Over the last year or so, I have had the great fortune of working with Andy Awes (director) on a number of projects for Best Buy. These are the two most recent spots we shot.
The first commercial was for the X-Box release of Gears of War 3. It was interesting because the entire spot consists of two shots. This was nice as we were allowed to spend a good amount of time lighting the shots and making sure things were just right. I think the spot plays well and am very pleased with how it looks. The lighting crew did a great job (Gaffed by Michael Handley and Key Gripped by Joe Gallup). Terri Gold made art department magic and first AC TJ Schwingle made my life super easy. We shot on Alexa with Ultra Primes. Michael Sandness at Slice Here was our colorist.
The second spot (“Blue Monster”) also was shot on Alexa (provided again by Cinemechanics). This spot was a 3 day shoot, which is the longest I’ve ever had to put together a 30 second spot. This was necessitated by the number of practical locations and the sheer number of shots. Gaffer Michael Handley did a great job managing a large crew and Key Grip Peter Clemence built a number of impressive rigs with the help of his crew. One of these rigs involved suspending a pipe frame over the audience at the end of the spot that held two 6′ 2 bank Kino-Flos. This was done by attaching lines to 4 points and dodging a power line that ran over our location. He picked points off of the main house, a chimney next door, and two trees.The thing that blows my mind is how hard everyone worked for these shots and we only see them for a moment… if I did my job right, they should stick in your mind. (fingers crossed).
I wish I had done a better job of documenting the lighting setups on “Blue Monster”, but I am including a sun-path I took to determine what time of day and from what angle to shoot our wide “farm house” exterior.
Here, you can see a couple of shots from behind the scenes of “Gears of War” that show how we lit our subjects.
Exterior of the Best Buy in Eden Prairie. We used the Extreme Crane from Picture Factory and a 12k and a pair of 4k’s in an arial lift to give the impression of sunshine, our cloudy day was later replaced with blue skies by Splice Here.
The exterior of the abandoned farm house that the “film crew” uses as the backdrop for their zombie movie. We lucked out and got an amazing sky. We lit the side of the house with a 12k bouncing into a 12×20 Ultrabounce and a 2ft single kino faking the light of the laptop on the parents and brother looking on in the right part of the frame.
Master of the makeup arts Crist Ballas poses with his zombie. Crist expressed that this is his interpretation of what a young makeup artist would do to create a zombie, not his own interpretation of what a zombie could look like. Either way, I think it looks fantastic.
Producer Dan Orozco and Director Andy Awes in front of the makeup trailer and 20k. Except for the grey skies, jackets and interstate 494 sign, this could almost pass for a Culver City backlot.
Andy leans on the dolly to watch a monitor while shooting the in-store portion of “Gears of War”
Andy sits with Chris Barry, Creative Director of Best Buy, at a monitor during the office portion of the shoot for Gears of War. The offices were at Best Buy HQ in Richfield MN, where Andy was born and raised.