The catch? He films it all in his dining room with a minimal amount of gear. So minimal, that anyone with a camera, a couple lights and some editing software could do it.
I took some of his advice from his video below, and made my own ‘Daniel Schiffer’ style commercial. Below, you will see how I did it and you can check out the finished video at the bottom of the blog.
First Things First: Pre-Production
First off, I had to choose a brand. I wanted to make an ad that was vibrant, exciting, and fun. And who better suited that than the drink company, Bubly?
Next, was to write out a production plan and storyboard. For these types of videos, the storyboard isn’t an exact science. It’s a bouncing board for ideas. Most of the time, getting creative while you’re in production is how you get your best shots. That said, it’s a good idea to make sure your key shots are planned going into any shoot.
A few of the shots I wanted to film:
The Main Event: Production
Wide Opening Shot:
This is an introduction shot to our main character – the drink. To add a bit of dynamism, the can is spinning.
Close up of Can Opening:
A shot of the can tab opening on its own. This would require some masking out in post.
Wide Shot of Flying Fruit:
In order to show the flavour of the Bubly can, I wanted to show fruit flying in from the bottom frame.
Like most of Daniel Schiffer’s videos, I too filmed this at home with a minimal amount of gear, including:
- Sony A7S
- Sony 28-70mm lens
- Standard tripod
- Aperture AL-MX light
- Godox SL-60W light
- Ring light
- Paper diffusers
- Green/blue screen
Here’s what I learned from filming:
Use a Spray Bottle
Wet the can with a spray bottle before filming, this will give the illusion that the can is cold.
Shoot in Slow-Mo
If your camera is capable, it’s a good idea to shoot at 60fps or more. This way, you can slow down the shots in post to give it a cinematic effect.
Use Lots of Light
Especially when shooting at 60fps or more, you need lots of light. Granted, I only had two proper lights at the time, but I made it work by placing white bristol board around the can, making the can appear much brighter.
Diffuse the Light
Pointing a harsh light at a reflective surface will almost always show up as an overexposed spot on camera, otherwise known as a hot-spot. If you don’t have a diffuser, try reflecting the light off of a bounce card or large white piece of bristol board.
Green Screen tips:
- Make sure you properly light the green screen. It needs to be evenly lit or else it won’t key out properly in post
- Don’t place the green screen too close to the object you’re filming. This will cast a green tint onto the object and it will be very hard to remove in post.
- If you’re using an object that has green on it (or a shade similar) use a blue screen! I used a blue screen for the flying fruit because there was a little bit of green on the peaches
As a Video Editor, this is my favourite part. It’s the part where you can take all the shots you filmed in production and make them into something totally different and unique. The Wide Opening Shot, I ended up using about four times throughout the whole commercial, just in different ways.
These are the steps I took in post-production:
The best way to be an efficient editor is to be organized. Especially with projects like this one, where there’s lots of motion graphics, text animations, etc. I set my folder structure up properly, so that I knew exactly where everything was.
First I laid out my assembly edit, which is essentially all the best takes in one sequence.
I chose based on:
- Proper Focus
- Best Framing
- Best Lighting
Editing Shots with Motion Graphics
I like to edit the hardest shots first to get them out of the way. Also if something isn’t filmed right (green screen isn’t covering the entire frame, object isn’t lit properly, etc.) then I know early on that I need to do a re-shoot.
I used After Effects mostly, but also used Premiere Pro for some of the more simple graphics. For this video, all I really needed to do was key out green/blue screens and key frame objects.
The trickiest shot of them all, was the tab opening shot. These are actually two different shots added into one. The reason being, the tab opened slightly crooked so I had to rotate it in post and add a different shot of a can on top of it. Then added a bubbles/spray effect that I found online for when the tab opens.
Sound Design, Music, and Logos
Once the hard part was finished, all I had to do was add in the shots without graphics, add a layer of sound design, and add text animations. Most of the SFX for the video were quite easy to find. I used wooshes, can opening, and bubbles sound effects for the corresponding parts.
The last thing I did was look up Bubly’s slogan and animate it into the end frame.
Overall, Here’s are my 3 takeaways:
#1 Plan As Much As You Can
Always plan for more shots than you think you’ll need. Some will not work out in production, and that’s okay, but at least you’ll have back ups if need be.
#2 Cut What’s Not Working
You need to be brutally honest with yourself in the editing process. Maybe you spent an hour filming this one shot that is really not working in post. If you can’t make it work, take it out. Only use your best shots.
#3 Nothing is Too Crazy
Especially with product commercials like this one, nothing is too extreme. If it fits with the brand’s characteristics, then just try it. Play around with what you have. And don’t be afraid to be creative with it. It may just work out in your favour.