Have you seen The Tree of Life? Probably.
Have you ever seen a commercial inspired by The Tree of Life visuals? Again probably yes.
Have you ever listened to a podcast talking about a commercial inspired by The Tree of Life in the vaguest & loosest possible way (yet the host of the podcast incessantly repeats the phrase Tree of Life all podcast long just to trick you into associating Chivo's work with his own)? No you say, well today is your lucky day.
Today's breakdown of a recent TVC is all about natural light and finding just the right amount of perspective distortion.
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Patreon: The Live Stream - The Studio Goes Live!
This is it folks, the moment you have all been waiting for (or at least what I have been waiting for). The house that a podcast built is officially open for business. The new studio for the podcast and live stream will be launched this week on the Live Stream.
Bigger is better and this studio is no exception. I am hoping the space will allow me to create more Patreon content more often. Join in this week on the Live Stream to check it out!
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Perspective Distortion - Not Quite Tree of Life
The Tree of Life shows it's face in almost every other commercial treatment. The visuals are incredible and the style is so unique that it often gets thrown in the mix just to make the treatment appear prettier.
More often than not the Tree of Life ideas on shooting are the first thing thrown out the window because the look and style require two things commercial productions don't often have: Time and time.
This time however we managed to throw in a few elements and we pushed the schedule a bit to bring it all together. It wasn't perfect but it never is.
Check out the gear I use on all of my commercial shoots by clicking the link below:
The only kit not listed on that page is the set of Arri Zeiss Standard Speeds.
If you are a veteran of this podcast you will be very familiar with this set of lenses. They are my personal set and I love these small vintage lenses. Sharp where you want it and soft where you don't. They are my go to on projects that need a bit of interest in front of the camera.
To get the schedule we needed something had to go and it ended up being lighting.
We shot everything with natural light, a 4x4 bounce, and a two floppies. Except for one scene which we will talk about more below.
Perspective Distortion: The Set Ups
Shot #1 - The Wide
In this scene we see a mother bathing her new born in a kitchen sink. This ad was all about our connection to water. The director wanted the camera to float from shot to shot and he also wanted the lighting to be as naturalistic as possible.
We picked this location for it's light. We were so close to just setting up and going but right as we were about to roll the sun disappeared and we lost all our contrast. To get it back we had an M18 outside going through an 8x8 and then through the sheers.
Camera left we had a 12x12 black on a T-bar set up killing all the bounce fill. Then it was just a matter of spraying it down.
Set Up #2 - Down By the River
The river sceanrio was all about shooting order. We had 3 different set ups to get to and we had to manage our time to make sure each set up had a unique look without:
1. feeling too toppy
2. losing all our light
The big 10k in the sky and a 4x4 bounce with a 4x4 floppy for fun.
Behind the Scenes
Set Up #3 - The Portrait
Our portrait was the second set up at the river. We chose to shoot this slightly later as the lower sun would make it easier to blend the foreground and background contrast levels.
We used a 4x4 of high light for the sun and a 4x4 floppy to create some shape finished of with a bit of poly bounce from camera right.
Set Up #4 - Sun Down
Our final sequence at the river. Last light.
As the sun set we gradually removed our lighting modifiers until it was just a 4x4 floppy doing all the work. That is the beauty of magic hour.
Set Up #5 - On the Water
Shooting on the water is never easy (especially when it is boat to boat work) but we scheduled around the sun path and made the most of our location.
There was no way to fit anything on the boat so this is all natural light with the shape coming from the camera angles and the blocking of the action with the director.
Set Up #6 - Logo Shot: The Circle
Our finale with room for the logo in the middle.
We were originally planning on using the existing light in the location from the sun but the clouds and the rain meant we had to go back to the trusty m18 to get the job done.
We used the M18 through an 8x8 of 1/2 Grid from camera left plus some 12x12 negs to help carry the shape.