This week I got an opportunity to step away from The Cave, aka my office where I spend an inordinate amount of time sitting on my ass staring soulfully at my computer. My writing partner Chris, directed a spec commercial and being his co-conspirator, good friend and guy looking to snap up any chance to shake up the usual routine, I was more than happy to be a part of the fun.
The spot, enticingly titled “Fire” is a Nike spot and is the first in what Chris and I hope will be many more commercial spots to come in the next few months. This particular one came about as a result of Chris having a good idea and, amazingly, the right people at the right time jumping onboard to make it happen – in this case, the wonderful folks over at Qube Film. These same folks were responsible for helping me direct my first music video last year (I’ll be blogging on that in the next little while).
Conceptually, the spot required a very fit female athlete to run faster and faster across a stylized environment until a supernova of energy explodes above her… Initially she was going to run on a very cool looking treadmill against a green screen until some bright spark suggested painting the treadmill green and replacing it. Randy, our Director of Photography, then informed us that we could rent a modified treadmill that was already painted green for next to nothing. It was just a few minutes later that the concept morphed again as the suggestion was made “if we’re going to paint out the treadmill then why not just make it look like she’s running on air?”
This is what I love about the creative process… You begin with a great concept, bring in great people inspired by that concept and then create a relaxed and efficient working environment that is open to new ideas - there are no problems in this environment, only solutions. Big kudos to Chris for planting the seeds of imagination and doing such a terrific job on set. The shoot went incredibly smoothly and we got a ton of great shots.
The spot was shot using a Red Camera (the very same camera used to shoot my music video) and once again, I was impressed by the results. It really is an amazing piece of technology. It did everything we wanted it to and it did it well. Chris was initially skeptical as to whether slow-motion would be employed in the spot but once he saw playback of the first 120fps shot he was sold on it and additional shots were added.
A big thank you to Navid, Randy and crew and of course, the insanely fit Erin who put the treadmill through its paces all day. Despite its beaten-up appearance and frighteningly erratic speed control, the treadmill never once broke down and Erin survived the day without a scratch.
Now its up to the deft editing skills of Nima and the wizardry of effects maestro Cory to take it to the next stage… I’ll keep you posted!
Photo courtesy of J. Dubois.