Scouting in Virginia City

We just got back from a scouting trip in the Sierra Nevada mountains and Virginia City, Nevada. We spent our first day up in the mountains, looking for pathways traversed by 19th century pioneers to and from San Francisco and the Comstock Lode.

The second day was spent finding the perfect light for filming Virginia City and its surrounding landscape. The soft light of the sun changes so fast over the Comstock mining town, which sits unprotected against the barren Mount Davidson, that one must be in the right place at the right time to capture it in ideal lighting conditions.

Director of Photography Lazlo Zsigmond and I spent the afternoon in a Comstock mine, led through narrow spaces by mine owner Chris Kiechler.

We took pages of technical and logistical notes for upcoming filming–which camera to use? how many lights? what size crew?

On the third day we met with future interviewee Ronald James, an authority on Virginia City history, who helped us find interiors for planned upcoming interviews.

We located at least three excellent locations to choose from. We also checked out a couple of old Comstock mills. Mills were essential to the mining process: huge equipment-filled warehouses where ore was crushed to pieces, in order to extract silver and gold from rock and earth.

We returned from Comstock territory, site of historical silver bonanzas, excited about the prospect of filming there in the near future. This scouting trip was made possible thanks in part to a grant from the Nevada Humanities.

Published in: on June 11, 2012 at 7:26 am  Leave a Comment