Group shot in front of a big bulldozer

Big Wheels

When we shot a video for the California Department of Industrial Relations, Mining and Tunneling unit, we entered a land of the giants. Trucks with 10-foot diameter wheels. Bulldozers with 14-foot blades. It was more fun than we’ve had since kindergarten sandbox days. And it was reassuring that everyone on-site was very safety conscious. We were told that the big dump trucks, full of gravel, really can’t stop and if your car gets in the way, those big wheels would roll right over it. So our hosts at the quarry kept a close eye on us.

The Project

We produced two training videos; one on the subject of low voltage safety, the other explaining miners’ rights and responsibilities. Unfortunately, both programs were written twenty years ago, we were only updating the visual elements. I’m sure we could have done a better job with the narration. In fact, even though it wasn’t in the budget, we tweaked the script a little bit to smooth out the most awkward passages. The ironic thing was that while we had to follow the awkward, didactic script, the client was really hoping we could make the program look and feel like Discovery Channel’s Gold Rush. We did what we could with the graphics and with the tone of the narrator’s voice.

The shoot took place in Rialto, California over a period of four days. We had a 2-person crew: I directed, Daniel Gamburg was behind camera and flew the drone.

The Big Finish

The final deliverable was a DVD, so just for fun I mixed the sound in full 5.1-channel surround. The miners will never have a surround sound system in their training room, but I sure enjoyed listening to it that way in the edit suite. And I’m staying in practice with this technology should we ever have a project where surround sound will be appreciated.

Both programs were released with English and with Spanish narration. You can see them here:

Low Voltage Safety English
Low Voltage Safety Spanish
Miners’ Rights and Responsibilities English
Miners’ Rights and Responsibilities Spanish

July 2019 Update:

The Colorado School of Mines asked our client for permission to use the Miners’ Rights and Responsibilities program as a part of their curriculum. The client is thrilled because in their business, the Colorado School of Mines is the topmost institution. It’s a great honor!