In case you missed the ad during the Super Bowl, or when we posted it last week, or you live under a rock, here you go. You can watch it here!
Scheduling production was a pinch of necessity and a sprinkle of insanity both mixed together with a pretty little bow on top. We were supposed to start shooting this ad on November 6th. We planned it around how unpredictable the weather is in West Texas. We needed the locations to be not-dead and we needed the weather to be reasonably warm. It was a pretty large gamble for November. But, I digress. Starting principle photography on the 6th was insanity. Why? Well, this goes back a few days. November 4th, Jacob, Massiel, and I had flown into Lubbock after spending 7 hard days in Las Vegas for the SEMA Show (some of the days were around 22 hours long), and here we were, about to dive into some of the most intensive commercial work we’ve ever done, and we were TIRED. Actually, tired is an understatement. We were exhausted; physically and mentally. We literally did not know if we would be able to pull this off, but, we had no choice. Too many moving parts to reschedule.
Once we arrived at the ranch, we got Lindsey set up in the ranch house and got the ATV ready to move down to the location. At this point, we were terribly concerned that we were going to have to make a half-dozen trips from the trailer to the location. However, our fearless Dansby decided to attempt to traverse the terrain in his pickup and see if we could save ourselves some time. Much to our liking, it was no trouble at all. We were able to move everything to the location in a single trip. This also made moving Lindsey, Chris, and Ryker from makeup to location a much simpler task. .
Once we got our tent set up. We unloaded lenses and camera gear underneath and prepped cameras. That took a little bit longer than we anticipated, given that we were working with some gear we weren’t terribly familiar with. However, we got it done and it was time to set the first scene.
Lighting the Scene
Video production is largely a game of compromise and problem solving. This commercial shoot was no different. What do I mean? Well, when it came down to it, we were shooting 100% exterior in a remote location with no electricity. So, we were faced with two major problems:
- We didn’t have lights that would combat the sun.
- Even if we had the lights, we couldn’t have powered them.
What did we do? We harnessed the power of the sun! (read that in your head with the most ominous voice you can imagine). But, seriously, that’s what we had to do. It was a rather simple setup. Given the location of the wall where the cave was going to be and the narrow window of landscape that we could use to look like caveman times, we couldn’t place the talent where they would be backlit by the sun. As a matter of fact the sun was beating straight down on them, which generally makes an image look rather unappealing. However, thanks to the community that Shane Hurlbut, ASC has provided for us, this was something we were ready to tackle. The first thing we did was fly our 8’x8’ diffusion between the cavemen and the sun. This greatly softened the light that was hitting them. (For you DOP nerds, we used a half-soft frost).
The immediate result was really good, considering what we had available. However, it wasn’t everything we needed. We needed a good backlight to separate our cavemen out from the background. So, again, using the sun to our advantage, we used a couple of mirror boards, rigged to c-stands, to blast undiffused sunlight onto our cavemen.
The lighting worked so well that we were asked if we had actually green screened the shots. Nope, it was all natural. (We did use the green screen for one of the shots, but, not to achieve a landscape or a particular look).
Using these assets, we were able to get the entire shoot done in a single day. I had scheduled us for 2 days, but, everything went so smoothly that we were able to reallocate one of those days into post production, which worked out to our advantage.
At the end of the day, we got everything broken down and headed back to Lubbock after some really good cheeseburgers and onion rings.
In part 3, I’m going to discuss the post production parts of this particular television commercial. We hope that you have enjoyed this post and if you have any questions or would like to talk to us about our services, head on over to the contact page and drop us a line!