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Old January 3rd, 2008, 03:51 PM   #1
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Second Cinematic Commercial Shot With A1

Hello all. We are currently running an ad campaign locally for Grace Presbyterian Church. I posted our first cinematic commercial on here about three weeks ago, and I received a ton of helpful feedback. That commercial was called "Alive".
Anyways, I wanted to post another commercial that we have shot for the same ad campaign. This ad is called "Create". I appreciate any feedback you might have concerning this ad. Please feel free to comment on anything. Like last time, I am interested in both artistic feedback as well as the communication of the message itself. Feel free to be as picky as you'd like... my feelings are not easily hurt. Thanks for your help.
Ritchey

Here is the link:
http://www.grace-presbyterian.org/Fi...eatedvinfo.htm

Ad was shot with Canon XH-A1. No adapter. Preset 4.
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 03:58 PM   #2
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Great commercial. Nice feel to it. How'd you get the nice DOF?
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 05:52 PM   #3
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Ritchey:

Sorry I wasn't able to participate in your first posting a while back as I was under deadlines before the holidays.

Another nice job. Simple message and sensitively presented.

First I probably have to say that I find it a little off-putting to see these designated as "cinematic commercials". I understand that you are intending to separate them from low-budget quickie spots, but the material should speak for itself without having to be defined as such (this would be considered an "image spot" if anything).

On to the ad itself. I would have liked to have seen the initial images be tighter and more creatively designed. Each shot in a commercial should be able to stand on its own as a still image; if you were to freeze the first shot of the sanding process, ask yourself if you consider that to be visually strong. Now imagine being extremely tight on the block and the leg, with a hot backlight (possibly the afternoon sun you used on the later setups) picking up the dust coming off the leg, a contrasty and graphic image. It also sets up a bit more mystery--as the spot progresses the images can be subtly wider until the entire chair is revealed; you did this to an extent but it could have been more aggressive. You do have some creative framing choices in here like the second shot of the sawing, which has a lot of negative space and it is interesting to have the chap's face pushed up into the corner, so I think you can explore this even further.

The hot backlight approach would have worked nicely for the drilling image also--instead you have a frontal kick on the wood which draws the eye from the more dynamic aspect of the shot, the drill's action.

Ironically the tightest shot of this section was reserved for the least interesting object, the rubber mallet...! Imagine instead if you had the lens inches away from the handle end of the mallet in macro mode, so we just see the fingers curl around the handle while the background falls off deeply in focus. This gives more emphasis to the creative process and the human form, rather than the somewhat lackluster mallet.

The shot of the gent in front of the workshop is not quite a hit for me--the first clip that is out of focus with the jump cut to the in-focus version feels a bit forced--the first one is not truly "wrong" enough to seem like a choice, it just seems a bit soft. Had you positioned him a little farther out in front of the garage and gone more telephoto with the camera (further away and zoomed in to keep roughly the same image size), you might have achieved a more dynamic shot with a bit more focus falloff and possibly more of an exposure difference between him and the background, allowing you to set the exposure on him and having the background drop a stop or two to give more separation.

I would probably have spent some time production-designing the workshop, being more selective about what was visible in the frame. Certainly the Coke can shouldn't have been there, but also the various brightly-colored commercial products detract a bit from the simple concept of a woodshop and create visual clutter. Having the workshop being composed of browns and neutral colors would make the cuts to the flora that much more powerful, especially the berries and the rose.

Another aspect of the woodshop that is a bit lacking is the overall flat lighting scheme, which again reduces the visual impact--compare these shots to the beautiful ones preceding them that were shot in sunlight. Even without lights it would have been possible to shape the environment; hanging a tarp to the right of the actor just out of frame left would have created a negative fill on the broad side of his face and given some shape to the background (allowing light to enter from the left side of this tarp would achieve this). Subtracting light can often be more powerful than adding it.

Also, watch your exposures--the extreme closeup of the subject's eye as he turns to the chair is much hotter than the wider version. It looks like you might be able to salvage this with color correction though.

As was mentioned in the other thread, don't be afraid of a little camera motion. Some subtle pans, tilts or even zooms here and there may give you a little extra life. It's easy enough to keep the camera rolling and just do a moving variation on any given shot, and you never know what will work in the edit. Certainly it would be good to get yourself a dolly of some sort and start to play around with moving through space. The final section of the spot could definitely have benefited from a little more life in this regard.

Many thoughts here, some easier than others to integrate but the fun part of all of this is getting out there and trying different things--very much in the spirit of the subject matter. Keep on the track you are on, it's great that you are being encouraged to make creative spots. I used to shoot local commercials 20 years ago and maybe 1 in 40 was along these lines, just enough to keep me interested in the job!
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Old January 7th, 2008, 03:08 AM   #4
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Charles, that's one of the best reviews I've ever seen!

I agree with everything he said.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 12:48 PM   #5
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Thanks Lloyd.

Ritchey, hope I haven't scared you off...?!
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Old January 7th, 2008, 03:16 PM   #6
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Charles,
In no way did you scare me off. Although after reading this I'd be very intimidated going head to head with you on a shoot. :)

Thanks for taking such time and care to give me your input. I'm really loving this site where I can get feedback from people who have much more experience than myself. In fact, I've looked to put some of your comments in action.

While this shoot is over and done, I did decide to go back over the footage to see if stills from the individual shots stand out artistically. While I felt some did, I can see that there were many that did not. That's an interesting way to approach the whole filming process to try and capture "visually strong" shots that could stand alone as stills. It helps add structure to the whole camera setup process.

I also recently bought some plans to make a D.I.Y. glidecam and dolly. While I don't plan to be all over the place I am planning on adding a little more subtle motion to my future "image spots".

Also, your comments on the lighting were helpful. I'd say lighting is the area that I am striving to do the most research and study in right now before the third shoot. I feel like some of the shots had wonderful light (thanks to the sun, not to my planning) while others looked really flat. I'm currently reading up on doing some effective back lighting. Any lighting book/website suggestions anyone might have would be appreciated.

As I said earlier I'm honored at the time you took to review the spot, and am very appreciative of your comments. I plan on looking over them once more before we start shooting the third image spot.

Thanks a ton.
Ritchey

P.S. I hope it won't erk you too bad, but for sake of continuity on the message board, I'll probably label the third commercial post as "Third Cinematic Commercial". But thanks to you I'm now aware that these are correctly defined as "image spots". :)
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Old January 7th, 2008, 03:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritchey Cable View Post
Charles,
In no way did you scare me off. Although after reading this I'd be very intimidated going head to head with you on a shoot. :)
Shoots are a collaboration, not a competition Ritchey! We'd probably have a great time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritchey Cable View Post
Also, your comments on the lighting were helpful. I'd say lighting is the area that I am striving to do the most research and study in right now before the third shoot. I feel like some of the shots had wonderful light (thanks to the sun, not to my planning) while others looked really flat. I'm currently reading up on doing some effective back lighting. Any lighting book/website suggestions anyone might have would be appreciated.
Yes, the exterior shots were beautiful, but again the flatness of the workshop shots had to do with lack of contour and contrast more than anything else. Adding a backlight to those would (to me) not have improved the shot dramatically. Actually a lot of people getting into lighting tend to overdo backlighting--it's sort of an "easy fix". Over the years I've really curtailed my usage of that. It can be just as interesting or more so to work with alternating planes of light. Hence my suggestion that by flagging off one side of the mouth of the workshop, you will get a much less flat and interesting image. For closeups, bringing in a solid (black flag) right alongside the actor's face can turn a flat image into a much more interesting and moody one. There are some brilliant cinematographers like Roger Deakins who are able to work with soft, "flat" light and make it look amazing too--it's again a matter of tailoring the elements to create apparent depth.

Quote:
P.S. I hope it won't erk you too bad, but for sake of continuity on the message board, I'll probably label the third commercial post as "Third Cinematic Commercial"
ARRRGH! (gnashing of teeth)

no worries mate, do as you see fit!

Best of luck with your process. I look forward to the next.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 08:35 PM   #8
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Ritchey good little clip and with the comments from Charles your next one should really improve

Charles gota say its propably one of the best comments i've seen in a forum where you have really given alot of tips on improving the shots and not just "dont like this or that....". Keep up the good work.
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Old January 8th, 2008, 12:51 PM   #9
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I would pay a subscription to read reviews like that. I learned so much in so few paragraphs. Now... where can I find more of that?!
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