Last year I had the great fun of working with the Phoenix-based agency Riester on a series of three anti-smoking spots for the Arizona Bureau of Tobacco Education and Prevention. The finished spots were held up briefly, but finally airing in Arizona. Here are all three—click through to view them in fancy YouTube HD (link is below and to the right of the movie)!
You may notice that some of the footage appears to be hand-cranked. In fact, the entire spot was shot on the Panavision Genesis, a camera that quite prominently lacks a hand crank. So my DP (the brilliant Carlos Veron) and I shot the hand-crank sections at an even 50 fps (the Genesis's max), and then editor Gregory Nussbaum (of Pictures in a Row) and I ran the shots through the very same hand-crank After Effects project that I included in The DV Rebel's Guide.
Of course, some of the hand-cranked shots contain visual effects (supervised by Ryan Tudhope). As I told the crew at the kickoff meeting, it's not a Stu job unless we're doing something annoying with time. Ryan's animators actually worked at 50 fps on the original plate, and then rendered only the frames called for by the hand-crank retiming curve. This allowed them to be as surprised and annoyed by the hand-crank effect as the live action crew!
By shooting at 50 fps, we got smoother 24p results from the hand-crank effect, as it had more frames to pull from. You can do the same if your camera has a 60p or 60i mode (50 for PAL), as most do. All of this is explained in The Guide.
Carlos also shot wide-open much of the time. The combination of Super35 sensor, overcranking, and wide dynamic range (since we'd be shooting outdoors in direct sun) meant that the Genesis was really the only digital camera I felt we could use for this campaign. We almost didn't get one, which would have meant resorting to, gasp, film!
Orphanage colorist Aaron Rhodes graded the spots in Film Master, creating LUTs that the VFX artists used to preview their work with proper color. We used much the same workflow as we did on The Spirit.
These spots have everything I love, performance, cinematography, and a worthwhile message. I'm proud of them and delighted that I can finally share them with you. You can also watch them in their native habitat on the very cool web site developed to anchor the campaign: venomocity.com.