How to light one set-up with 16 different looks for an Interac commercial.

I completed shooting a commercial for Interac payment systems that features the usability and convenience of their wireless payment terminals. It has a pretty neat creative where the editing is cut to the beat of ACDC’s song “Back in Black”. Every time someone swipes their Interac card it registers with the next beat of the song.

The challenge for this spot was to figure out how to shoot all the different Interac hand-swiping shots with a limited amount of time. The first idea considered was to actually shoot at different locations because they wanted it to be as real as possible. The problem with this approach is it would have taken way too long to load in equipment and crew, shoot each set-up and wrap each location, not to mention all of the other challenges that comes with location shooting! The next option considered was green screen. The plan would have been to shoot the wireless terminal against green and then shoot all the background plates separately and composite the two in post.  However, the fear with this approach was green screen may not have looked real enough. The final and somewhat obvious solution was to meet half way and shoot everything in studio against set-dressed backgrounds. We chose a higher camera angle for two reasons. First, it showcased the product better and second, it kept the view overhead which minimized the amount of propping seen in the background.

Coffee Shop lighting suggesting a warm, morning diffuse daylight.

Coffee Shop lighting suggesting a warm, morning diffuse daylight.

Mixed daylight with fluorescent.

Mixed daylight with fluorescent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We spent about two hours per set-up changing the props and re-lighting for each countertop. It wouldn’t have been enough to simply change the props while keeping the lighting the same because it had to feel like different stores. The director, Brad Dworkin broke down the looks into different kinds of lighting he wanted to see. For instance, he imagined stark fluorescent for the hardware store, diffused daylight mixed with fluorescent for the shoe store, diffused morning daylight for the coffee shop, and incandescent lighting for the movie theatre. All told we created about 16 different combinations of light you’d expect to encounter in each of these different locations. The differences between the combinations of light are subtle as to not be jarring, but still different enough to suggest a change of place.

A hardware store with stark fluorescent lighting. Notice the reflection of the bulbs in the countertop.

A hardware store with stark fluorescent lighting. Notice the reflection of the bulbs in the countertop.

Soft under-lighting and overhead fluorescent. Notice the rectangular "light" reflected in the glass to the right.

Soft under-lighting and overhead fluorescent. Notice the rectangular “light” reflected in the glass to the right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To accomplish this I changed four variables. Contrast ratio, colour, quality, and direction of light. The contrast ratio is the difference in luminance between bright and dark areas. I used colour monochromatically and also mixed. For quality, which is arguably the biggest variable, I changed the amount and type of diffusions I pushed the light through, or bounced the light off of. The size of the light sources also has an impact on the feel. The direction of the light considers where the light is coming from. If it’s a key light, is it coming from an over head fluorescent, or from a window to the side, or perhaps from below like a bounce off a floor or some kind of cabinet lighting. By mixing and changing these four variables I could create a huge combination of different looks and feels with very little time and effort.

 

2 5K book light to creating a soft cool key light.

2 5K book light to creating a soft cool key light.

A large direct diffuser key light.

A large direct diffuser key light.

 

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