A constant search for sunshine
Chronicle by Daniel Elfström, Muskot Media
I got the assignment to produce three new commercials for Nyhléns Hugosons, a regional food producer. I came up with a pretty good script for the films which included the requested keywords: Sweden, BBQ and summer. In short: Three locations, six actors and three sunny
Since the Swedish July weather is not to be trusted, we decided to make a production period of nine days and then hope that we could get three sunny days out of this period. We decided to go with amateur actors, who lack experience, but compensate it by putting more naive
energy and optimism into it, something I needed for this script.
Early on, me and the Hasse (DOP) were choosing between using more crew or a better camera, we went with the RED camera and fired a couple of guys that we hadn't hired yet, no harm done. We decided to go with the full monty and shoot it in 4K. An easy decision if your only interest is resolution, but as an editor I had objections due to the massive data rate created by this format.
We made a test shot outside Stefan Hencz garage to try out different workflows in post. Actually, when shooting 4K on red, you're bound to almost one workflow with editing proxy's and an endless chain of different exports to get the film from offline to online. Even though, we wanted to try out the entire workflow to be 100% sure it would work. It did!
First day of shooting. The location was an island just outside Luleå. Hundred meters wide and two hundred meters long, it provided some of the most beautiful Swedish scenery I've ever seen, you could shoot at least a dozen commercials there on the theme: Swedish summer.
The downside came on the first day of shooting: Logistics. It took a five men crew with just camera and grip equipment (no electrical light) three hours to get there and then three hours to get home. Beside this logistic nightmare, we had some nice footage and great performances
from both crew and actors.
The next film was at a pool villa in Sävast, North-West of Luleå. A walk in the park compared to "the location of the seven seas" we had experienced a couple of days earlier. You could actually drive up to the location, what could go wrong? The weather.
The Hasse (DOP) wanted to start shooting at two a clock to get the sun from the right angle.
You have no idea how bad the weather can be around lunch in Sävast, for an entire week. The shoot was pushed one day at the time. A gently but terrifying process at the same time. The irony is that most of these cancelled days had sunny mornings and evenings. Finally, the deadline was coming to close; we sat a date for the shoot, no matter what.
This Sunday started out fantastic. I will not go into the script, but the scene was a woman by the BBQ and her husband floating on an inflatable chair in the pool. After shooting the close-ups on the husband, we started to rig for the wide shot, which was the last shot with the husband.
Then the inflatable chair exploded. We had one chair, even worse; we had bought the last inflatable chair in the store. At the same time a big, dark lunch-time-Sävast-cloud started to appear.
We repaired the chair with gaffa tape and managed to shoot through the rest of the script in just 15 min. The chair was in such a bad condition, that it had to be inflated between the shots and on the last take the rain started to fall. Not the greatest day of my life, but one of the most memorable.
The last film (the one that was ment to be shot at the beautiful island but was re-located due to logistics) was shot at Mjölkuddsberget in Luleå. The funny thing about this film is that everything went fantastic. Fantastic weather, fantastic actors, fantastic crew, fantastic footage and hopefully a fantastic film. Boring, but true.
The whole production started out tricky, got worse and ended fantastic. A great experience.
Tips and trix:
- Don't use the sun as a light source, calculate for the biggest HMI there is on the market.
- Buy two inflatable chairs!
- Don't trust a crappy director with the catering responsibility, it will suck!
Director/Producer - NyhlénsHugosons 2009
Hans Engström - Fotograf
TorUlf Öhman - Elektriker/Passare
Niklas Lundin - Great ass
Client: Nyhléns Hugosons
Production name: Grilltajm 2010 or the BBQ that rocked