Web Ad: Comar Law

Created as a pro bono short web commercial for Inder Comar and his new law firm in early spring 2012. Produced by VOM Productions in association with the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking. Full discussion after the jump.

All post-production (color grade, motion graphics, editing) by VOM Productions. Directed by Randy Hall. Cinematography by Laura Kay Rudat, with additional photography by Randy Hall. Production sound by Navjyot Bandiwadekar. Voiceover by Randy Hall.

Interior “hero” shots were filmed on a RED Scarlet with Nikon 50mm and 85mm prime lenses (with Canon EF adapter). Exterior shots shot on Canon 60D DSLR with Canon EF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens. Sound recorded on Marantz PMD-660 with AKG Perception 150 cardioid on boompole, as well as a Sennheiser G2 wireless lav.

A fun indoor shoot, relaxed and congenial overall. Inder Comar (the “hero” of the commercial) arrived and we mostly played with a couple different “scenes”, of which both ended up being used in this spot. Working with the RED camera is a mixed bag, since the Scarlet is a pretty noisy package, making it really difficult to get really close shots involving dialogue without a huge room and long lenses. The only thing worse than working with the camera itself is working with the footage. Admittedly, a hero shot like we did for Inder is not really playing to the RED’s strengths. That said, we had to really light the scene sufficiently in order to keep the RED’s Mysterium-X sensor from being overly noisy. I’m sure the EPIC is better, but it wasn’t my favorite camera to work with.

For the outdoor footage, I was really up against the deadline, I needed a sunny morning to go out and capture a time lapse sunrise. The weather for March and April of 2012 in Northern California will be remembered as some of the wettest spring months ever. Nary a sunrise was to be had. So by the time I got the time lapse footage (actually captured on Spring Mountain Road just past the Napa/Sonoma county line), I was only days from needing to be finished. Then I turned toward finding a location to tell the “story” of the flower in the forest. I ended up using a sunset, and even then the fog was coming in over the western hills of Sonoma County. Damn! Regardless, I got the shots I needed and bent toward assembling the piece. It turns out that it cut together pretty well. With some motion smoothing to make a handheld “dolly” shot look better and various color correction techniques (and Red Giant’s Magic Bullet), the piece came together in post quite nicely.

The voiceover was fun, in that I recorded the script in a makeshift sound booth constructed of sound-deadening panels and moving blankets. With a flashlight and an Audio Technica AT-3035 mic, I proceeded to bring the gravitas. Funny though, when I listened to the recording it really didn’t have the gravitas. Nevertheless, with capable post sound skills, I was able to pitch shift and EQ the voiceover to what you hear in the piece. Not quite Don Capone, but then again I don’t have the budget for that!Randy Hall