Triple E Productions Doritos Spec Commercial
DORITOS SPEC COMMERCIAL
Ok, guys. So now that the Superbowl is over, here is our entry into the Doritos Crash The Superbowl Contest.
The process was amazing. We arrived at our Manhattan apartment “set” (kindly donated by Anna Grady who is in this short spec) early in the morning (the time escapes me – all I know is that I was very tired).
So this was our first shoot with our new camera. I think I’ll refrain from saying which one because it’s the content that matters. Gear matters to some extent, but with so many choices for so little money, you can pick whatever works best for you.
So I set up the laptop so we can dump off the footage. My brother had an extra memory card but it was only 4GB so Dave (also in this spec, as well as in the rest of my work) went out to get a new one. He got the wrong type and that scared us both. 4GB only allows about 11:30 minutes of 1080p footage. We were scared it would take forever to dump off. Fortunately, it took only 2 minutes. Those breaks were welcome, although I now own a 16GB card that records 29:59 minutes of footage and I’d highly recommend getting a few of these so you’re not stopping every few minutes to dump footage.
The shoot went smoothly, and we (especially me) really enjoyed the tapeless workflow. It just felt so cool and modern haha. Aside from that, it was nice not to worry about dropped frames, dirty playheads, etc. We ended the shoot around 3pm.
Driving back to our Long Island office, Dave and I got some food (KFC – I know, I know. I’ll go to Whole Foods next time). We loaded up on some coffee and stuff so that we could pull an all-nighter to get this badboy done before the deadline. The first thing we did when we got back was to dump A COPY the footage off to the computer hard drive (it’s WISE to keep more than one copy when you’re working tapeless – I recommend 3 if possible). From that point, I used Adobe Media Encoder to transcode the footage into ProRes 422 HQ for editing in Final Cut Pro (HQ might be overkill – someone let me know). I set a WATCH FOLDER so that it would process the footage and separate the original files from the newly transcoded ProRes files automatically.
Dave and I sat around for approximately 3 hours waiting for this stuff to finish transcoding. Definitely not the workflow we’re used to coming from the Panasonic DVX100a. I hate waiting. I really do believe waiting kills creativity. Maybe purchasing a MacBook Pro or Mac Mini to have on set to transcode this stuff while we’re shooting would be a good idea. Again, I could dump the footage to a specific folder (set as a WATCH FOLDER in Adobe Media Encoder, and Adobe Media Encoder would transcode whatever was dumped into that folder, separate the files, etc. automagically!).
Once the transcoding was finished, we edited until 2am or 3am. I then brought the audio into Soundtrack Pro for the audio mix. Personally, I really dislike Soundtrack Pro. I’m just not comfortable in it and I feel like I can’t work fast enough. The keyboard shortcuts are weird and the way it does certain things is odd for me. I mixed the 30 second spot in it, but later (1 month later) went back and mixed the 1 minute spot in Nuendo. Much easier and faster! I still love mixing my audio in Sony Vegas though, but I only had the 64bit version of Sony Vegas 8 and for some reason they disabled all AAF input and output so I opted to mix it on a Nuendo system. The audio in the 1 minute spot, in my opinion, sounds a lot better than the 30 second spot.
So around 5am, I finished the audio mix. I then brought the video into Color. In Color, something happened that I did not like. There was A LOT of noise due to high ISO and underexposure. I was a little upset and I wasn’t sure what was causing this but later tests revealed that it’s best to keep the exposure pretty high on these cameras because the darker areas got very noisy.
Ok, so I just realized that there’s no point in me hiding the camera at this stage because it’s pretty obvious. I figure many of you could benefit from knowing so that you can be aware of what to look out for. We shot on the Canon 7D. Later tests revealed that keeping the skin exposure around 1 on that little exposure bar on the 7D LCD gave the best results without getting too blown out in other parts of the image. Even at high ISOs like 1250, you can still get a decently clean image if you exposure it properly. If you fall below the half way mark on that little bar, you’re asking for trouble in the form of nasty, blocky noise.
So back to Color. I graded it anyway and when Vimeo converted it down to 720p, there wasn’t much of an issue with noise because it seemed to reduce the amount of noise significantly. (Vimeo didn’t support 1080p at the time of upload for the 30 second spot).
Once I finished the grade, I set it to render and knocked out for a few minutes on a table in the office. Yes, a table. TIP: Using your jacket as a pillow really increases your comfort level by at least 25%. At least.
Once we finally got everything finished, rendered, uploaded, etc, it was around 8am or 9am and people were coming in to work for the day. We were leaving…
WRAPPING IT UP
I drove Dave to the train station, went home and knocked the hell out. It was such a great experience. I hadn’t had that much fun since making FALLOUT and doing those crazy hours like we did when we shot that film. It was such a great experience and the cast I had was incredible. Everyone brought soooo much to the table and I thank all of them for their hard work and being so great and easy to work with.
Here is the cast:
VIEW THE SPOTS
So now that I’m done rambling, you can check out the two spots below!
This is the full 1 minute version:
This is the 30 second version: