Santana Row, or “The Row” as it’s known by locals, is San Jose’s answer to Rodeo drive. Lots of glitz, up-scale shopping, people watching and fine dining. Perhaps the one difference: this billion dollar project was plunked straight down in the middle of the famous Steven’s Creek auto-mall. To me, and others too, it seemed like an odd location, and doomed, like so many previous shopping projects before it here in San Jose, to fail.

The development was not without it’s controversy and hurdles. A debate raged in the city of San Jose for years about the location. Many wanted it downtown to help revitalization efforts. Others, especially restaurant and shop owners, did not want the increased competition.

In 2002, during construction, the largest building caught fire and quickly spread, eventually causing $120M in damage and delaying the project.

(read on below for a viewing guide with some things to look for in this video and some behind the scenes commentary)

Today, Santana Row is very successful. Parking is difficult, and the streets are almost always crowded, especially on weekends. The farmer’s market is always enjoyable. Being a car guy myself, I like the Ferrari club days they occasionally hold, with owners proudly parking their red Italian exotics along the Row, popping the hoods, sipping caps, and holding conversations with folks strolling by.

Camera gear

Recently we, humble operators of SSC, upgraded our modest camera gear. And I mean modest! So Santana Row was the perfect opportunity for us to try out this new stuff which includes a wireless mic to give Loni’s voice better clarity on location. You’ll note the camera work is still quite jerky and I’m still figuring new and hopefully better ways to string these segments together. We’re looking forward to shooting more travel and wine footage in Napa, Sonoma, Loreto Bay and other locations, including our mystery trip next week.

Behing the scenes

Here’s some fun little things to look for in this video:

  • 0:00 – opening titles are stretched and need to be redone since we’re shooting in 16:9 format now
  • 0:49 – Loni: “…taking steam…” another so-called ‘Loni-ism’ (metaphors that are slightly off). I should publish a book of them. One of my favorites: “Smoking the Kool-Aid”
  • 1:25 – camera pans to name of store Z Gallery, oops not there, need to look first next time!
  • 2:26 – bad transition effect on Blowfish Sushi sign down to Loni on street
  • 2:43 – Loni almost walks into a guy on the street; hey we need a closed set!
  • 3:28 – turned on fill light mid segment, sorry Loni just a little distracting
  • 4:22 – camera too close
  • 5:22 – Loni is doing her best FoodTV audition and impression… I won’t say who
  • 6:09 – Nice expression Loni!
  • 7:10 – Paparazzi like zoom shot
  • 7:32 – Over 7 minutes, our longest video to date

I’m amazed at how hard it is to get steady shots. Some day we may need to get a steadicam. Oh, and maybe a camera and sound crew too. Well we’re just having fun shooting these things and publishing them here… we’re never sure if people enjoy viewing them or not. Who knows?

We’re still working on better audio mixes so that the audio volumes are more consistent and easier to hear. I think for now we’ll shoot in standard definition. The problem with HD is that it takes more space and needs more computing horsepower to process, so the whole production slows down, but we’ll eventually make the switch. For now, though, we’re just publishing to the web so SD is fine I think.

So there you have it. A tune up video of sorts, getting ready with our new gear for some more travel and wine adventures. Thanks again everyone for reading, listening and viewing all our stufff here. We hope you enjoy it, have a laugh, and possibly learn a thing or two.

Clinton Stark
Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear