In January of 2011, I was asked to shoot a series of AAA commercials. It was with “The Gentlemen,” Brett Snider and Billy Federighi, a very creative and humorous directing duo at Bandito Brothers. The spots were hilarious and we all felt would be the perfect canvas for the Canon 5D platform.
The challenge? We needed to shoot four commercials in three days with one spot encompassing four company moves in a day:
- Fontana Raceway
- Pomona Lake
- A Residential House
- A Park
Smash cut to the power of the 5D camera.
We had a 12-camera package which was the right cocktail to be able to leapfrog from location to location as well as being able to leave a 6-camera package so that Elite Team member Mike Svitak could do his second unit racing action magic.
Watch AAA Behind-the-Scenes (BTS)
Episode 1: The Drag Strip
Episode One: Day One at the Drag Strip documents a racer getting ready to take off at the starting line.
His pit crew lowers the car’s hood as the pit boss comes swooping in to tell the driver he is good to go. All of a sudden, a female insurance agent from AAA rips his headset off and informs the driver that AAA has his back on everything that he owns and drives. The Christmas tree lights go GREEN and he takes off, through the smoke. I push my 5D into a two-shot as the bizarre team celebrates victory.
END OF SPOT.
Now we move on to shoot the second commercial. It’s a PSA (public service announcement) about responsible teenage driving for AAA, at the end of the drag strip during sunset.
This spot was shot in one hour and then wrapped. This looked so cool with the setting sun behind John and our soft ambiance coming from the two 6K HMI pars blowing through the 8 x 8 Full Grid.
Stay tuned for Episode Two
We go inside the Nascar race and watch Kurt Bush doing some ridiculous things while driving at 180mph. Did someone say Alaskan King Crab?
Equipment used on this BTS:
- Leica R Mount Glass: 24, 28, 35, 50, 80, 100 macro, 180mm
- Canon L Series Primes: 300, 500, 800mm
- Zeiss ZE Wide glass 18mm, 21mm for Nascar mounts
- Canon 5D and 7D cameras
- Cineroid EVF, RedRock Shoulder Mount and Man Cam Rigs
- HP 24” Dream Color 2480 zx Monitors
- DP-6 SmallHD on-board monitors
- Anton Bauer Dionic 90 Batteries
- Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 Suite
Looking for mentorship in the film industry? Schedule a 1-on-1 meeting with Shane Hurlbut, ASC today! This is where you can get expert advice from an industry professional on your career or a particular project.
About Filmmakers Academy Cinematographer Mentor Shane Hurlbut, ASC
Director of photography Shane Hurlbut, ASC works at the forefront of cinema. He’s a storyteller, innovator, and discerning collaborator, who brings more than three decades of experience to his art. He is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers, the International Cinematographers Guild/Local 600, and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Hurlbut frequently joins forces with great directors: McG’s Netflix Rim of the World and The Babysitter, plus Warner Bros. We Are Marshall and Terminator: Salvation; Scott Waugh’s Need for Speed and Act of Valor; and Gabriele Muccino’s There Is No Place Like Home and Fathers and Daughters. His additional film credits include Semi-Pro; The Greatest Game Ever Played; Into the Blue; Mr 3000; Drumline; 11:14, which earned Hurlbut a DVDX nomination; and The Skulls. Notably, his television credits include the first season of AMC’s Into the Badlands.