Whatever, whenever and wherever, is the motto of JB5 Productions, and they certainly live up to their name. They are a production service company located in Los Angeles, who have undertaken such a broad spectrum of productions over the years that clients and international agencies come back time and again to work with them and place their productions in JB5’s more than capable hands. We spoke to John Babor, founder of the company to find our more about the diversity of their work.
Production involves having everything under control and to react, as fast as you can when an unexpected situation occurs. How do you manage to have it all under control and keep your clients satisfied?
John Babor: Nothing can prepare you more than experience. You take the years of experience in production, surround yourself with a crew that has experience and in the end everyone is prepared and there are no surprises.
Since JB5 productions started, many technologies have changed within production. How has your company updated itself to keep offering the best services to your clients?
John Babor: I have a degree in photography which I believe helps me to understand the needs of the photographers and DP’s that we work with. I stay informed on equipment advances with cameras and lighting for myself as well as my business. We have been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit with our work so we are able to see the advances that others have made around the country and world in regards to production and we bring that back to JB5.
Could you share with us one of the biggest challenges JB5 productions had to face?
John Babor: The biggest Challenge that I have faced to date was being stranded on a glacier in Alaska for 5 days. I produced a job for a truck company several years ago and we needed snow in June. The client flew everyone up to Anchorage, Alaska to photograph background plates with snow and mountains. The plan was to helicopter a dozen crew and agency to this glacier north of Anchorage for a day of photography. It was June and in the “land of the midnight sun” the photographer thought it would be a good idea for himself, the 1st assistant our location guide and myself to spend the night on the glacier after a full day of shooting, everyone else was flown back to Anchorage.
We were outfitted with two man tents and stayed up most of the night photographing the changing light. (The sun basically hits the horizon and moves across until morning). The next morning zero degree temperatures, 100 mph winds and 5 feet of snow fell burying us in our tents and making a pick-up impossible. It was a total whiteout, we survived on splitting a TV dinner 4 ways, an orange 4 ways and a beer 4 ways each day we were stranded. Each day passed by staring at the glow of the yellow tent and by listening to the howling wind outside.
Finally on the fifth day we received word on our radio that help was on its way. The helicopter landed and the 4 of us jumped in and left all the equipment behind to be picked up at a later time. We flew into Anchorage, grabbed some dinner and left for New York on a red eye flight that night to finish the shoot.
Our PP team enjoyed looking at your behind the scenes section on your web page. Your team seems to really enjoy working on the projects. How important is your team in order to be successful?
John Babor: The team is everything. You have to surround yourself with good people with great personalities. If you enjoy your work it shows, I like to think that all of the many stylists, assistants, digital techs, grips and motor home drivers we have worked with enjoy their work.
What has been the most inspiring project that your company has worked on?
John Babor: Just a couple of months ago I was hired to produce a job in Iceland for a great photographer from Seattle. The job was to photograph wild horses and beautiful landscapes. There were four of us in an oversized Land Rover Defender traversing Iceland for a week. Every turn we took was amazing. All I can say is everyone should visit Iceland.
Why is being a Production Paradise member important for JB5 productions?
John Babor: Production Paradise narrows the search for potential clients by giving them information to reach almost every facet of Photo and Film Production around the world. It is another “tool” that I use to stay current and up to date.
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