Case Study: Advert Filming At Galleon Studios
Galleon Studios opened it’s doors in 2007. Since then we’ve welcomed production companies and independent agencies from all over the world. We’ve been pleased to be involved in dramas, commercials, entertainment and quiz shows, live TV, e-learning modules, documentaries, web videos, product demonstration and how to videos, opening title sequences, augmented reality, virtual reality, videos for start-ups, small and big business.
A Willing Production Partner
I thought it might be a great insight if I talked you through how we work with agencies and production companies to help them achieve their ambitions. So as an example I’ve picked the recent production we undertook with The Unknown, a creative agency based in Italy. Not only does it spotlight how we can facilitate shoots for our international customers but also how an artistic vision of a director can be brought into being by a committed crew and a dedicated filming studio.
In Part One of the Case Study Filming a Commercial at Galleon Studios we looked at the initial phone meetings we had with the client. We discussed their overall aims with the commercial. Further to this the restrictions on the schedule and budget and how they looked to Galleon Productions to help them with their commercial for Columbian betting company Bet Juego.
Using our contacts and skill-set we filled their crew roles, helped them source costume and props and used our UK producer to liaise with them to problem solve their shoot remotely. I talked you through how we fulfilled their kit requirements using our own equipment as well as hiring in additional lights and Arri Mini camera. With stylist, props, crew and even catering in place it was time for the filming itself.
In this blog I will cover the shoot, the all-important lighting and unveil the final video. I hope it acts as peek behind the curtain to those interested and a working example of how Galleon Productions extends a supporting hand to every video production being it international or domestic.
Set-Up 1: The White Infinity Cove
Our director had a meticulous storyboard to follow and our duty was to help him achieve it. The first set-up called for Yerry to walk toward camera delivering his lines on the white infinity cove. This sequence is the narrative through line that runs through the advert and we return to this set-up on several occasions during the commercial. We filmed all of this sequence and recorded Yerry’s lines before moving onto the next sequence. The next items on the shot list depicted Yerry as a goalkeeper, again in front of a white cove. The shots involved him literally being bombarded with footballs and there was no shortage of eager would-be bowlers to launch the orange footballs at our skilled defender.
Next up on white was the baking sequence. Props, costume and make-up came together to depict Yerry as a hapless baker whose stint in the kitchen is interrupted by a misdirected football. The bounce of the ball had to be precise so there are on the cutting room floor numerous takes of the ball missing the mark! As discussed in the previous blog prop meister supreme Tina Hicks cooked all the dough and ensured the briefly seen baking trays were full of her creations.
Set Up 2: The Red Infinity Cove
Following this were 2 of the trickiest and time-consuming shoots.
Firstly the dance routine Yerry and our dancer had to perform. This needed rehearsing (and in the final product is seen for less than 3 seconds) and lighting and blocking. Yerry also had a line he had to deliver with gusto while he concentrated on perfecting the dance.
Set-Up 3: The Blue Infinity Cove
The final set-up called for a change of outfit, a swap out of set dressing and a mood change with the lights. Here Yerry became a crooning Jazz trumpeteer with all the haze and chiaroscuro lighting you can envision. Fun Fact! Filmed but not featuring in the ad due to time is that the dough Baker Yerry throws at suited Yerry ends up hitting Jazz Yerry!
The photos on this page and the final video demonstrate the many lighting set-ups required for the shoot. Even the white cove shoot is deceptive in its simplicity. Many, many watts of light were pored onto the cove to ensure that Yerry remained in focus throughout his initial walk to camera. When Yerry wears white as the baker we needed to ensure the background of the Manchester infinity cove was overexposed but he and his clothing were not.
It’s All In The Lighting Detail
Central colours to the Colombian flag are yellow, blue and red and you’ll find these colours take centre stage in the back end of the advert. As Yerry performs his dance we lit him with 2 Arri Skypanels dialed in to the exact pantone colour of the Columbian flag. Further more the dancers blue dress emulates the colour of the flag too. With copious use of Haze we made an otherworldly fantasy world that sees Yerry transformed into a master dancer.
Finally my favourite lighting set up. The aim here was to portray Yerry as a busking New Orleans trumpeter eking out a living as a jazz man. We aimed to create a smoky, night-time ambience for Yerry’s lament. The DOP wished to use a Source 4 lamp to overhead light Yerry. Our gaffer (politely) disagreed and opted for an Arri 650 with Lee Yellow 101 to really punch through the haze and create the “streetlamp” look needed for the scene. The Source 4’s were then employed as sidelights to bring Yerry away from the blue created by the Arri Sky Panels.
Summary: The Importance Of Lighting
When you’re producing short form media, such as a commercial, lighting serves as a narrative short hand. Lighting signifies the mood, location and even the genre of the piece you’re creating. It does this through the viewers subconscious. In the same way the viewer instinctively knows if the lighting is “off” in anyway. Whether you’re shooting green screen, on sets or using the infinity cove as a blank slate you should always consider lighting the most important aspect. Even the worst cameras can make amazing images with the correct lighting and, unfortunately, vice versa.
If you’re making any kind of video production on any budget you should always devote some thought onto how the production will be illuminated. Paying special attention to lighting can pay off dividends and add a sense of real scale and ambition to your productions.
The Final video
With all the negotiation, the phone calls, scheduling, prop sourcing, costume wrangling, kit and crew requirements, lighting, blocking and rehearsals it resulted in this 30 second commercial below. These blog articles as a whole hopefully demonstrates the myriad of considerations, decisions and creativity that go into every project here at Galleon Studios. We believe we are the custodians of your vision and it’s our duty to see it made real. Speak to us about your next production.