Filming a micro Christmas advert

03 Dec 2020

Christmas comes in many shapes and sizes, but this year it came hand made and smelling great!

We were fortunate enough to help create a Christmas advert for the prestigious fragrance brand Penhaligon's. 

Approached by the team at Wildish & Co they came to us with the idea of creating something festive and cute, yet hand made and fitting to the Penhaligon brand. Little did we know that they had some tasty treats hidden up their sleeve. They had sourced a local model maker who worked tirelessly to make a London scene, as well as hand drawing the buildings that were located in the background. 

Sourcing a filming a studio as well as a lighting expert in the macro scene fell in our laps. We knew of Sandstorm locally but had never worked with them... and damn were we lucky. After a days recce and a good chat with Cam the chief Gaffer we had all of our worries calmed.  Heres a few photos from that day. (Excuse the iPhone quality

On the day of the recce we were able to sit down and discuss all the finer details of how the shoot will go. From the camera choices we had made to the fake snow that will work best. In our heads we had choosen to go down the route of a Canon C200 MKII with the 100mm Macro 2.8 on the front end. But after some deliberation with Cam and Tom we ended up using the Arri Alexa, with the 100mm Master Macro, and we 100% made the right decision. The low light capabilities, and colour output that camera produces is a piece of art. It was slightly daunting using such a large piece of equipment, but once we got hands on it actually wasn't that bad. Find a few photos here of the camera in action - Just look at the size of that glass!!!

Right the first day is upon us, we had made to make sure that we locked in all of the key shots, those that take the most time and prep. 

The Tracking shot was most important, to do this in one take would be the dream and after many snow shakes and camera tracks we nailed it. Right on to the next - which was the the close up detail shots of key people within the Christmas scene. The wee dog running in front of the Penhaligon's wagon, to the concierge carrying a selection of Christmas presents - tick. 

The sun is rising and the land rover is packed with all 3 Ottr's, off we trot down to Sandstorm for our final day. Today was about getting any pickup shots we may have missed and the finale shot. The pull away. The scene ender. The closing curtain shot. Out came the dolly onto a track, the camera is set and Ben has the snow machine in hand. We knew once Ben hit that magic button the sticky liquid snow would go everywhere and almost make our set a wash out. We had the best of 3 takes in hand - after that we are looking at a re dress. 

3....2....1 - Action. 

Ben pushes the button.
Cam pulls back the Arri
The Wildish guys do their magic on set

And boom we have the shot. Of course we made the most of all 3 takes and tried our best to out do the first but it wasn't happening. And we had it in the bag. 

What a relief, what a job. 

Super lucky to have done a job a like this as we close in on our 4 year birthday. Who knew when starting this journey we would be working on such exciting work. If anything, it shows that you never know what is around the corner, who might be watching you online and make contact one day to film a Christmas advert.

Thank you to Wildish & Co for commissioning this job. 

Ben on production
Sandstorm for the Studio
Cam for being the lighting guru.
Mario on sound effects
Mrs Allnut on set design 
Jenny for the set managment
Joss on BTS stills and film

to you for reading.