Monday, 17 May 2010

Nissan 370Z roadster shoot with Canon 7D

I recently filmed the new Nissan 370Z roadster. It was shot over two days and three separate locations with the Canon 7D.

On the first day the car was shot in Spanhoe airfield in Laxton. We filmed in an old aircraft hanger which was a great location to start with, but naturally a little dark.

HD DSLRs are supposed to be fantastic in low level light and while that is true to an extent, don't go expecting miracles from them. If you get the iso settings wrong then you will end up with quite a lot of video noise that is hard to remove, if not impossible. I have noted that the 7D in particular starts to introduce noise after the 800iso mark. Of course it all depends on the speed of the lens and exposure setting which will be different in each instance...but it is worth making a mental note to check for noise in playback after you have filmed a low light situation with an iso higher than 800.
Of course you will need a monitor for playback to see the noise. The small viewfinder on the back of the camera is not capable of showing detailed noise and so if it looks good on the back of the camera, it des not necessarily mean you won't find noise on the image when you get it back to the studio. There is nothing worse than getting it back and seeing that the image is not usable.
However, if you get the balanced settings correct in low level light then the image will look great with minimal lighting budget and costs.

The Second location was still in Laxton near to a fantastic viaduct, which gave us some great images.

On the second day we filmed in Chobham near to a National trust reserve and just off the motorway. It was a great location, but again I noticed a fair bit of the 'jelly' effect that the HDLSRs are known for.
The roads where not perfectly smooth and so whenever the car bounced over a bump, it then had an exaggerated effect on the camera.

I have to say that this jelly effect is highly frustrating at times, especially as you know it is a problem that would not happen to say the more expensive digital cameras like the Red One or the Arri D21. I know there is a massive price difference between the cinema cams and the Canon 7D, but I am beginning to wonder if the trade off is too costly in terms of time spent having to re-secure or steady images.
I don't feel like I would be confident to direct a film on the Canon that entailed a lot of motion or traversing of the camera. I could happily live with the noise issue and just add some extra lighting to counter it...but the jelly effect is something I don't think I could ever get use to.

Having said that, the 7D is a fantastic camera that is accessible to most budgets and as long as you are not planning to shoot the first 15 mins of Saving Private Ryan, you shouldn't encounter too many problems with the image shaking and causing the dreaded JELLY EFFECT!

I think I have probably been pushing the 7D to it's limits over the past few months and I am begining to see where it's restrictions are. So I suppose once you know it's limitations, you can plan and shoot accordingly to the camera's abilities

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Taste the Champion Chip

It's amazing what you can do these days with a good idea and a bit of enthusiasm. In this global economic struggle where budgets are ever decreasing it is always a good practice to see what you can put together on a next to zero budget.

Therefore, one sunny Sunday morning my partner (Natalie) and I decided to shoot a quick video for the Doritos 'King of Ads' competition. The emphasis was always on having a bit of fun and not taking it too seriously. We wanted the video to have that fun element seeping in and almost feel like we had just captured these guys playing football and having a laugh.

We had a great group of lads that were more than happy to eat Doritos, play football and have a laugh while doing it. It made for a really relaxed shoot and we can't thank them enough for being such good sports. We shot the whole advert on the new Canon 7D (of which I am fast becoming a big fan of), this allowed us to shoot at a higher frame rate (50fps at 720p) for some of the running shots, this means we can play back at a slow motion speed. 

Our idea was simply based around the World cup Championship. As we get closer and closer to the world cup we are starting to see an increased volume in football related adverts (I should know, I have just done one for KitKat). So we quite simply had Doritos related names on the back of the player's shirts. Peter 'Crunch', Tortilla, Salsa and Doritos. We tried to get the message across saying 'Crunchy Tortilla with Salsa all over it', but that was too obvious so we used 'Crunch, Tortilla dipping in...Oh Salsa is all over it!' Which works a little more subtly and on a few different levels.


We designed the advert so that it could be viewed with or without sound...and it also works if you are just listening to it. Some adverts don't do this and in my opinion it makes for a weak advert if you can't get the product message with visuals only or with audio only. A good example of this is watching a TV in the pub and not being ale to hear it or a radio advert.

We were also conscious of having the hero actually consume the product, this is a huge necessity in advertising and something we knew we needed to get.

We will have our fingers crossed for England in the world cup and or fingers and toes crossed for a taste of the champion chip too! We hope you like the advert!