Hennesy Hammock approached us to create two short videos that would showcase each of their products - the Hex Fly, and their newly-released Leaf Asymmetric Hammock - in an exciting way. Through extensive discussion and research, we determined that these products were targeting two very different audiences that would be best presented with two separate pieces. The client agreed, and we decided to move forward with two separate videos that each spoke to their targeted demographic.
Our video showcasing the Hex Fly would be targeted at the hardcore outdoors-person looking for a product that was rugged and dependable in a wide range of elements. The video for the Leaf would be geared towards the casual hammock enthusiast looking for on-the-go lounging, and would feature a youthful and up-beat feel.
We provided the client with 3 “big picture” concepts for each video, as well as style references based on their needs, target audiences, and budget. Once they chose their preferred concepts, we got to work on putting together an animatic. An “animatic” uses reference images or video edited together to create a video representation of the project. An animatic is both helpful for the director and the client to work through pacing, action, framing, and shot lists.
We knew that we needed scenic roads and a wooded area for camping, which was simple, but we also needed access to power and water so we could make it rain during our shoot. These requirements made things a bit more difficult, but we contacted a number of campgrounds and scouted the surrounding areas in order to find the perfect location.
We put out two casting calls, looking for two very different actors for two very different audiences. Again, we ran into some unexpected difficulties but were able to overcome each obstacle.
For the “Hex Fly” shoot, we put out a call for an outdoorsy male between the ages of 25-40 who owned a motorcycle. Finding a male actor who fit all of our requirements, as well as rode AND owned a motorcycle turned out to be quite difficult, but after a week of posting to listings, contacting agencies, and even posting on Craigslist, we found our actor.
After finalizing all of the details, we put together a shot list with corresponding props. We sourced outdoors gear, a bicycle, bought firewood, and even created a rain-making system out of a garden hose.
We developed the shooting schedules for each video in a way that accounted for the best lighting.
The “Hex Fly” shoot was scheduled for later in the day, because we wanted our driving scene at dusk, and our camping scenes at night. We used a hazer to provide some atmosphere, and bounced our key light into a large white card to provide a soft source that mimicked moonlight. It’s amazing how quickly light falls off in the woods at night. We placed several hard lights, layering them in the background to bring up exposure on the trees to create more depth. When lighting for the rain we backlit the water to help separate it from the darkness.
By the end of the night the crew was exhausted and the temperature had dropped, we were all happy to pack up the van and head home for some much needed rest and warmth.
We shot both videos using our Red Scarlet W 5k cinema camera and Leica R prime lenses. We used a DJI Ronin and the Fool Control App to control the camera remotely as we tracked our actress on the bicycle and again for our motorcycle driving scenes.
Once we finished shooting, we took our work into the editing suite and created proxy files to help make the editing process much quicker. We combed through our footage in Adobe Premiere, sourced music, and overlaid sound design, both found and recorded. We convened internally to make a few tweaks, and then sent it off to the client. After a few small revisions, both videos were approved and ready for color and mix
The final steps of post-production are color correction and grading, which is done in DaVinci Resolve. The “Leaf” video only required a simple color correction to warm up the shots overall, as well as some tracked masks in order to bring up the levels on our actresses face where we were not able to control the light as well, such as on the bicycle.
The “Hex Fly” video was intended to have a moody, gritty color grade to match the overall feel of the content. You can see the before and after below, which clearly shows why color grading is such an important part of this process.
What started as a single video to showcase two different products ended up being two very different, unique videos that spoke to two different audiences. The client was extremely happy with the end results of each video, and was especially happy with the care that we took in order to respect their budget while increasing the amount of work required to tell their stories the right way.
The 30-second video for “The Hex Fly,” we tell a much different story for a much different audience. Our actor drives his motorcycle down a wooded road, sets up camp, and builds a fire before he is surprised by a rainstorm. Not to worry, because he has a rugged tarp for his hammock, as well as for his motorcycle.