Thursday, 3 October 2013

Samsung GALAXY S4 Active commercial in the making

Location, location, locations. So they say, but recently the client decided to come to me for filming. St. Moritz, Switzerland has so much to offer visually with every kind of activity all confined in a condensed area. When a London based production company called Pendragon Productions decided that they wanted to shoot the new Samsung GALAXY S4 Active mobile phone commercial here in my home town, I suddenly had to do everything - get a crew together and make things happen.

A tip for all productions: don't try to organize a commercial shoot over the period of the 1st of August. In Switzerland it's summer and their national day and everyone is on holiday. The rest that's not on holiday, is shooting. So you can reach nobody. Phones are just ringing and automatic e-mail 'out of office' replies come flying in faster that you can say Bobs your Uncle. The rental houses suddenly push up their prices and/or the equipment are already rented out. I definitely had the feeling that filmmaking in this country is alive and well. Somehow I managed to put a great team of people together after a solid 4 days of hanging onto the telephone.

You can plan everything to the last detail, but the weather is kind of hard to organice. On day one we had lots of rain and it was testing everybody's faith. Will the famous St. Moritz, mind boggling blues sky with its never ending ray of sun appear? However when we had to shoot one of the most important shots from the top of the Corviglia mountain it was more perfect than ever. The first sun beams broke over the mountain edge and delivered spectacular orange red skies.

Our local stunt biker, Kevin Franzi, came through with beautiful flow riding portrayed on the picture-perfect back drop from the lake of St. Moritz. A constant great relaxing vibe ensured the best of creative filming. Although the predictions were not looking good to catch any wind for our sailing sequence on the Sils Maria lake the Maloja wind delivered flawless results.

After a very satisfying day and a half of production, the gear got packed and off to London for the second leg of the Samsung commercial. It's been a while since I have been to the British capital and it brought back mixed memories of hard work and traveling the world. Somehow I could not remember any negative things.

The London shooting was very complicated with a huge set and lots of actors, crew and extras. Painful to move all of them around and slowed everything down. Time pressure is always in the back of your head as you give everything to execute the scene to the best of your ability, regardless of the ticking clock. That night when I finally got to bed at 12h00 I was not sure if I really got good enough shots. Five in the morning I had to study all the footage. It was great and I was thankful that it all worked out. All in the bag and time to go home...

Thanks very much to a great team of people making it happen.

Switzerland crew. Gaffer: Tom Meyer, Make-up: Ana Rasic, Photographer: Filip Zuan, Stunt Biker: Kevin Franzi, Skipper: Jürg Kurt, Model: Maarten Reijnierse.

London crew: Pendragon (To many and dont know everybody.. sorry)
For more Pendragon's work visit

The films below are not the final commercial, but something to look at until the 30 and 60 sec gets released.