by Eric Koretz
Audi spot is finally up! Check it out here!
Finished a spot for Audi E-tron a while back, directed by the one and only Rob Chiu and produced by Stink. Although it’s been long delayed in being released (hopefully come out soon) here are some behind the scenes pics and descriptions of the process. The spot is a lifestyle piece that focuses on a future that’s right around the corner. The Audi Etron in the spot is a prototype, the piece is about the future of electronic cars and the blending of technology into ones everyday life and the organic nature of it. Rob has a great skill for blending the futuristic with the organic and I think he really nailed this spot.
The Camera package
On the Red Epic we used the Hawk V-Lite Anamorphic lenses and sometimes mixed in the Vantage Blue streak filters. The Hawk V-lites are very sharp, beautiful lenses. Coming in at 20% from their V-series brothers, they are still fairly large and very expensive lenses, but oh-so pretty. We had focal lengths of 28mm, 35mm, 45mm, 55mm, 80mm, and 110mm that all open to a T2.2 (the 110mm is a T3). They have almost no flair and that’s where the blue streak filters come in. If you’re not familiar with streak filters they have lines embeded in the glass, that catch the light and cause flair. They can work fairly well in longer lenses, you just need to watch out for seeing the lines in the flair in wider lenses. We ended up using them in just a few shots when we really wanted the over pronounced flair.
Lighting the Car
We had one day with the Audi E-tron electric car and the rest of the shoot was more intimate filming people living their futuristic organic lives (and what that entails.) The script called for shooting the car in a huge white gallery space. Usually this kind of shot would be done in a studio with a giant soft box overhead, and so we had to create our own. Car lighting is a lot about shaping reflections in the panels of the car, and getting a nice soft light around it. Because it was an all white car and background reflections didn’t have to be controlled as much and so we focused on giving the car and environment a nice look and contrast ratio.
We had a mixture of units in play. From the side and back we had a few 1.2 and 1.8 and a 4K par for hitting the talent and back edging the car. The ceiling was white as well so we were able to shape our own overhead softbox by hitting another 4K HMI par and 12K HMI into it giving a nice top bounce. We skirted off the front near camera to control the bounce.
To add a bit of pop in the background and give the shot a more futuristic edge we string kino tubes in the background that were used in the shot. We worked with art department to add little cardboard sconces in between to make the lights feel architectural.
Lighting the future guy in front of the car
A lot of the spot involved the actors interacting with glass displays that would eventually have graphics added on in post. Below we have the actor interacting with a glass interface with the car in the background. We made sure we positioned the glass to catch the reflections of the other lights for this closeup.
The actor is mainly lit with LED’s from Outsight, the Creamsource classic and the Creamsource Mini Bender (more on the blender later). The Creamsource lights are really well made, powerful leds with the classic equivalent to a 575 Hmi and the Doppio equivalent to a 800w hmi. You can see the specs for the mini here and the classic here. Lots of punch but can also serve as a big soft light with diffusion. They’re also dimmable with no color shift. The blender you can vary color temperature with. They’re also low profile so you can fit them into lots of thin locations. We had a cyan gel on the lights to mimic the light from the screen, and kept the edge light a cooler white to match the background car lighting.
Matthews DC Slider
We also found the Matthews DC slider to be very usefull. The slider is great because you can use it both as a short jib and slider. This shoot used lots of handheld operation but when we needed to use the slider it was fast to setup and easy to use.
An experimental video we did showing building the slider. We suported the slider with C-stands which normally isnt necessary, however we were on the edge of the weight limit and wanted to make sure it was secure. The HD DC slider was not out yet that handles the heavier cameras and would have handled it without problems. The DC can definitely handle a stripped down Epic though.
Lighting the woman on the road in a different car
Part of the shoot involved filming a woman looking out the window of her car on the way to the beach house. The graphics are to be overlaid onto the window.
This shot was in downtown Los Angeles, mixing the beautiful reflections of the downtown buildings, and the light that we had mounted above the camera.
The red monitor was hard mounted to the rig so I could see it and adjust exposure (I was riding in the passenger seat). The above pics are from the daylight car shots. For the night time we mounted the Cream source Bender to the rig above the Camera. This is where the Creamsource really shined. The Blender allows you to change color temperatures on the fly from 2700k-6500k. I had a remote that let me cycle through the color temps, as well as dim up and down. As the reflections changed on the window we would change the lighting to match it, as well as dimming in and out to match the street lamps. It really worked perfectly for the car shots. The bender has an equivalent to a 200w HMI (or 400W when running in middle of the color range).
The table of the Future
Lastly we needed to have a futuristic table during one of the office shots. Production design brought in a clear plexy glass table and we stuck our light ribbon LED’s from Litegear around the outside of it to create a cool glow and reflection across the glass. I’m trying to build one of these tables for my house right now I liked it so much. I won’t give all the shots away but we used lite gear lite ribbons alot in this piece. Their lights are quick to setup, have high CRI, are dimmable and you have different options in terms of color temperature and output. I use them all the time.
Hopefully the Audi Etron video will be out soon. Will update this post when it’s released. Thanks to my amazing Gaffer Tim Gillis, The equally amazing Key Grip Greg Karamov and AC Leoncio Provoste.
Written by Eric Koretz