Working together with Claire Harrison Photography and DoP Nick Vernon we wanted to create a sparkling and fun beauty test commercial on which we could try some techniques and have a look at some production workflows. We worked with three models to create a loose narrative around getting ready for a night out in London.
Nick was keen to try shooting with the Magic Lantern RAW setting on the Cannon 5D and taking the footage through DaVinci Resolve.
When I spoke to him about the process he said:
Magic Lantern creates .RAW files which can be converted into other formats such as cinemaDNG. Standard Canon 5D files are h264 which is heavily compressed. Using raw gives a higher quality image with much more flexibility in post production.
The shoot itself went extremely well, if a little rushed and we were able to get to all four of our planned locations finishing with a frosty night shoot at Hackney Town Hall. The Art direction and styling from Adelaide Turnbull was incredible and she made sure we were able to get what we needed from each location. Franco Vallelonga, Salina Thind and Megumi Mizuno worked wonders with the hair, make-up and nails respectively and made sure each of the girls Lera, Beth and Beata looked great.
But obviously the shoot wasn’t without its problems:
NV: We only had one compact flash card fast enough to record raw. This meant we couldn’t shoot while we were backing up the files. At one point Magic Lantern wouldn’t load, so the last few shots had to be recorded in h264. The difference between the two formats was very noticeable during grading.
Working in the edit with Claire we had transcoded files taken from the camera originals and chose the prettiest, most compelling shots to tell our story. I always wanted to create a dynamic and urgent feel to the piece so I made sure to always have movement in each shot or moved them in post.
It was important for us to stick to our original brief and work to a ridged thirty second final duration. This absolutely made sure we would squeeze the most we could out of each shot and insist on only using the best content we had.
After a few test screenings we locked the edit and Nick took the cut into Da Vinci Resolve to start grading.
NV:We had to work quickly on the day and this meant that we ended up dimming the Dedolights rather than using ND. As the colour of the light changes when you dim them, extra time was needed in the grade to correct it. Knowing this ahead of time we used a grey card on the shoot to help in post. Overall, I was happy using Magic Lantern and will use it again.
A very effective test shoot by my reckoning. As always, a little more time would help but that’s nothing new.
Credits and Links
Lera @ Premiere Model management
Beth @ Elite model management London (blonde)
Beata @ PRM-agency (purple top)
Stylist & Art Director:
Hair: Franco Vallelonga
Hair Stylist & Colourist
Make Up: Salina Thind
Nails: Megumi Mizuno