The brief required that a representative cross section of the Dutch population should be somehow connected by a strong visual technique. Each person would say either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to being an organ donor and yeses and nos would be integrated into the Dutch happy birthday song. The idea from the camera juggling sequence in the Bluetones video fitted very well.
This was shot in South Africa for weather and suitable locations. Relaxed, easy crowd surfing was harder than it looks.
Many plate spinners were gathered together to achieve this ident. It was on the edge of the crane capability to make this geometric move. We extended the arm to get high enough for the framing of the 2.
Casting for this commercial was done by putting up notices in swimming pools. We filmed for 2 days at a pool and Jamie, who appears in ‘Waterwork’ came over to Holland to help teach people to blow circular bubbles.
This commercial was realised in post production. The people were filmed walking on a treadmill in a green screen studio with the camera on a dolly on circular tracks. Some elements such as posts and small bushes were also in the studio. The background was constructed out of locked off camera shots at the various locations and then joined together as a very long digital movie strip. Finally the strip was moved past behind the people at the right speed to match the circular tracking.
Taking ideas from my early film ‘Expanded Movie’, this commercial was shot by combining two lenses designed for cinemascope shooting. Looking through the camera the image is squashed or squeezed by a factor of 4 in one direction. At one point a tram comes round a corner leaning over and passes a vertical red post. In reality the post was leaning at an angle of about 40 degrees to the ground. It was quite bizarre to compare the reality with the camera view. In a very early experiment of this technique I used a Frank Zappa track for the sound which greatly influenced the music recording we made for the commercial.
Having used the Satelite crane on several commercials I wanted to push the idea further by using cross-over wipes, where one scene appears to linger into the next. Also we did not always position the camera so that it looks straight down in the centre of the arc. The concept seemed to be perfect for the technique, bringing together a great variety of locations and uniting them with movement.
These one-shot spots for the Dutch mobile phone network, Ben, were part of a very large campaign by Dutch agency Kessels Kramer. They were low budget with simple set-ups and no post production apart from the text. The launderette spot was quite difficult to achieve. Cables for zoom control and monitor had to be wrapped around the drum before being unravelled in the take. The girl in the jacket with tassels is in the ‘Orbal’ that features in the film ‘Geometry & Gravity’.
This was shot on location in Morocco and France. The film camera was mounted on a rigid sheath, cast to fit the arm of the performer. Not the most comfortable rig. The narrow footbridge was cantilevered off the side of a truck parked on a road bridge.
This commercial was shot on large sets at Pinewood Studios. The camera was mounted on a Super Technocrane, a large jib crane that can also extend in length. We raised the crane up onto a platform so that we could maximise the reach vertically. Six people were operating the camera, pan & tilt, zoom, focus and three on the crane. They were able to repeat the move, positions and timing incredibly accurately. Each shot is about 13 seconds, which is long in a commercial, and some people thought it would be too long, but when we started shooting we found it nearly impossible to achieve in the time. The clients hated the result and chopped it up with stock footage of cities at night.
We shot this in Almeria, Southern Spain. We had two BMW cars for the end shots, they arrived in a big truck and were not supposed to be driven more than 20km or the agency would have to pay for them. The agency producer worried about this and we enjoyed exaggerating the mileage when he asked after each take.
This was filmed in Australia and New Zealand, partly justified because we needed a corn field in February. The underwater shot was made on the Great Barrier Reef off Cairns. While we filmed a shoal of jellyfish came by which looked amazing but freaked out the swimmer. Quite often people fail to notice the woman rising up off the ground in the beach shot.
This was the first commercial I directed. It was shot in a studio in Milan on big cyclorama sets. I was trying to quickly figure out exactly what was expected of me as director and what the job was. I soon realised that it was not much different to making work on my own, I had to make a lot of decisions as usual but now other people carried them out. During the shoot I had to invent a way to achieve the last shot and ended up sending for my own tripod which could make the 90degree tilt.
This was filmed at the Brewery in Brick Lane, London and at a North London park. We set up in the park in pouring rain with the crane getting stuck in the mud. I remember asking the band members to run at one point and they complained that they were always asked to run in their videos. At the time many music videos featured bands running around. My favourite shot, with the guy juggling the camera, I developed further in the recent organ donation TV spot for Holland.
I had just bought a 35mm film camera and this was the first thing I used it for. The rolling shape I originally made as a student, it was filmed rolling on a mirror with the camera upside down. We travelled around with the big mirror on the roof of my car looking for suitable locations. ‘The Orb’ put us in touch with the brilliant juggler. I like to show it on a big screen so that the film becomes a changing light source.