Inside a cavernous soundstage in Toronto’s hip newmedia neighborhood, small pockets of casually clad but intent-looking people mill around. Some huddle together over a bank of video monitors, others hover near cameras on dollies. A few gopher-looking types scuttle back and forth, making adjustments and taking notes. But when director Wayne Moss’ voice rises above the din, everyone takes their positions, the chatter clearly over.
One doesn’t undertake the making of a Pilates training video lightly—let alone 52 new titles in 26 days over a six-week period. However, for this full-service global Pilates organization, such an undertaking is welcomed, especially since the end result is a new series of cutting-edge professional and consumer-based programming.
The couple at the helm of this massive project is Moira and Lindsay G. Merrithew, cofounders of Toronto-based STOTT PILATES. Over and beyond the six weeks of shooting, there were months of pre- and postproduction to make this new lineup what it is today.
“It all starts with Lindsay,” says Moira Merrithew, executive director of education and master instructor trainer, referring to her husband and business partner. “He’s the one who envisioned these new DVDs from the very beginning and literally put the development and creation of the new lineup into motion.” Lindsay is the executive producer of the company’s award-winning video library, which comprises 120 titles, the largest collection in the industry. The footage is “clear, concise and contemporary” as he puts it—a reflection of the methodology on which the curriculum is based.
On this late-winter morning, the whole team is gathered to shoot two videos, Pilates on the Green and excerpts from the V2 Max Plus™ Reformer Series. It may not sound like much, but completing two one-hour videos in a day is making good time. Moss, who used to work with Jim Henson and the Muppets, has it down to a science, and much of the crew has worked together before, so things flow well. Assistant director Lorraine Barton sits at the bank of monitors, using a timer to keep track of flubs so they can be edited after the fact.
“There have been enough flubs to fill a blooper reel,” jokes Moira. But watching the action, a guest sees only well-polished professionalism, the result of people knowing their stuff—and one another. Intros for each video are scripted and put into a teleprompter, though the cueing for each workout isn’t. Moira is a natural in front of the camera and has been doing the workout for so long that she has it down pat. This spontaneity gives a freshness that professional videos sometimes lack.