BMW Sweden + Qualtrics

The Situation

At this point we had filmed in Japan and we had a little bit of an idea of what we needed to get in Sweden to round out the story and make it feel bigger. The biggest challenge was going to Sweden in February and we only had six to seven hours of light. We hired a local company in Stockholm to help facilitate all of our needs, Crisp Films. Just like Japan we planned a full week. One pre production day in country and a weather day at the end with three days of shooting. Of course right before we got there Stockholm had gotten a ton of snow and it was slow moving with the amount of snow they got. However for the rest of the week it warmed up and the snow slowly melted throughout the rest of the week which was kind of a bummer because it wasn’t nearly as pretty.

Day 1: Interviews

It is always wise to start any customer case study with the interviews. They are usually the easier days and it helps you get to know your crew and warm up to the production. Also as you pay attention to the interviewees answers it will help guide the B roll.

The set ups for the interviews had to match the look of Japan as close as possible. In Japan I had taken a bunch of screen shots and loaded them onto our SmallHD monitors and did overlays to make sure that the framing and lighting matched up. This proved a little more difficult than I was anticipating. Something I learned is I should have written down measurements from subject to cameras and focal length I was on for each camera. This is a good note for the next time I have to match up looks and feel.

We also filmed a bunch of B roll around their office. It was the typical stuff of people working on computers and in meetings. Again we worked really hard to match a few of the shots with shots that we did in Japan to have a visual consistency across all countries we were filming in. My favorite shot that we did was an overhead shot of a desk. Typically we get little to no access to set up much gear in these corporate offices but we lucked out on this one because her desk happened to be in a corner and there was enough room. I felt the shot was dynamic and different than the majority of shots I get on shoots like this so it was a very refreshing change.

Day 2: City B Roll

There are always days on film shoots where everything goes wrong and I mean just one thing after another. Well that was our first B roll day on this trip. In the morning we filmed a family leaving their home, getting in the car and going on a trip. We ran into so many difficulties the day before that we weren’t able to go to the house and look at it before hand. So of course we got lost on the way there. Than the house had a tiny narrow drive way and there were cars parked on the street that were in our shot. So it took a while to get everything sorted to shoot. We got those shots off than it was time to head out and get some of the driving shots.

We thought it was a good idea to rig up the follow car there on set and driving to the second location we could get a bunch of shots of the car driving. This worked out ok but the problem was we couldn’t get the remote for the Movi Pro to work so I tried it with the Mimic but of course with the bumpy roads it didn’t work at all. When we did finally have a great shot it was in a tunnel but we forgot to put the iris control motor on the lens so that fell apart.

At the next location the street was suppose to be cleared but there was a cleaning crew cleaning it so that slowed us down as well. Once we got all of the gear ready and off on the road the roads were so covered in slushy snow that we couldn’t get any good follow shots. Finally we did find a few patches of cleared road that worked out pretty well. We did end up getting the shots we needed but it was so much work and it was just one thing after another. The biggest issue we had was not having a solid shot list planned out before we shot. So I stayed up late that night and made a solid plan for the next day.

Day 3: Country Side B-Roll

With shot list in hand a going through it in detail with the director while we drove to location made the day go so much smoother. It had rained the night before so all of the roads were a little wet so we did have a car cleaning crew that day that earned their day rate. I did forget to mention the gear we used for all of the car rigs. We had the tilta blackarm with the movi pro attached. This made for some really great smooth shots as we drove through the country side. This day went so much better we knew what shots to get and how to get them so it was just a matter of driving for a few minutes switching the camera rig and driving for a bit more. It was a lot of fun to coordinate with the two drivers to line up the shot we wanted.

Once we finished with the driving shots we had some broll in a cabin that was tons of fun to shoot. My gaffer Anders was a joy to work with. He worked hard to help bring the vision to life and he came with suggestions and things to make everything better. It always helps when your gaffer really cares about his craft and helping the vision come to life. The shots in the cabin where some of my favorite from the entire shoot. They looked so clean and nice. Because it was winter the sun goes down so early in Sweden so we used 2 m18s and 2 skypanels to light the scene to make it feel like day time. We also created an overhead rig to film the taking of the survey to match the shot we had gotten earlier at BMW HQ.

The last few shots of the day were very difficult not because they were hard to set up but because at that point I was so tired I didn’t think I could keep going. But again they turned out really nice and really look like a Pixar shot. It was pretty awesome. All in all the day was a huge success compared to the day before and the majority of the shots used in the final piece were from this day.

Day 4: Drone B-Roll

This was by far the most chill easy day of the whole shoot, We hired a professional drone pilot who was totally fearless and would do anything to get the shot. This made for a really fun day of flying his drone at crazy speeds right over the car and getting some really dynamic cool shots. While he was filming with the drone I filmed with the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K with a PL mount adapter on it and Ultra Prime Lenses. It was just chill and fun. We were able to find an awesome bridge out in the country which ended up being the final shot of the whole piece. The only issue we ran into was the car running low on batteries and having to find a charging station. So we went and ate lunch while the batteries charged.

The Sweden trip was a huge success it was difficult but it made up for so many of the missed shots that we wanted to get in Japan. It made it so the story was more full and the whole thing turned out awesome.

Micah Brown