Today on the podcast we are looking at a monster of a commercial with lots of issues to tackle and problems to solve.  A spot like this is why cinematography is such a fun career.  

Always new challenges to overcome and get better.  

Enjoy the behind the scenes look!

Patreon Podcast: Ice Cream You Scream

On the Patreon Podcast this week we change things up again.  I've gotten a few supporters asking to do a Natasha Braier ASC ADF piece and so I thought I'd find some of her recent work and showcase that.  

I cam across this commercial and wanted to break it down because it isn't the "style" I would immediately think of when I thought of Natasha and her feature work.

Lots to unpack and fun to dive in and break down the spot.

You can find this week's Patreon content by clicking the link below:

The Wandering DP Patreon Group

If you are a fan of the podcast and want more video content the patreon group is the place to be.  Each and every week I release an exclusive podcast, video, or live stream just for the Patreon members.

Patreon members also get access to the Private Facebook community for the show.  The podcast couldn't exist without the Patreon support and I do my best to take care of the supporters.

The Wet Down: The Spot

Camera Gear:

Check out the gear I use on all of my commercial shoots by clicking the link below:

Wandering DP Commercial Cinematography Gear

This was pre-Mini LF days so we shot on the regular mini to take advantage of the weight savings paired with a set of Zeiss Supreme Primes.

We shot Prores 4444XQ, 3.2k, 800 ISO, 25 fps, 180 degree shutter.  The motion control was a 29mm.

The Boards & the Challenges

The Location - The Street that Never Ends

This success of this spot weighed heavily in finding a location that ticked as many boxes as possible.  In the end the production did a great job of tracking down a street that was:

1. Long Enough

2. Ended in a T so you could still see power on in the BG.

3. Was small enough they could actually shut it down for a night.

4. Had a house at one end that would allow us to film inside it.

5. Had enough off shoots on either side to fit the base of all the cherry pickers.

6. Looked halfway decent.

7. Had exposed power lines and a tree nearby that could actually drop a branch that size.

The Top Down View:

The Spot View:

The Reverse End:

The Fun Part @ 190 Feet (60 meters):

The Solution @ 164 Feet (50 meters):

The Spot - Shot by Shot

Pass #1 - The Bare Tree

The Shot

The first pass of the motion control sequence.  Just the tree and the night sky as the camera pulls back 50 feet.

The Lighting

One M90 in a 180ft bucket that is visible in shot acts as the moon.  

Two M40s in another cherry picker 65 feet up off frame right act as a BG frontal accent light and the other as a backlight for the main set.

There is also an M18 tucked behind the houses frame left lighting up the large tree in the BG.

Above the main set piece area is a 12x12 soft box with 2 S60 Sky Panels to act as toppy ambient tone rigged to a 45 foot knuckle boom to get the rig out and over the set.

Add a wet down and we are good to go.

The Result

Set Up #2 - She is Still Dark

The Shot

Pass #2 with added cones behind the branch.

The Lighting

Same as before.

Set Up #3 - Lights Out

The Shot

3rd pass adding cones in the foreground and a day-maker in the BG.

The Lighting

Same as above.

The Result

Set Up #4 - Let There Be Light

The Shot

Pass #4 is identical to #3 but now the day-maker is turned on.

The Lighting

Same as above.

The Result

Set Up #5 - Crew Arrives

The Shots

Pass #5 adds the crew and the trucks.

The Lighting

Same as above.

The Result

Shot #6 - Human Cross

The Shots

The last pass for the first run of the Motion Control track before moving it up the hill.

THe worker who passes the screen will be the edit point to wipe to the new track and stitch the two together.

The Lighting

Same as above.

Shot #7 - The 2nd Track

The Shot

Same as above but we now start the new track so we can get further away from the scene.

The Lighting

Same as above.

Shot #8 - The Car Wipe

The Shots

The last pass involves more crew on screen plus an emergency vehicle wiping across screen to get us out of the scene.

The Lighting

Same as above.

The Result

Shot #9 - The Elevated Closer

The Shot

Now we jump in another cherry picker with the camera to show the whole scene being taken care of. This is the final shot in the add before the super.

The Lighting

The only change here is we needed to move the 12x12 soft box that was directly over the set and place it camera right to get it out of the shot.

The Result

Shot #10 - The Same but Closer

The Shot

An over the shoulder shot of a woman in her house noticing the fallen branch and power line in the middle of the road.  The power on the street is out.

The Lighting

The only change here was we needed to keep the 12x12 out of shot and up higher than it was for the motion control portion of the shoot.  It is frame right and 45 feet up in the air.

Plus we used a Litemat 2l locally on the talent to help draw her out from the BG.

The Result

Shot #11 - Tears in the Rain

The Shot

The final shot of the night is the woman looking out her rainy window as a reverse of the previous shot.  She grabs the phone to call the emergency services out.

The Lighting

We used the 12x12 soft box as a key by swinging the boom around and lowering it.  Then inside we took creative license and added the Litemat 2l to edge her out from the flat, dark BG of the powerless house.

The Result

About The Author

Wandering DP

Cinematographer and host of The Wandering DP Podcast. You can see select examples of work at my personal site or follow me on instagram.

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