In a brainstorming session with Dr. Berry of West Virginia State University about how to best position WVSU in TV commercials, we suggested an idea that’s turned into two spots already with a third in pre-production. We thought that a campaign that put the spotlight on WVSU grads who are recognized leaders in the Kanawha Valley would be appealing and it is! The challenge was to keep it from being the usual ‘talking head’ testimonial and turn it into something that really captured attention while selling the benefits of a WVSU education. Our goal was to create beautiful, flowing spots that moved at a good pace while still allowing our featured alumni space to ‘breathe’ within their environments.
Here’s the production rundown for the second spot that featured four female graduates of WVSU: Valery Harper (1996); Amanda Mays (2002); Michelle Raider (1997) and Capt. Dendra Weaver (2004): The first three shots were acquired with our ultra-portable HVX200 camera mounted on a small jib, while pulling focus live with Varizoom’s remote-control unit. For the dolly shots, we used our larger-bodied HPX2000 riding on a Matthews Doorway Dolly, which carried a camera operator to pull focus. Everything was shot at 24PA with as high a shutter value and as wide an aperture as light would allow, creating a very shallow depth-of-field to emulate the look of film. Color was kept flat in-camera to allow a wide range of color-grading options in post-production.
Once in post, each shot was graded inside Synthetic Aperture’s Color Finesse 3 to emulate the classic Kodak 5279 500T film stock. Each transition was built by rotoscoping the leading edge of an object in the foreground of the next shot to ensure that the flowing rhythm of the piece, inspired by Bob Thompson’s beautiful original soundtrack, never faltered.
See for yourself… (click to view commercial)