Create a beautiful series of spots for linear and digital to tell the story of how an active young explorer relies on her dependable Subaru to experience the world and appreciate nature.
We’re all about the Pre Pro, baby
We know that this annual campaign has been awarded to other shops in years prior so the pressure was on to learn best practices while pushing the creative for our partners at NatGeo. We had seen many of the past spots and could dissect what worked for us and what we wanted to experiment with making stronger. We researched many references to get a sense of what was resonating and what we hoped to achieve and what we noticed was how many driving shots had harsh shadows that split over the talents face or neck. Our goal was beautiful elegant lighting with a soft fall off and we were able to accomplish this (without being able to use a process trailer on the narrow roads) and tactically plotting the shoot schedule. We carefully planned and tested different lighting setups, along with our MoviPro and our exciting new lens/ filter combo that finally came in at the end of 2018. And what is unique to us is that we’re not only the Director and Director of Photography but the Editors and Colorists as well. Creating and adhering to an established color palette and strictly timed out animatic made for few surprises in the edit and color correction process, being able to provide the first rough cut in only a few days.
And if we are ever going to bring on a production partner we guarantee they will be amazing. We worked through our camera-car and drone flight paths with the always awesome LA based DroneDudes, studying the sun position/strength, road conditions (avoiding those tar snakes!) and weather at the location to pin point the best opportunities for strong aerial reveals around the mountain.
72 and Windy
Shooting in LA is usually easy peasy. But in early 2019, a killer combination of wildfires and a record breaking government shutdown made it a challenge. Lucky for us, we love a good challenge. After holding out for the feds to get their sh*t together, we realized Plan B was in order and two weeks before filming Executive Producer, Monesha Lever worked with a local scout to find a lush and sprawling private ranch outside the city. Complete with rolling green hills courtesy of prior weeks of rain and ancient tree groves, this place was perfect. But it did not fulfill the original ask of being a forest location providing both a hiking scene and epic overlook for the close so we had to improvise. Our recommendation was to film our talent making her way up this epic countryside, stopping to journal under an old oak tree and photograph a group of grazing horses in a bucolic meadow. Her driving adventure all culminating in a breathtaking sunset atop the highest peak on the mountain.
And after scout day, it was clear we needed to put Plan C in place because we weren’t avoiding the 17-mph winds that had befallen our shoot week. Everything from the foreground water on the ground, Delta 6/ Alexa Mini/Optimo Zoom drone combo in the air, running horses and an important car feature shot were all under attack. We needed to shift around the shoot schedule, swap our plans to put the Delta 6 in the sky for the Inspire II and move the horse drone and grazing shots to a more safe and reliable part of the mountain. We also were able to use to the 1-Ton Grip Truck to block the massive wind gusts atop the highest overlook point which enabled us to get the necessary portrait shots of our talent driving, exiting the car and closing the trunk.
2 days, 1 explorer, 2 drones, 1 camera car, 1 Movi, 1 mountain, 6 horses and 17-mph winds.
The paved pad where we filmed the final sunset scene (what we called HP2) was created for one scene in the 2001 film, Swordfish where they drop a bus on what is supposedly the top of a skyscraper overlooking LA.