Dubai-based rental house Filmquip Media recently partnered with German production company Marken Films to provide local crew and equipment for a Toyota Corolla commercial that was shot in Dubai. Filmquip Media also worked with Dubai-based production house Talkies and director Moneer Barakat on a Panadol commercial that was shot at sea. Both commercials were filmed by director of photography and Filmquip Media's managing director, Anthony Smythe.
"The key element of the Toyota commercial was a real wire-frame car, which appeared like a 3D image when viewed on the monitor," commented Smythe. "The wire-frame car was real and brought in from the UK. The challenge here was to ensure that it did not look like a 3D animated object. We did this by making people interact with the car and lighting it up appropriately to ensure that it looked real."
A simple storyline follows with this wire-frame car showing up in different parts of a modern city. Heads turn to look at this artistic car and in the end, people see the new Toyota Corolla.
There is consistent effort throughout the commercial to emphasise the reality of the wire-frame car by enhancing its interaction with its direct environment whether it is with people or elements like water. Additionally, light reflections are seen on the texture of the wire-frame and the car's reflections can be seen on the windows and the wet asphalt.
Director Frank Vroegop took traveling shots of the vehicle and got reflections from it to ensure that the wire-frame car did not look animated. "This was achieved by physically putting the car on speed wheels and pulling it with a rope which was later removed in post production," commented Smythe.
18K lights were placed behind the camera to light the front of the car. Two cameras - an ARRI 435 ES for locked off shots and an ARRI 235 for the Steadycam - were used throughout the shoot. "It was a challenge for our Steadycam operator, Leo Bund to keep the 18Ks [which were lighting the car] out of frame," Smythe said.
Key kit in the Toyota commercial included a full range of Cooke S4s, 10mm Ultraprimes and 24-290mm Angenieux Optimo lenses. "We used the 10mm and 14mm Ultraprimes on the Steadycam to achieve interesting dynamics on the wire frame car," stated Smythe.
The Panadol commercial, on the other hand, was shot at sea with the focus being on two men sailing a catamaran. Although the storyline seemed simple, shooting at sea always poses several challenges for the technical crew.
Key grip, Clint Covey had to rig a crane to a boat and attach a 3-axis, gyro-stabilised Flighthead V to it. He also rigged the control wheels to the boat to ensure that there was very little movement. "The team was practically standing on each other; and they still had to 'get the shot', explained Smythe.
In the meantime, a custom-made rain cover was constructed for the Flighthead in order to keep it dry. A 24-290mm Angenieux Optimo zoom lens was used in order to capture wide shots and tight action shots. An ARRI Wireless LCS remote focus, zoom and iris control was used to control the camera remotely.
"One important sequence in this commercial is of the two sailors running down a pier. The director wanted a fast moving tracking shot of them doing so. This could not be achieved with a conventional dolly tracking shot so Covey rigged a bungee mount to a quad bike to get this shot," explained Smythe.
Although both commercials appeared to have simple story lines, the DoP claimed that they both made for very interesting shoots. "Both were very different in that Panadol was a more action oriented commercial while the Toyota commercial was more artistic. I enjoyed working on both of them as each brought with it a new set of filming challenges."