The magic in advertising.

I’m sure most of you out there know by now the magic of “PhotoShop” and how advertisers, designers and artists can manipulate still photos to the nth degree…allow me to illustrate this with a few examples…

Pretty cool huh?  That’s why I never trust any designer with my picture any more 😛

With the advancement in technology in recent times, such techniques can also be applied to moving picture.  If you’ve watched a bunch of movies in the last few decades you’ll really notice how special effects from the 80’s, 90’s to present day have evolved.  The effects tend to be more seamless and less noticeable then just a few years ago thanks to technology.

Yesterday our agency launched a new Farmers Insurance Hawaii ad campaign which features the new Farmers spokesperson ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro.  The kick-off TV ad is below.

Now that you’ve seen it, let me just walk you through the making of the spot and give you a heads up on a few tricks of the trade.  For those of you employed in the industry feel free to chime in if I missed anything.

1.  First of all it’s amazing that shooting 9-10 hours of footage culminates to a :30 second TV commercial.  Now you can see why shooting a movie can take months at a time.

2.  The spot was filmed at Irwin Park, the parking lot across the street from Aloha Tower.  Of course we can’t interfere with Aloha Tower customers or affect their businesses so we needed to shoot when the mall was closed.  Shooting occurred between 10pm and 5:30am with lots of coffee and Red Bull…as well as food from Zippy’s.

3.  The glowing balls of light you see in the backdrop were added for aesthetics and to help with lighting.  Local folks will notice that this isn’t the normal layout of the parking lot.  The cars were set up in such a way so that the concept of the clapping cars would read quickly.  Also, the cars were facing Jake symbolizing an audience giving him their full attention.

Note the glowing balls of light and the way the cars are parked.

4.  So what happened to the white lines that designate the parking stalls?  Covered with black tape….  Wondering why you can’t see any of the makes of the cars or their logos?  Fuzzed out in post.  Since Jake’s ukulele is also a brand (Kamaka) we needed to get permission from them to feature their product….the same goes for the owners of the cars since their license plates can be seen.  Please note however, don’t try looking for the license plates or cars.  We switched them around haha 🙂

5.  Because of the Christmas lighting the mall had in addition to our own lighting package (spot was shot in December), during color correction we had to mute some of the reflections and shading.

6.  The clapping cars….you won’t see them but there are people either wearing or covered in black in the cars.  Hey someone had to open and close those car doors right? And no….they can’t open and close the car doors that fast…the footage was sped up to give that effect.  In audio, the horns and car alarms as well as the sound of opening and closing of the doors were also added in post production.

Do you see anyone in the cars?

7.  In this scene, guess how many shots there are?  Looks like just one….2? Nope.  3?  Nope.  There’s actually 4 shots to complete this set up.  Yep, 4.  Shot #1, the glowing balls of light and the trees in the background is one shot.  Because these lights were giving off reflections on the cars, we had to shoot them separately.  Shot #2 is the row of cars on the left and shot #3 were the row of cars on the right.  Jake was he 4th and final shot.  In the edit session, we put them all together.  Crazy huh?

This scene consists of 4 shots put together!

8.  In the final shot with Jake, the car doors no longer had to be opened and closed.  A tight angle shot, flashing car headlights, and the insertion of audio, gave the impression that the action was still going on behind him.

No car door action here…

9.  After the spot is completed it’s amazing how seamless it looks right?  Almost as if it were just one continuous take.  There are actually a bunch of takes strewn together to create the best possible end product.  So similar to PhotoShop, moving picture can also be manipulated to communicate your end goal.

Check out this video before you leave…it really takes special effects to an extreme.  Everything in the video is fake believe it or not.

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