When Boston-based brewery Harpoon approached us to create a series of funny and unique videos for their new IPA “Rec League,” we started by conceptualizing how we wanted to tell the story about this low-ABV drink. Our challenge with this project was to develop and shoot witty, memorable ads that poked fun at the audience without being alienating.
When you are working with Gradient Films, you can be confident that we will do what it takes to create something memorable for your audience regardless of constraints, time being the biggest in this case. One of the most exciting challenges was the fact that we shot THREE different videos for the client in one day, and shipped a final project 2 weeks from the time that the client initially contacted us!
First, we spoke with the client about what they believed set it apart from both their competitors as well as their own existing selection of products. We used these discussions and the client's budget as a basis for our initial work, and returned to the client with five high-level concepts.
After the client selected their favorite concepts, we finessed the scripts, and created shot lists to express our full vision.
Once we had our scripts in place, we put out a casting call for talent, a man and woman who would play a married couple. We knew immediately that Eric and Becca both fit our roles perfectly.
Props are a huge part of the process that shouldn’t be overlooked. They help sell a scene and paint a picture quickly, which is important in short videos like these.
Location was extremely important for this shoot. It not only needed to fit within our budget but also provide us with unique settings for each of the 3 scripts. It was important to us that each video felt different visually. We picked our frame and planned out positions for all lights in order to have a plan of attack going into the shoot day.
Shoot day started at 8 am sharp, with only one day to shoot 3 videos we had our hands full. We used our Red Scarlet W 5K cinema camera to get the most resolution and dynamic range within our budget. We utilized simple lighting mimicking soft natural daylight for the first two videos, this was intended to feel organic and keep our attention on the actors’ performances. The third video was set at night, which proves more difficult than you’d imagine during the middle of the day. We blacked out every window in this open concept living space to give ourselves complete darkness. A book lit Arri Skypanel was used as our key. We used an armed out 2x2’ Quasar Crossfade set to tungsten as an edge motivated from our side table lamp. We added some cooler ambient fill to the background with our 4’ Quasars and left the under cabinet lights on to help draw our eye to the subtle product placement of the Rec League 15 pack on the counter.
While we shot, the client watched live from a monitor just off set, and was able to give instant feedback. Our producer Ingrid also took notes on the takes everyone was most happy with, this was extremely helpful moving into post considering the quick turn around time.
In case you are wondering - the cake was vanilla with a sugar frosting, we didn’t eat the cake, but we did get to sample the beers!
Once shooting was wrapped, it was back to the editing suite to organize three videos worth of content and cut down an hour of footage into three 30 second spots. The notes from our shoot day kept the rounds of revisions to a minimum. We provided a couple of versions, with punchlines swapped in and out to gauge client preference. We mixed the audio, purchased the music and added some foley to accentuate our nat sound. Once the final edit was approved we used DaVinci Resolve to do a simple color pass and add that extra layer of polish.
As you can see in the final videos, we shipped a series of light-hearted and funny videos to Harpoon that were used across their social media accounts.