For me senior project, I decided to do a spec ad commercial for the Sony Alpha camera series. I wanted to showcase the cameras’ incredible lowlight capabilities, picture profile (for color), and high frame rate options. My goal was to showcase those three capabilities the Sony Alpha cameras has to offer and to get young filmmakers like myself to get inspired and excited about using a Sony Alpha camera. To showcase the beautiful shots one can achieve with these cameras, I recreated some shots from some of my favorite movie scenes and some cult classics.
There were only a few things about this project that I thought made it difficult and stressful. The first thing was scheduling and rescheduling. There were times when the talent I had scheduled to film for a certain day would either try to reschedule, did not communicate enough and in time, or would just bail at last minute. There were times when I had rescheduled shoots because of the weather’s unpredictability and not being what I had imagined for the shots. With that, I felt behind schedule and anxious about the deadline.
The last challenge I encountered was in the post-production stage less than a week before the deadline and showcase. I had a plan and a great vision for this project. As I was editing, the creative flow wasn’t there and I was not feeling great about the edit. Sure it was fine, but I personally was not excited about what I had edited so far.
Just two days before the showcase, I finally got that “a-ha” moment when editing the draft. I decided to completely restructure the edited sequence, basically starting over. Yes that sounds crazy and a little irresponsible just two days before the showcase, but I had to go with my gut and creative flow on this.
Pre-Production: 6.5 hours
This was all the brainstorming, research, mood boards, networking with potential talent for my commercial, and scheduling.
Production: 53 hours
This is when I would go and pick up equipment from the production office on Thursday afternoons and film with my talent from Thursday-Monday. Then I would return the equipment Monday afternoons. This was over the last 6 weekends.
Post-Production: 40.5 hours
This process included organizing my project folders, creating proxies for the 4k footage, finding the right music from Artlist and Musicbed, the actual editing, color correcting/grading, and getting feedback from mentors.
Total: 100 hours
This by far was the hardest project I had worked on. For the most part, for the longest time, I only considered myself to be a video editor. But with this project, I had to wear the hat of a producer, director, cinematographer, and editor. This is because I wanted to create a portfolio piece that showed how dynamic my skill range is.
Over the last two years, I feel that I have gained so many more filmmaking skills and grew so much in the other ones I already had.
This project really pushed me to:
- Get out of my comfort zone when it came to networking and reaching out to beautiful and talented people for my commercial.
- Become a leader when it came to directing others.
- Stay organized and on track to meet the deadline.
- Also be flexible when scheduling with talent gets complicated or pushed further.
- Do my research and have a great understanding of the brand and what they’re all about to be able to produce something the brand would actually use if I actually worked for them.
- Meet with all of my mentors, past professors, throughout the weeks for guidance on different aspects of the project.
Even though this was the hardest project I had worked on in my whole college career, this by far has been my favorite. Being able to execute the dream/idea I had envisioned for this commercial made me happy and excited to finally show it to everyone. This project has made me feel confident that I can produce, direct, be a cinematographer, and edit for future projects in the professional world.