Coinciding with the release of his Magna Carta Holy Grail album, Jay Z performed the track “Picasso Baby” live for six hours at Pace Gallery in Chelsea in June. Gallery-goers and luminaries in the worlds of art and music streamed in to be part of the surprise art installation. Directed by Mark Romanek, the ten-minute “Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film” based on that performance is currently airing on HBO.
Jay Z at Pace Gallery. Photo by Kodaklens/HBO
ARRI CSC New Jersey supplied eight ARRI Alexa cameras and accessories to support DP Jody Lee Lipes and crew for the event. Unit production manager Sabrina Mossberg explains, “Shooting with seven cameras is a challenge in terms of keeping track of all the equipment and making sure your DP and director are getting what they need. Keeping all of this together and within the budget, figuring out the workflow—how to get the footage off the cameras while shooting live, downloading, transcoding—and a very tight post schedule made it a challenge.
“We lost power during the shoot and there were other hiccups, but nothing pertaining to the cameras,” Mossberg continues. “Everything from that perspective went smoothly and—knock on wood—we didn’t have any major missing pieces, no failures and we didn’t touch the backup body. We had a giant, solid camera crew on board that saved us.
“In the bigger picture, I’m definitely excited and proud to be a part of this. I’ve seen footage and it all looks really moving. It is more art than it is propaganda, which I think is cool, different and interesting.”