When you’re given a concept and let loose to record as much as you think you may need to fulfill that concept, putting said concept to physical, and literal reality can be a tricky thing. During the concept to paper phase of any project you might go through a handful of sketches, and unfinished ideas that ultimately get rejected. Some of them you might save if they resonate with you despite being wrong for the project. This is what happened when I was hired to shoot a commercial for the Gelato Fiasco guys. Essentially they wanted a piece which spoke to the Portland sweet icy dessert crowd announcing ‘We’re Here!’. My approach was to bring the audience in with establishing shots illustrating what makes Portland great from a local hometown small city perspective. Streets, avenues, cobblestones, parks, signage, architecture that, if you lived here, would undoubtedly pass by every day without giving much thought. Also keep in mind the time of year is somewhere between late fall and early winter when everything looks dry and harsh compared to any other time of year. I was able to shoot a little bit inside the store, during regular hours, so everyone you see in front of the counter are the real McKoy’s, not actors. Much like shooting a wedding, you as the videographer have to be nimble, and adaptable to your surroundings. Gauge the comfort level of your subject and decide to move in or give them more freedom. Judge weather person X has a more affable, likable, transmittable to screen, personality than person Y – all in a matter of seconds. You have to anticipate where and when a shot of spontaneous levity or quirk will occur and make every effort to catch it. And, regardless of your best intentions, inevitably, you have to get in somebody’s way, and politely mouth ‘excuse me’ and move yourself to where you need to be.
This is the long version I initially cut for the client. I picked a placeholder soundtrack which I really ended up liking. You should never fall in love with your first cut, because you know it’s far from perfect. After some feedback I shaved the timing down by 44 seconds. The original duration was 2:11. New duration is 1:28.
Ultimately we all concluded that the music just didn’t fit with the image we all wanted to portray. If I had to critique it I might say it seemed a little too emo perhaps. So in an unusual move I decided to go back to my original piece and scrap the music in exchange for something more family friendly. It’s always amazing to me how much of an influence music can have on the visual impact of motion picture.
We all liked this artist, but knew the length had to be drastically cut for the amount of broadcast air time on TV that we had which was only 30 seconds. I cut out 99% of all of my favorite outdoor shots and get surgically precise in the rest of my clips to make room for titles, and telling a tight compact narrative in half a minute.