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XCS AR on commercial


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#1 WillArnot

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 09:08 PM

Hi All

Check out this photo sequence:

http://homepage.mac....otoAlbum22.html


Amazing job. Our director did this commercial, very worth watching. Brilliant concept. Watch the High bandwidth version if possible.
http://www.sony.co.u...;site=odw_en_GB

For our job he was commited to shooting a day in the life of our actress... in 56 seconds. From her morning routine as the camera passes through her bathroom window (mid-mode / sled length was critical - see pics) - putting on deodorant (the product) - running through the apartment late for work, checking her mail, running outside, petting the neighbors dogs, missing her bus, hanging out with friends, getting her hair done, running through a rain shower, meeting her boyfriend at a night club, then taking him home where we find her still smelling great after her hectic day.

Commercials can seem frivolous like that, but the concept was great. No cuts, no artificial effects (which reflected the quality of the product), just pure choreography, whip pans, timing and creativity. It took 1 month to build the set. 1 week to rehearse and 5 days of shooting to get 1x60 second shot, 1x30 second shot and 2x10 second shots.

The commercial was shot during the day although half of it takes place at night. The grips built a massive tent that was over 3 stories high to accomodate lighting, rain towers, cars and a bus, a 27 foot crane on 50 ft of track etc. The tent was pitched so that rain (Vancouver in Autumn) could run off - plastic skin over massive blacks covering a whole city block.

We used twins so that as we whip panned from one scene to the next we would find the same lady apparently at a different time of day, although only a second later in reality. When we whip panned out of the apartment into the hallway of the building to find her checking her mail, the 1st sister had to sprint through a secret door we built into the wall and jump down a 15 ft slide where new wardrobe was waiting for her, quick change, then come out of the revolving doors of an office building. It was better than Batman & Robin!! We re-discover her outside after the other sister meanwhile has just missed her bus.

Also another note on sled configuration. You will notice that I had a 3 battery set up (2x Dionic 90's & 1x Proformer) This served two purposes beyond giving me a long run time. Both reasons were dictated by the opening element of the shot that started outside the bathroom window and traveled through it to take a good look at the product which is put there by the actress as we start the move toward the window.
1. The mass of 3 batteries helped me to keep the sled down to appropriate length to get through the window in mid mode.
2. Kept the gimbal far enough away from the camera that I could make fast switches back and forth between lo mode and hi mode without worrying about clearing the camera. Remember that keeping the monitor and all positionable mass (Preston) also helps to achieve this.
3. Because the 3 battery was mounted out in front of the sled bottom, it meant that I could bring the whole AR cage back a little on the top stage in order to accomodate other clearance needs of getting through the limited space of the window.
- So, balance, gimbal position and sled length played a big part in achieving the first difficult part of the shot (and the most important part, the product shot).

We also finessed a lot of the shot via wireless control of the Iris and the Zoom. We used the 15-40mm Angenieux zoom lens of the 235 and obviously had a wide range of lighting to control as we went from inside to outside and day into night. The AC did a fantastic job of controlling focus and the iris pulls on the Preston hand unit.

Then I gave the separate Iris/Focus unit to the DP and clamped it to his handheld 7inch monitor, so that he could watch the shot and zoom in and out appropriately. Originally I had given him the wireless microforce zoom control, but this proved to be too slow at times and not fast enough at others. We attached a zoom stick to the focus knob of the Iris/Focus unit and this gave him the ability to snap zoom when needed, like during a whip pan, and yet do a very slow creep at other times. That took a day to work out!

Enjoy the pics.

Will

Again, I urge all current and future owners of the AR to demand that MK-V fulfill it's licensing agreement and pay the Patent Holder, Lynn Nicholson, the royalties agreed to for every unit sold WORLDWIDE.

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#2 David Shawl SOC

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 02:39 AM

Wow, that's an impressive sequence! Please let us know when we can check out the finished product.
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#3 JobScholtze

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 04:28 AM

Wow, that's an impressive sequence! Please let us know when we can check out the finished product.

Will, that video link is another commercial i think
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#4 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 05:07 AM

Wow...Amazing Job Will. Love to see the finished piece when its online.
Out of curiousity was the idea of using the AR the always there or was it something you brought to the table?
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#5 WillArnot

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 05:57 AM

Barry the DP is British, and had used it on a commercial in the UK, and thought it would lend to the concept, and it did. I believe Thomas English had operated the AR for him on that one.
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#6 nealnorton

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 02:56 PM

Bravo!

What an amzing sequence.

Look forward to seeing this one.

Regards,

Neal Norton
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#7 Christopher TJ McGuire SOC

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 03:50 PM

The MK-V AR was used on an anti-smoking commercial in the UK.
I'd been asked to do this but sadly was unavailable at the time, I had talked at great length with Mustard films with regard to what the rig could do after they'd seen my demo reel. Thankfully, Thomas English bravely stepped in to do the job and as you can see from his behind the scenes demo on his website, he did an amazing job. (www.thomasenglish.co.uk)

Sadly, the commercial was pulled, due to the media frenzy that had developed following the demise of the Russian spy recently in the UK...The spot was making issue of the poison that supposedly killed the Russian, as it is contained in most cigarettes. It did, however get a 2 page spread in 'The Times', broadsheet.

Barry Ackroyd BSC, has grasped the concept of the MK-V AR, perfectly, both with the anti-smoking spot, and the Rexona ad. At the time I had been very disappointed that I had not been available for either...

I believe Will did a sterling job and I look forward to seeing the final spot mself.
And as Will demonstrates in his photos, the versatility of the rig of attaining shots quickly and effectively is obvious.

Anyway must dash, got another diaper to change!

Chris.
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#8 Lawrence Karman

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 04:11 PM

Interesting post, Will. I'm curious about how you overcame the purported weakness of the AR in, I assume, not being able to keep up with fast level changes. By "dialing it back" did that mean just going slower or fiddling with the electronics?
Is there somewher we can view this spot?

If your current movie is based on "Bringing Down the House", please don't let them f* it up! It was a great book.
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#9 WillArnot

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 11:23 PM

Hi Lawrence,

The electronics are way beyond anything tweakable. No, "dialing back" has always entailed decreasing the agressiveness of the shot. Slowing down at a critical point in the operating, usually where directional changes coincide with whip pans and/or low to hi switches that saturate the sensors and cause the camera to be off level. Depending on the severity of saturation and duration, it can take several seconds to 30-45 seconds for the camera and monitor to find level again. Sometimes it has been necessary to change the shot, since a lower energy makes the shot useless.

This is where to many people the weak points of the AR can go un-noticed for a long time. If you are just doing slow dolly like moves and normal energy stuff, it can look magnificent. But once you turn on the energy all kinds of things can start to happen. And it can be a little different with everyone's AR since i have also gathered enough information from other AR owners to know that results are all over the place.

I showed Howard himself on his last visit to me how mine was off level in mid mode and when he brought out his Nexus AR that his too was also off level. This was stuff that may not be noticed to the untrained eye, so I put the bubble level on the Nexus AR, Howard didn't like that, but was able to illustrate my point. This was after he tried to make out that it had to do with the XCS factor and "interference".

When I asked him why then did he not package the sensors in metal to help shield them from unwanted interference he told me that the sensors would not work then. That they get their information from the earth's magnetic pull, like a compass. This seems like it is a significant weak point since we are around magnetic fields on set all the time.

Howard's other declaration on that visit was that he was so confused as to which software version was with which hardware package. His gear travels so much around the world that there is just no way to keep track of it, so he was going to go back to UK and sort through all his stuff and figure out where his latest software versions were and how they were performing with what rig etc. And then get back to me on addressing the problem that he had no explanation for when I showed it to his own eyes.

That never happened.

On the Vancouver job, I was walking back to the stand where the rig was sitting, and as I approached, the camera and monitor started to rotate by themselves in opposite directions. This was just before the V2 electronics were released. A rather disturbing sight to say the least considering what we were trying to accomplish. Promptly Rebecca at MK-V did get me a set of V2 electronics to use for the rest of the shoot.

My Gear from Vancouver went straight to an airplane to go to Morocco for the start of Charlie Wilson's War. When I tried out my brand new V2 electronics in Morocco, the monitor rotated at 2x the rate of the camera. So that when I made a switch to Low mode the monitor was up-side Down.

Now, I understand that stuff goes wrong now and then, but what I really hate is "lip service". Essentially, being told that things have been done when they have not been. Like the way I was told this Brand new V2 electronics box was straight from the factory, tested, approved and shipped straight to me. It most definitely had not been tested or approved, and it was obvious this was not damage in shipping because the functionality was not erratic it was simply that the camera and monitor were rotating out of sequence, and consistently so.

Tip of the iceberg, tip of the iceberg.

Having contacted the producer again re: that spot, I am told that the 60 sec spot has still not been released but currently on British TV the 30 sec version is airing. I will post it when I get it.

Will
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#10 Christopher T. Paul- SOC

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 06:46 PM

Most awesome Will, can't wait to see it. Hats off to ya.

CP
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#11 WillArnot

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 08:46 PM

Hi All,

Here is a link to the 60 sec spot.
No speed ramps digital or in-camera. It's all real time including the whip pans.



Will
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#12 Afton Grant

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 09:01 PM

Here is a link to the 60 sec spot.
No speed ramps digital or in-camera. It's all real time including the whip pans.



Sweet Fancy Moses on a tricycle! What a shot. Amazing work, Will. If you don't mind, I'd love to have that on the SteadiShots site. I'll likely take bits of your initial post as a commentary.

Wow. Must watch again.

Peace!
Afton
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#13 Brad Smith

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 10:06 PM

WOW, Will, That is AWESOME! Thanks for posting that, everytime you post here I learn something!
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#14 Dan Coplan

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 01:41 AM

The moves are great but what I really appreciate is the feel with which Will manipulates the camera - that's the real artistry in my opinion. It's as if he had the music in his head while operating.

Thanks for sharing. Don't suppose anyone got behind the scenes video of you during one of the takes?

Dan "I Wann Be Like Will" Coplan
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#15 JobScholtze

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 07:24 AM

LOL, i was watching this on national television in the Netherlands and did wonder who made and how the made it.

Very cool will, looks like you AND the ar did a wonderfull job
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