There is nothing like a really good content gathering mission to make your day. In this case the mission was going to be fast and for an Air Force Vice Wing Commander.
I first ran into Colonel Matthew Fritz while filming the Best of the West Awards out at Eastern Washington University’s Roos Field. He was one of the interviewees that we had the opportunity to sit and chat with. Then I ran into him again at the Best of the West Awards banquet at Northern Quest Casino along with a contingent of personnel from Fairchild.
His office contacted me to film his final flight out at Fairchild Air Force Base and you could say I was elated. We had wanted to do this last year with outgoing Wing Commander Colonel Brian McDaniel(see article here) before his departure, but we didn’t have enough time setup to actually on the actual flight.
As I put together my pre-production notes and desired shot list prior to filming, it became apparent that I would need some assistance, so I enlisted cameraman and former Air Force videographer Steve Plaisance. We filmed with three different cameras including a Go Pro Hero on a gimbal. Photo stills were captured using a Nikon D750 and iPhone.
It was quite the content gathering mission and picture perfect day with interviews and b roll prior to take off. First we got to interview Colonel Fritz during his pre-flight briefing. Then we traveled out to the tarmac and filmed more pre-flight footage around the aircraft. Lastly, we ended up in the cockpit just before take off.
There’s nothing like being in the cockpit, any cockpit. All the gauges, dials, buttons, and electronics that help this 50-plus year old aircraft get off the ground and stay in the air. I have always enjoyed visiting the cockpit of an aircraft, and every time it brings back fond child hood memories of talking to pilots in the 707’s, 747’s and 727’s.
West Plains Chamber board members Steve Wolf(Sunshine Disposal) and Steve Hauschild (BECU) were on hand for this particular content gathering mission to host and interview. As you can see they had a great time.
We ended up producing a handful of videos including one of my “Member Moment” short videos for the West Plains Chamber along with a 60 second promo for the Inland Skyfest airshow. Plus, I produced an extended version for the Colonel that had some bloopers in it along with a seven minute documentary of the days events leading up to his last flight.
It was a pleasure and honor to film him up to his last flight. Even though we didn’t get the opportunity to fly, the experience was one I will never forget. Thank you for serving our country Colonel Fritz, it was an honor to film all the action and your last ride in the KC-135.