In case the clues from my last post didn’t tip you off, the photo shoot I attended yesterday was indeed for THE VAMPIRE DIARIES.
The day-long shoot took place at Milk Studios in Hollywood. The giant sound stage had been transformed into a breathtaking mystical world. As I explored the otherworldly surroundings, I met Jon Nobel, the artist who designed and shaped the set. Jon described the five-day process of building the detailed environment. Every element had been handcrafted to actualize the concept presented to Jon by The CW creative team.
Jon’s hard work evidently paid off because the set looked incredible. Notwithstanding the camera crew, I felt as though I had wandered into a fantastical new realm.
I then met Emma Trask, the stylist for the shoot, and got a peek inside the massive wardrobe room. Walking through the room was fun, if not a little torturous. It was like walking through a pet store – I oohed and aahed over every piece, knowing that I could look but not touch and that at the end of the day, none of them were coming home with me.
The space was packed with racks of ornate dresses, structured suits, and some seriously badass leather jackets. Lining the ground surrounding the racks were rows upon rows of high-heeled shoes for Nina (who plays Elena on the show) and rugged boots for Ian (Damon Salvatore), Paul (Stefan Salvatore), and Joseph (Klaus). A long thin table against the front wall was covered with gorgeous jewelry.
Emma explained that every scene at a photo shoot requires a different “look” for each character. The day’s shoot consisted of five different scenes. Emma always prepares several potential pieces for each look to give the photographer and creative director options.
The styling of the shoot was stunning. Individually, Nina, Ian, Paul, and Joseph looked striking and as an ensemble they shined.
While the photographer directed the cast on set, I watched the cameramen in action.
The photo-shoot consisted of both still photography and motion film work. The motion footage was shot with an ALEXA Digital Camera attached to a camera crane. The cameramen were able to control the height and movement of the crane to attain steady motion and a range of shots.
The photographer for the shoot happened to be the same photographer I had observed at the HART OF DIXIE shoot. Not to demean the alligator’s modeling skills, but ill-tempered reptiles don’t take direction very well. THE VAMPIRE DIARIES cast, on the other hand, was much more cooperative. The photographer was able to direct the actors and communicate with them to achieve his vision. It was awesome to watch his direction lead to a story unfold with each shot.
Whereas avoiding bloodshed was of paramount concern at the alligator photo-shoot, blood-red props like the melted candles in these silver candelabra were incorporated in various capacities throughout the VD set.
The overall vibe of the shoot had a sense of ethereal romance.
Although I only arrived at the studio midday (just in time for the delicious lunch break), the cast and crew had been working since 5:30 that morning. By 8:00 at night, I was exhausted. The fact that the cast and crew were still able to function through such a long work day astounded me, but I was told that they regularly work 14-16 hour days on set.
Not accustomed to such long hours, I said my goodbyes and made my way home. Walking outside, out of the studio’s artificially-lit “night sky”, I found the LA sun just setting. It was a fittingly surreal ending to the day.
I would love to show you TVD fans reading this some behind-the-scenes photos of the cast on-set but alas I have been sworn to utter secrecy. However, I can assure you the images from the shoot are definitely worth the wait. Be sure to look for the campaign launch of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES around the Season Three premiere on Thursday, September 15.
- Eva Gurfein