beautiful, but not needed for the film due to length and the direction the story seemed to want to be told. Again, Mery did a great job with the camera, and made a huge difference.The biggest problem we had was that we didn’t bring enough lights with us to properly light the interview, and so the light coming through the window behind Mark is really washed out, making it less professional than it could’ve been. That said, the interview and the story went through dozens of cuts to pare it down to the final film that you see here.
Randy Hall