The Devil is in the details
By now all of you must have heard about the HELGA and Biddo commercials. Especially about the one for HELGA software as IndeWal presented it to the large public on their Grill Masters event. So far we tried to keep away from you on this Blog, without sharing any inside details about the experience of filming a commercial. As you can see beside software development we test our skills on other fields of activity too.
The story began at the end of last year. In December, 2016 there was a need of creating something which helps commercializing two of the biggest software we built. We needed something original, dynamic and colorful, we did not know back then what this should be, a banner, a graphic, a well-designed image, a photo, maybe a Prezi video. After a few discussions with Hans we decided that we won’t do anything cheap, boring, something which can be done by everybody, we wanted something “wow”, a real commercial with real actors and real script. And this is where the adventure started…
Filming the part where inspector is checking the chassis of Wartburg
Although it might seem easy to shoot a 1.5 min video, in reality this looks totally different. We needed a story at first and telling a story about a mobile app is not like a shampoo commercial where a nice lady with nice hair shows up and the message gets right away to consumers. If you are one of our regular customers you know how complex the HELGA software is along with its mobile application. Showing all the business transaction possibilities and features was impossible plus it wouldn’t even fit into 1.5 min and capturing the audience attention in a few seconds is an art. So as I was saying we needed a story for each commercial. All we knew that we wanted to create a luxurious impression with HELGA and a jaunty impression with the Biddo commercial. We ended up with 6 versions of concept for HELGA and 3 versions for Biddo till we decided how the final script should look like.
The preparation period between the 1st discussion and the day of filming was 6 months. We contacted a production company who helped us with basically everything, from getting a suit to creating the graphics in the movie. I cannot even describe how much help we got from their side with all the stuff required to start filming. Imagine that we needed real actors (yes, from the National Theater), costumes, and suits for them, we needed cars, new one and old one, and we needed places, real car services and luxury hotel. Choosing the proper faces for both commercials wasn’t easy at all but after analyzing 12 candidates I think we ended up with 5 great actors. They are exactly how we wanted them in the commercial: the successful business man of HELGA, the sexy nice lady (I know she’s sexy, many of you asked me who she is…so it’s pretty obvious she’s a beauty) who has no clue about cars, the old-fashion grouchy inspector, the cool inspector who is doing inspection on tablet and of course this guy, did you think he was a random person in the movie? Ehh, nothing is random here.
Writing the script was a huge work too, for those who don’t know: script has to be broken down into pieces of milliseconds showing who and what will do at every second of commercial, from which angle scenes have to be captured to leave space for graphics on the final movie. When the filming crew arrives everything has to be very well planned, there is no time to figure out things on the day of filming. Even though everything was scheduled precisely we filmed 4 days in April and May in 4 places. Around 30 people were involved in this project from the movie director to producer, from project manager to hair& make-up artist, light experts, photographer, etc. It was a real team effort to put together this initiative.
Checking for the 52nd time if this scene looks ok
If I would tell you that we used the same equipment which was used for filming The Hobbit, would you believe me? Cause we did film with the same Red Raven 4.5K camera which is often used in Hollywood. We rent a Jaguar F-Pace and a Wartburg 353 from 1977 to make the whole idea even more original. Of course our legs were trembled while driving the Jaguar. Not to mention that dressing up a gentleman is not easy at all, let me describe how we managed to get the final look of the guy from the HELGA commercial:
– White shirt borrowed from the National Theater
– Black tie and black suit – borrowed from Seroussi, one of the biggest male suits producer in this region – contacted at least for 15 times till they agreed to give the suit
– Black leather shoes – borrowed from the National Theater director’s personal wardrobe
– Suitcase – from movie director’s father
– Ray Ban Sunglasses – from my best friend Ildikó, I bet you didn’t even observe he has sunglasses in his hand
– Dutch car magazines brought by Hans in the last minute
– Car keys to throw into the air (to avoid throwing Jaguar’s key and getting ourselves into trouble with car trader company) – borrowed from an old friend of producer
Communication was the key of the well prepared work, we exchanged 84 emails with the movie director, and we had around 30 meetings, 150 text messages and 156 phone calls till everything was ready. When you get involved into a project like this you realize that the Devil is in the details, you must pay attention to every tiny detail of the movie to get a high quality end result.
Paying attention to details
If needed you shoot your movie during night to have the perfect background light (see here), like we did for Biddo commercial, where we started at 9:00 PM and we finished the filming of the scene at 2:00 AM and yes, it’s worth the effort.
One of the golden rules of doing businesses is to avoid making promises you can’t keep. Don’t talk the talk unless you can walk the walk. We promised to ourselves at the end of last year that we will do something “wow” and my presumption is that we did it.