Shooting Stills and Film on Location
Shooting Stills and Film on Location
The associates and I were really busy working directly with Bowers and Wilkins to bring their superb premier Bowers and Wilkins 800 D4 speakers to life through shooting Stills and Film on Location.
Planning a location shoot requires time and patience! This particular project took months to become live, far longer than usual. And here’s why…
Keeping Things Real
The logistics behind this shoot were complex, and we had to get granular at an early stage to ensure we would end up shooting in a situation that could take the weight of this product shoot. I am talking figuratively and literally here!
First, we had to agree the brief with B&W, then set about the task of finding the right location that matched the client’s requirements. This shoot quickly became a big challenge, the hardest location to find yet.
The Location Brief
We wanted to find a modern, timeless space that had a touch of the futuristic about it. Sounds ok right? Lots of these around I am sure…Of course, in the world at large there will be incredible locations. A realistic budget had to be adhered to, so going crazy and ‘all out’ was not possible. CG generated architecture fills our minds with wonderful possibilities. Most locations in films have an element of CG. We understand this and discussed it seriously as an option. We talked to CG artists about what they could do to work with us and help solve particular creative challenges. However, the largest factor by far that ruled out any CG environments, even as an element, was there was a big emphasis in the deliverables of supplying film. The location we needed had to be real, and it had to support us shooting stills and film on location…At the same time. Oh yes, did I mention that bit!
Finding our Dream Home and making it Ours
Our production team searched every UK library and pulled on all their contacts to create options that we could discuss with the client. Finally, through a specialist location finder the right property was found. Sometimes we must keep going back to the grindstone, relooking in case we have missed something, dig through our contacts and network and play a patient game. However, the location finder had found us something quite unique and most probably a one-off opportunity. It looked like the perfect situation.
The associates did an initial recce to feel it out and ensure it was everything it looked to be, then we returned with the client, stylist and Gaffer to complete the technical recce that started the planning for real.
Styling the Space
The entire space was styled by our production team. The creative director and stylist painstakingly designed every room, agreed every shot with the client. All the props, everything in the house was brought in. We created quite literally our own sun and moon through our gaffer’s hard work. It was a big production, it felt quite epic, but was worth it.
We had complete control over what we could do and when we wanted to do it. We wanted to communicate time in our creative. This property had given us full flexibility to do this. Shooting could happen when it was most desirable. Using this gift, we got to execute a very early time lapse to open the film with, we could shoot at night to get a dark mood into our final shots, and in-between we could use different light to enhance the morning and evening emotion. A one stage I was quite literally waiting, poised to shoot when the sun first peeked into a set up room. An early start indeed!
Shooting and Filming Together
The video and stills were shot at the same time. Both units have a great history, we are friends, so we can navigate the intricate flow and organisation without tension or misunderstanding. We were guided in our work by the locked down shot list and agreed storyboard, and art directed on set by our talented creative director.
It is hard, and sometimes things don’t work out quite as you expect them to. Both teams need to be very mindful of the schedule, but it does work out. Shooting stills and film on location, at the same time, is possible.
In our experience, the benefits of working this way outweigh the challenges. Shooting this way for clients allows us to gain full operational control and consistency of light and styling across the photographs and film. It offers economies of scale and reduces the time a client needs to spend on a project of this size.
We think this is a win-win for everyone. A magnificent set of films and images was produced, and the product launch was a great success.