ad spot proposal
I have a prospective client looking for a quote on shooting 3 ad spots. I don't know where to start, as I do mostly corporate video. Basically they want to shoot one spot that' similar to the Corona Spots we're all familiar with. Lock down camera on a lake framed behind a couple on lounge chairs as they read. There's sand and a lake in front of them but behind any action. A golf ball lands then a golfer walks into frame and hits the ball out of frame and keeps going.
The other 2 spots revolve around action in front of the water or in the water (on a pontoon boat and a swimmer in the water at camera level. One scene calls for a golfer who get's splashed by a water skier going by as he putts.
Here's my questions.
1. What format should we shoot and edit in? HD? Film? Betacam? These would be local spots on Cable.
2. How would we shoot these scenes, especially from a lighting scenario. Would you hire a grip truck?
3. Would I need a underwater shooter?
4. For three spots like this, how much time would you suggest for the shoot?
5. How would you handle inclimate weather in your contract? I assume that all talent and crew would still need to be paid regadless of rainouts.
Any other thoughts or suggestions? Thanks much.
Why shoot the spots in high def if the cable channel is only playing them in standard def? Ask the cable company for the delivery format they take.
Local spot, I'd shoot it in beta, second choice DVC-Pro or DV-CAM.
You might be surprised how much grip gear it takes to shoot something "natural-looking" outdoors. Overhead butterflies, scrims, reflectors are what you'd use the most, though an HMI or two may come into play. You'll need hefty power for those, but these spots look like they don't have any on-camera sounds or dialog delivery that can't be looped or foleyed in post, so generator noise is not going to be a factor.
Plan to bring along polarizing filters for working near the water. A set of grads and a matte box would be apropriate.
Underwater photog may be overkill for a local spot unless you find a local dive nut that will handle this part just for fun. An old trick to get on-the-waterline or just-below-the-waterline shots on the cheap is to put the camera inside a dry, empty, leak-tested aquarium, then float/hold the aquarium in the water and adjust in depth and angle so the lens is on the level you want. Lens must be right up against the aquarium glass wall or you'll get reflection trouble. Of course, any little mistake and you've dunked the camera, so be careful!
The hardest gag on your list is the guy getting drenched by the waterskier. This could be dangerous if you are trying to shoot from the water side and have the skier and boat come between you and the shore. You'd need real pro boat drivers and skiers/stuntpeople for that. If the terrain was such that you could hang the camera on a jib higher than the skier or boat could hit, that might work. Or you put a stepladder out in the water to make a stable platform, place the camera on it, lock down a telephoto shot and back away until the skier goes thru, maybe, but that's still a big hazard to the boat and skier. Slightly less dangerous would be to replace the skier with a person driving a jetski, as we remove the tow boat and rope from the equation. You still can get the big on-shore wake splash of the golfer you were looking for, maybe better than a waterskier could do, and it can be done at lower overall speed, which reads better on camera and is safer.
Shooting that from the land side certainly can work and that would be somewhat safer all around, and cheaper and safer to the camera. A raincoat for the camera would probably be enough unless you're shooting too close.
The first "corona style" shoot should be knocked out in an hour. Set it up earlier in the day then shoot it at magic hour before dusk. Figure a half-day for that shoot altogether.
The pontoon one? Didn't give me enough detail to make a good guess, a loose guess would be a half-day.
The golfersplash needs most of a day, if you're going to try multiple takes, plan for extra sets of dry clothes or a way to clean/dry on site. Plus away to re-groom the area of the shot after each pass. You will need to coordinate the shoot with the lake patrol or local authorities whatever those are, for safety and legal purposes and just because it's th right thing to do.
As to rain-outs, you still need to get paid for the gear rentals and the folks who gave up the chance to do something else productive in order to be available for you. Discuss what's fair, half-day or full-day if postphoned for weather. Book two shoots about three days apart to cover the weather. Where I live the cycle is pretty much seven days, so if day one is cloudy/rain day seven will likely be as well. That's wjhy I say three days apart, gives the front time to move thru before another one comes in.
A few additional questions. Are all these items on a typical Grip truck package? Would you think a 1 ton grip truck would do the job. What kind of HMIs? Would you go with 1200"s? How big of a generator? Would a 6.5 KW 50 Amp do? You're right...generator noise would ot be a factor.
The pontoon boat spot features a group on the boat with the lake's treeline in the background, the camea pulls back and a guy snorkeling pops out of the water between the camera and the boat no farther in the background. This is where the camera needs to be eye level with the snorkeler. Do you think that fish tank will work< or would we need an underwater housing?
Grip trucks vary, but butterflies, scrims and reflector boards should be staples in most any truck. Ask ahead. You'll need lots of extra stands to hold them, or friends willing to stand very still for long periods of time:-) One of the problems with reflectors is you will have to re-adjust every five minutes or so as the sun moves, so it will be take, re-set, take, re-set all day until you get a take you like. The biggest bear to me for location shooting is good sound, though, and this will not be a problem for you on these jobs.
You can economize and take your pickup to Lowe's or Home Depot or the like and buy 4x8 foam panels sheathed on one side with a foil backing, these can make good reflector material in the field as they are light but way stiffer than foam core sheets. A stake or pipe section pushed thru them into the soft ground and you have a way to aim them hands-off. For butterflies you can make your own frames out of PVC pipe or thin-walled electrical conduit, and a diffusing material from a sewing store, like tulle or ripstop white nylon. Tyvek housewrap is good sometimes, but more expensive in large sizes.
As to the lights, well, I really can't get more specific from where I'm sitting, maybe you need one or two for a certain shot or to add fill in a sunrise/sunset shot, maybe you can make it all work with bounce boards. Look up the ratings on the genny and remember to allow extra capacity for the extra lengths of stingers you run from it, and their gauge. Since audio is not an issue, you can keep the runs really short, and probably run 2 small HMI's off the genny no problem. For this kind of thing you're doing, maybe a Joker-Bug is all you really need. Be really careful around the shore with this stuff, best you have a real electrician with you if you're going to use the lights near the water.
As to the pontoon boat shot, you would have to have a guy in the water with the aquarium-cam, with his feet firmly on the lake bottom, so you're talking no deeper than maybe 4.5-5 feet. I can only speak for myself that for a low budget job like this I would risk it myself. If you're just not comfortable enough for that, you could buy an enclosure, B&H sells tons in the hard shell and bag styles. But that's gonna be really expensive for a betacam. Maybe you shoot that spot, or the water part of it anyway, with smaller DV camcorders, is what I'm thinking.
You could also just make a little periscope and use it in reverse: looking from the boat down to the water line, and keeping the cameras dry... Any image reversals can be fixed in post.