Monday, April 26, 2010

Commercialization of the home..

This weekend saw a strange event unfolding in our kitchen as Gabrielle slowly transformed it into a 12'x8'x4' light box. Ok, it was a poor-man's light box. White bed sheets formed the walls. A combination of natural and artificial lights supplied illumination. A USB microphone hung precariously from our overhead kitchen light. So what was she up to? She was filming a commercial for her Communication Tech class.

For those who know Gabby this should not be too surprising. Gabby has been interested for some time now in photography. If you happen to be one of her 21,000 thousand Facebook friends you can check out her portfolio. I find her work enthralling. I've included a couple random samples (it's too difficult to choose favorites) so you can see what I mean (all photos Copyright (C) 2008-2010 Gabrielle Scheyen).

She recently added video to her set of interests and passions. The subject of the weekend was a remake of a classic Buy a Mac commercial from 2006. After scoping out the house she decided the only place large enough to record the shots for the commercial was the kitchen. So we moved everything out. The Buy a Mac commercials, you may recall, consist of an infinite white backdrop and feature Mac (played by Justin Long) and PC (played by John Hodgman). Since our kitchen is a pale yellow and not pure white, we tacked up a 12'x8' white painters drop sheet and a couple of pure white bed sheets on either side. Thankfully it was an overcast day on Sunday so the sunlight through the screen door was muted and shadows weren't too much of a problem. Once she fiddled with various lights (overheads, lamps, and even a worklight of mine that Annette held up while on a step ladder) the set was ready.

Mac was played by Nathan who sort of has the same laid back hipster look that Justin Long pulls off with ease. Gabrielle was PC-in-disguise complete with trenchcoat and fake mustache. The image here is a test shot for one of the shots. Gabby had all the shots worked out in advance (it never occurred to me that a simple 30 second commercial of two guys talking would have 6 different shots). I was camera man which meant that I pressed record when needed. Annette, as I mentioned, handled being a light post. Avery worked the improvised clap boards to mark the shots.

As director, Gabrielle was in command. Each shot had about 4 to 8 different takes. We did have to reshoot two shots due to equipment problems (ehm, cameraman). Although her original vision was a much higher standard than we could mete out with our stone tools and bear skins she kept us at it until she got the shots she wanted. She and Nathan did a great job remembering their lines and acting our their parts.

The entire shoot from soundstage setup to clean up took about 6 hours. That was the easy part. The project is now in post-production so we won't see the final product for some time. I'm eager to see it though. If it's anything like her other work it'll impress.

1 comment:

Kimota94 aka Matt aka AgileMan said...

Sounds fantastic!

You say "remake". So does that mean Gabby wrote different (all-original) dialogue, and if so, how closely did it capture the feel of those early ads?

It's interesting that the director cast herself in the thankless role of boring ol' PC. No ego on that auteur, apparently!