When we were approached by a client asking to produce a commercial for the Nano Coating car products on a fairly small budget, our initial reaction was 'No way!'. Every filmmaker knows that shooting cars is a very specialised area, in many cases reserved for experienced and famous cinematographers. Carmakers spend millions on producing high-end commercials and filmmakers’ fees are not the main cost. Here are the reasons why shooting cars is difficult and expensive.
The key problem when working with cars is the reflections – cars are a bit like mirrors that reflect not only all the equipment, including lights, camera and grip, but also the film crew and everything else around it. This makes it extremely difficult to get a clean image of the car without seeing the film set.
To deal with this issue, there are three main solutions, all of which require significant resources:
1) FILMING A CAR IN A STUDIO SET WITH SPECIALLY DESIGNED CLEAN ENVIRONMENT AND LIGHTING.
Purpose built lighting is either covered with muslins to avoid reflections, or specially erected to give the desired and carefully shaped streaks of light on cars. Both hiring a studio large enough to fit a car, and the purpose built lighting that it requires makes set design very expensive.
2) FILMING IN AN ISOLATED BEAUTIFUL LOCATION, PREFERABLY USING NATURAL LIGHT.
When you see car commercials, you often see the vehicles from an eagle's eye perspective driving through beautiful desert landscape against beautiful sunset!
These outdoor shoots often take place during the so-called "golden hours" (sunrise and sunset) allowing for a limited time window only and being very dependent on the weather and cloud composition.
Depending on the location, you may require costly filming permission, which might also involve blocking roads for the shoot as well as adherence to strict health and safety regulations. On top of that, you will also need to use special equipment to enable suitable camera movements (i.e. attached to moving vehicles, filming from drones or helicopters) which further aggravates the cost of filming.
3) USING COMPUTER ANIMATED GRAPHICS, 3-D CAD WITH MOTION SIMULATION AND SPECIAL EFFECTS.
This type of imagery certainly can avoid reflections, but it is time-consuming and requires expensive skills.
The financial means of our client could not provide for any of the above options. However, after careful consideration and brainstorming we decided to take on this project just for the sake of a new challenge. And here is what we produced:
AND THIS IS HOW WE ACHIEVED THIS:
1) Filmed in an urban landscape using wide shots and allowing for the reflection of surroundings
2) Covered some of the garage interior with white screens
3) Heavily relied on closeups to produce the required images
4) Used a trial and error method to avoid filming the reflection of the crew and lights
Imagine what we could have produced if we had the average car manufacturer budget for this commercial! Perhaps we would save some of this budget to hire Jeremy Clarkson!
If you are thinking of producing a video for your products, please get in touch! We are happy to provide free consultation on all your communication and video marketing needs and will find a suitable solution that is right for your business and your budget.
If you have got interested in the car protection products advertised in our clip, you can order them from https://nanodrops.co.uk