Builders Warehouse - a TV Commercial
BTS while on assignment with Black Envelope Films
Rigging up a 10m dolly.... Sure, that's no problem! We've done longer than that before! Technically that was for a timelapse set-up and this time around Black Envelope Films needed us to rig for realtime video moves. Repeat moves that is. Timed with precision. For VFX work this precision in repeat moves are crucial. And this is what we can do! Oh, and did we say the dolly needs to carry a fully kitted RED DRAGON?? Nothing that the Shukuma PRO dolly can't handle ;-)
When call time is set at 5am you know it's going to be a long and eventful day! Sure it was no different for this new TV Commercial for Builders Warehouse. And what a set it was!! We started setting up the dolly tracks immediately and anxiously waited for the Dragon to take it's position on the 100mm hi-hat, complete with an Arri Ultra Prime, matt-boxes, you name it. Man, does that dolly impress... Once the tests has been done and everything was running smoothly, it was time for the talent to take to the stage. She was the cutest little girl wearing a bright pink tutu and she also had a little magic fairy wand. She got to be such a cutie princess for the day.
Setting up for the first shot was pretty quick as it was only a 1.5m track which, doesn't require joining tracks together. As soon as the director, Michael Kolbe and DP, William Collinson starts to finalise the movement and composition, it quickly became clear that we need to set up 3m instead. So, taking off the Red, taking off the track, get extra tripods, bring in another 3m track, stabilise it, get on the Red, get power and get cracking! When the clock is ticking there is no time to be wasted. When the camera needs to roll, it needs to roll now. Swopping out tracks went pretty quickly so in just a few minutes we were all set for action.
All the moves had to be repeated multiple times for both green-screen plates and clean plates so it wasn't tricky to shoot, just very important to get the repeat moves accurate. In between shots the set had to change too. From everything covered in green-screen cloths to the actual "house" that it was shot in. I say "house" because this was no real house. Of course, for shoots you build sets. You don't always use real stuff to film in. This set was quite a piece of work and I believe it took about 2 weeks to prep (if not more!). There was just so much that had to be done! Building the walls and floors, painting it, putting in lights, curtains and everything else you have in a real house. Not only that, they built 2 sets as the background needed to change. This is where all the VFX work comes in. Don't forget about fittings for the movie lights that had to be placed in the actual roof of this dusty old building. Then there were all the final furniture, carpets, floors etc. It may not seem like a lot but if you start moving things around you quickly realise the workload that goes into building sets and making it all look pretty!
After finishing the first shot, we wasted no time to get the 10m track set up. Stabilising and levelling such a long rail takes more time then usual but we were still ready for action in a flash. Now the camera had to move across the entire track, following the little girl as she skips through the house. Michael (the director) became even more impressed with the dolly and the super fast speed that it is able to shoot at. Repeating the moves over and over at a consistent speed, with accuracy, now that is what the Shukuma PRO is all about!
Once the green screen shots and live shots were done, it was time to move house. Or rather, wall ;-) Once the new wall was positioned in place we had to do more clean-plates of the new scene. Some shots were done with the furniture and a few more shots where the furniture was removed from the scene. When the final edit comes together it will all make perfect sense why getting all these plates were so important. We did another 3m dolly set-up and this, among a few other static shots and close-ups was the order of the day. It was a super long day for everyone involved but it makes such a difference if you are working with such a talented group of people! It always amazes me to see what a bunch of creative people can create. I just have so much appreciation for everyone's creativity and each person has such an important part to fill. WOW!
Special thanks to Black Envelope Films for the opportunity to work with them and many other talented people.
Here's a list of names worth mentioning (in no particular order):
Director: Michael Kolbe - It was great working with you!! Thanks for playing such lekker music on set ;-)
Producer: Ashleigh Nash - Thanks for organising the pizza for dinner ;-) And all sorts of other jazz most people don't know about...
Production Assistant: Liam John Halfpenny - You did a superb job! You were great with giving instructions and entertaining the little princes.
Assistant Director: Clive Stafford - splendid work mopping those floors! Never scared to get your hands dirty, dig in and do it yourself. I'm sure your efforts were noted all round.
DOP: William Collinson - You are one talented dude! It clearly shows in your other work too.
Focus Puller: Dino Benedetti - Great to finally work with you! Don't forget that measuring tape now.... Focus!
And all the guys from grips & lights, wardrobe, art department, hair & make-up - Great job all round!! Sarah Payne, Barbara Brasington and everyone else, well done!
Oh yeah, don't forget the catering! This is not always worth a mention but Marc Crisp Catering sure fed us well :-D
Here are some BTS shots of the latest Builders Warehouse commercial. On air now on all local television stations, SABC, ETV and MNET. Enjoy!