It's Sunday and today is the first day of recording of Het Perfecte Plaatje in the old paper factory in Nijmegen. In the parking lot I am greeted with the tip: "Don't show who you are or that you are a guest jury member, because then they will immediately rush over to you, grab a cup of coffee and pretend you are part of the production team."
"You will see that they will immediately start searching on their cell phone and come to you after your introduction has been recorded, they want to know everything about you.".
Inside, I immediately put my camera bag in a corner and walk to the coffee corner. The crew immediately acts as if I have been there for years and the celebrities don't notice anything. I immediately get a cup of coffee.
I look around inconspicuously. My problem is that I almost never recognize celebrities. And I didn't receive any advance information about who is participating, which of course makes it extra fun. Then I immediately recognize French German from a performance I once saw. I also immediately recognized Loes Haverkort and Anna Drijver, from Wie is de Mol?
Waldemar Toornstra and Henry Schut also immediately look familiar to me. Then Sergio Vyent's generous smile passes by and I recognize him immediately. Sylvia Geersen makes me think for a long time and I had never seen Niek Roozen. And Quinty Misiedjan looks very familiar to me.... I have to then and then... yes... from the Smartest Person.
Everyone is super friendly, production, sound, camera crew, everyone comes up to me and has a chat. I really feel at home straight away. The crew is very professional and everyone knows exactly what needs to be done.
I am subtly taken to the make-up. Everything is running smoothly there too. Face in powder, finish everything well and immediately pick out a shirt. I brought a number of shirts with me, but almost everything has a large logo on it, of course you don't take that into account. It will be the green one with a very small logo, it immediately matches the shoot we are going to do: a real XPlode color powder photo shoot.
On the first set I am positioned tactically between the cameras. I watch with a huge smile on my face. I have to pinch myself. This is so much fun and we haven't even started yet.
The explanation of the previous shoot is given first by Tijl and the tension can be read from the faces. They are really into it and certainly don't want to come last.
There are mysterious balloons hanging behind Tijl with a symbol underneath. The celebrities have no idea what the next shoot will be, but of course I do.
After the assessment, Tijl announces the next shoot. Symbolically, Tijl blows powder off his card. The tension is rising a bit in my head, it's really going to happen. I'm keeping a close eye on the director.
Then Tijl announces me and I walk forward and stand next to him. It's awkward but I enjoy every moment. The candidates may pop a balloon one by one. The symbol is a gymnastics event.
There is some hilarity because no one knows exactly the names of Pegasus, for example, and the pommel horse is a word that Tijl has never heard. Fortunately, my daughter Robine does gymnastics at a high level and I can help with the names. This needs to be added to the recording.
When the balloon pops, the color with which the celebrities will shoot emerges and the device is shown on the card. As soon as these recordings are finished, the celebrities grab their phones and Google works overtime on Marcello Geerts and color powder photography.
When I look back I immediately see the production in action. Like a well-oiled machine, one set is built up and the next is built up. Great to see how everyone is attuned to each other and everything runs so professionally.
The celebrities now walk towards me as a group, hands are shaken and questions are immediately fired. The cell phones are immediately full of my photos and videos.
The set for the explanation about the shoot has now been set up, cameras are ready and after a cup of coffee we can get started. My first real performance where I can really do my thing: explain with passion and enthusiasm how to take wonderfully creative photos with powder.
Using my own photos with models Gioya and Danique, 2 great dancers, I show how powder and light work together for that one amazing photo they have to take.
Waldemar laughs, you explain it very well and easily, but I think so much can go wrong, he shouts. I try to reassure him and the group. But I know that under time pressure everything can really go wrong.
After this recording I can answer some additional questions behind the scenes. What worries me a bit is that some have a much more difficult gymnastics component than others.
I keep insisting on the light, this will really make a difference in the end result. And I know how sensitive William Rutte is to this and how he can really get excited about good light that can fall on a model. Light makes or breaks the photo.
The equipment for the first 3 photographers has now been built at breakneck speed. I walk to Anna's set and she immediately has a vision and a plan. I give some tips about the light setup and Anne takes some test shots. This is an important tip that I have given, first practice with your model and let the model indicate what feels natural and what he/she can/cannot do in terms of body and movement.
Then I immediately get ready for the next set. Everyone needs me at the same time and so I run from one set to the other. The production employees wear earphones and know exactly when I am where I am needed. I give tips and regularly ask how things are going. I can walk right into the picture, but I have no idea whether they will leave that in in the final broadcast.
It all happens very quickly, but I still have the chance to enjoy every moment.
Sylvia Geersen is in a beautiful spot in the old paper factory and has a good plan.
Niek Roozen is very relaxed and you notice that on his set and also in his photos. He does not allow himself to be fooled or pressured by time. This really makes the photos better.
Loes Haverkort is having a hard time. She also has a difficult device and time is ticking. Unfortunately, she is more affected by the time pressure. When I arrive at Loes, Tijl is busy with the powder. His hand is completely green. I say: "Where has your hand been?" Hilarity of course and I immediately got the powder in my hands under the motto "you are the expert with powder here".
I didn't see Frans Duijts at work in all the commotion and speed, but he returns from his shoot with a big smile on his face. He is also very serious and really wants to win.
Quinty Misiedjan is upstairs and is very happy with her location. She is fiddling around with the softboxes a bit, but when she gets hold of it she really goes wild.
When I take a look at his set with Henry Schut just before his shoot, I immediately see a problem. He wants to make the model do a cartwheel on the pegasus. But in my mind I immediately see the photo with the face turned to the wrong side, taken against the back of her head. I ask Henry to check with the model which hand she puts down first and where she is looking.
It indeed turns out to be a problem, because she demonstrates it and we immediately see that she lands with the back of her head towards the camera. Henry is able to ask production just in time to turn the entire set over.
Waldemar Torenstra has a cool idea but needs a ladder. It's technically difficult, but if it works it's super cool.
But unfortunately I have to move on to Sergio Vyent, because he is having a tough time. And that sucks. It really is just a big teddy bear and you give him a good photo. But he has a very difficult device, the mushroom that the gymnast can only flank on. Even I don't know a magic solution to solve everything for him.
But he continues to the bitter end, the forgivable clock that really does not stop.
After the recordings I see radiant faces with red, blue, green and all other colors. No one has been spared.
A perfect day with a real golden edge for me.