Monday, 14 April 2014

Ski Marathon Commercial

I just heard one loud snap in my right knee and that was it. No more snowboarding, running or biking for 8 weeks...

The Engadin Ski Marathon is one of the biggest Cross-Country ski marathons in the world as 13000 athletes sweat it out yearly. The organization decided to have a complete face lift with logo, website and all, along with a 60 sec commercial to market the sport from a fresh, young perspective. I was fortunate to be selected to write a story and with the script idea, I won the pitch. 

The storyboard was structured around 50% of pre-event filming that had to match the action as a "day in the life". Two different camera systems were chosen for the shoot. To keep up with the fast moving action, a Red Epic on a turbo charged snowmobile and a Cineflex helicopter were used to capture the impressive numbers from the sky. This combination worked very well, although it was kind of hard to match the beautiful open lens rushes coming from the Epic to the flat Cineflex pictures. And why do they put a zoom function on the Cineflex system.... You have the Helicopter to Zoom! Zoom during capturing is one of those terrible things that should never have been permitted in moving pictures. Our eye cannot zoom, so how do you justify it in a film without putting the emphasis on the camera.

I was astonished to see how fast the skiers were moving. If you make a simple setup to film our talent, Nadia Damaso or Mischa Van der Valk, you need to speed for 20 minutes to catch up again. At one stage, just as we caught up with Nadia, something completely not planned occurred. Our snowmobile caught an edge on the soft deep powder snow and we fell down a steep hill onto a frozen lake. The impact was so sudden and unexpected that in a twisted abnormal body position, I just heard one loud snap in my right knee and that was it. No more snowboarding, running or biking for 8 weeks. Fast reaction saved me from the snowmobile falling on me. That thing is heavy and it would have been a lot worse. Somehow the USD 60,000.- worth camera system did not even touch the snow. Adrenaline helped us up and out of the dilemma. We finished the race got the shot, but with consequences.

The film is now done and very happy with the outcome. Hope you guys like it. Music composed by Roland Frei at NJP Studios.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

After testing comes promotion

The situation in which you are, are not nearly as important as how you act while you are going through it.

Early one rainy Sunday morning while the flow was going one direction, as usual, Xaver Walser was going the opposite way. Never really know which one is better, since I always follow the second option, but it's for sure not boring. I was on my way to Berlin to film a travel application with an actor and a model. We did all the important filming bits on the airport and then joined the line at check in. There were only two Air Berlin staff members checking in lots and lots of impatient travelers. After waiting close to 40 minutes in line, we finally made it to the counter only to hear that we are 5 minutes too late for check-in. The 'talent' could run with their hand luggage, but the heavily packed filmmaker who had to give his bags in for check-in, was stuck in Zurich. I got left behind having to buy a new ticket because of Air Berlin's lack of personal.

Back into the horrible line it all suddenly changed with now four staff working to check passengers in, however this time it was too late for me. Well, the point of the story is that with all this frustration there was nothing I could do about it. I felt like telling them all offff and give them a piece of my mind, but deep inside I knew that this was another test and I somehow needed to deal with this issue quietly. 'After testing comes promotion', was the lesson that came to my mind. Whatever the 'promotion' would be, I was determined to pass this test. 

Berlin is a cool funky city and I can understand why people want to come and live in such an all inspiring creative city where everything is possible. Because of high unemployment numbers, people are forced to think out of the box and do their own thing to survive. Low rent and relatively cheaper labor encourage start-up businesses to be common practice here. 

Special thanks to Twisper CEO David de Brito for making this project a reality and bringing me once more to Berlin. Also to Model Diana Meyer, Actor Oliver Stein, Make-up artist Beatriz Vazquez in Zurich and Alina Eugenia in Berlin, a very big thank you.