Our most recent filming project was logistically the most challenging project we've worked on, but undoubtedly one of the funniest, most bizarre shoots we've completed thus far.
March 17, 2021
Two Brooks, an up and coming hard-seltzer company based in London, approached us in late 2020 and asked to collaborate with them as their video production partners. Since starting in December 2020, we've created a whole range of content for them. From feature pieces to social media shorts and lifestyle photography, we've provided them with a whole range of high quality content showing off their products and the overall brand. Our most recent filming project was logistically the most challenging project we've worked on, but undoubtedly one of the funniest, most bizarre shoots we've completed thus far.
Concept Development / Idea Generation
After discussions with their team and a number of internal brainstorming sessions, we pitched a series of ideas that we thought would best achieve their aims for the first quarter of the year. We paid close attention to the brand's voice and proposed ideas that were highly shareable, but that also incorporated humour. To help sell the 'All About The Natural' idea, we drafted a rough script and recorded a draft voiceover to give the team a taste of what the video would sound like. After a final group discussion over zoom, the team shortlisted their favourite ideas. With a few quick amendments to the script, we were ready to search for our semi-naked actors...
Sourcing The Appropriate Actors
We knew from the outset that we would face an uphill battle. What actor in their right mind would be willing to perform almost entirely naked in nude-coloured underwear, in the middle of a pandemic, in 6°C rainy conditions.
Luckily, these guys were! The above actors (Stephen Coldbeck, Shobi Miller-Lawson, Aminha Kweku, Megan Buxton and Andrew Goulding) were shortlisted based on their differing characteristics. We wanted a young, diverse group that wouldn't look out of place in any other office in the UK. We chose younger actors to match Two Brooks' target demographic.
Due to the nature of the shoot, we knew there would be last-minute changes and complications. Having to rely on the weather was one of the major hurdles we faced.
Regardless of the season, the weather can make or break a shoot. The difference between an overcast day and a sunny day can greatly affect what a video looks like when completed. In the case of this video, we needed weather that was somewhat suitable for our actors to stand in half naked (i.e. not raining or windy). Although the weather conditions would not affect the deliverable itself, we had to consider the cast and crew’s well-being. As a result, we rearranged the shoot twice. In effect, this disrupted the whole chain of logistics: location hire, prop hire, vehicle hire, actors contracts, actors availability, and much more.
Building an office in the middle of the British countryside is, in itself, a logistical nightmare. Sourcing a company willing to help us was additionally causing us headaches. Many companies were rightly hesitant to lend us furniture in fear of it getting muddy, and some flatly refused. We also battled with how we would build the set in time for the shoot, contemplating whether we could build the night before to save time. Ultimately, we decided that leaving the desks out overnight would have left them damp, and opted for a 7am load in on the day instead. We were lucky to receive support from Lancashire County Council who kindly offered us a range of office equipment that was in storage. With a box van on hand, we loaded everything up ready for the big day.
On the morning of the shoot, we arrived at the crack of dawn to begin setting up our outdoor office in a remote countryside field. Three hours later, the gazebo was up, the desks were out, and we were ready and raring to go. After the additional crew and actors arrived, we gave a brief site tour and a general overview to the team of how the day would unfold. The nude-coloured underwear was distributed, and the actors were ready for action.
Filming and improvising
Most of the shots were pre-planned and outlined on a shot-list prior to production. After assessing the group dynamic on the day of filming and watching how the actors bounced off one another, we improvised additional scenes, assigning each actor to different roles that we thought best suited their characteristics and personality. This changed our plan for filming as we found ourselves using a more run-and-gun approach, as the actor's natural comedic personalities made for great filming material.
Over the course of the day, the shoot ran smoothly with few issues (other than a few cold actors)! As we approached the final scene of the day, to our surprise, the police arrived. It was reported that someone locally had complained about a group of people (us) breaking lockdown rules. The optics certainly seemed strange to anyone outside the production, so who could blame their concern? The situation was soon resolved, and after finishing our closing scene, we began the mammoth task of taking down the set, packing up and heading home.
Having pre-written/recorded the script and planned out the shot sequence prior to filming, we already had a good idea of how the video would look when completed in post. Over the course of several days, our team worked on putting pieces of the puzzle together. The main challenge was to make it seem like the actors weren't wearing underwear, as this would ultimately ruin the ad.
To do this, we used a colour mask in Final Cut Pro to isolate the underwear and change its colour to be closer to that of the actor's skin colour. We then pixellated this section of the frame and made a few final tweaks. This was then painstakingly tracked frame-by-frame to the actor by our editors. A few minor amendments were made to the piece prior to its sign off and eventual launch.
Overall, the project was a success and both our team and Two Brooks were extremely happy with the final result. Check it out below!