One of the most surprising aspects of a thirty second commercial is how involving it can be to create. With only thirty seconds, do you show product, tell a story, or try to do both? As with everything I create, story is key, but as I quickly learned there is a fine balance between story & product. A few months ago, I shot a small bracelet commercial for Pandora Jewelry, which was amazing, but I knew I could do better with more production time. After all, I had only an hour to shoot with minimal gear before catching my flight. The client loved it and just a few weeks ago, Pandora contacted me again to do a similar spot that showed more pieces, but realizing the potential, I pitched a different concept that tried to marry product with a story. With my wedding experience as a background, I developed a simple love story of a girl daydreaming about her future to give us the unique option of a casual scene, and then transition to more of a formal setting. Once I had written the script, everything went into motion. I immediately looked for a couple, stylist, location, and the music that would tie it all together. It was a certainly a challenge as I quickly realized that with everyone’s schedules, I would have to shoot it the same time next week. Luckily, I had some amazing talent to help me. Sera Petras, a fantastic photographer & stylist, came aboard to help with wardrobe, styling, and to make sure I did not miss anything throughout the four hours we had on location. It was great as I could focus more on working with the talent and camera work without having to constantly look for flyaways or the correct placement of jewelry. Caroline & Andrew served as our wonderful talent, and it was so neat to work with them again after they served as models for the Elisa B. promotional shoot last year. Oak Ridge Estate in Arrington, VA served as our location, and it was absolutely fantastic. The staff was incredibly helpful in securing a room to shoot in and the grounds are just stunning (well worth a visit). Once everything was lined up, it was time to shoot.
Pandora sent me their “Starry Night Collection” to work with and it was amazing. The store managers put together two sets to go with the casual and formal wear. For the daylight scenes, they chose to go with a lighter palette of colors and more wintery charms, and then a darker palette for the formal scene. The pieces were gorgeous and it was so neat to shoot them on models instead of a typical white background. To get the most of the jewelry and location, I chose to shoot this piece with the Canon C300, which allows a greater range of highlights and shadow detail. It proved incredibly useful for giving this piece more of a dynamic film look and allowing more room later in postproduction. I went with a cooler look than most of my pieces to emphasis winter. The hilarious thing is that with all the cold days we have had the last few weeks, it happened to be 76 with clear skies. At least we had no issues with red noses, even though the models had to be sweating at some point. We shot a few pieces in the gardens at Oak Ridge and then headed inside for the formal scene. The interior location was gorgeous (very French) with a fireplace and two beautiful windows. Originally, I lit the room with a 1k, but found it to be a bit too bright, so we took it away and added some Christmas lights in the background to give it more of that wintery feel and some extra bokeh. The key light was the window and then I added a hair light to give it some warmth. It took a few tries to get the necklace to lay correctly when he put it on, but it turned out beautiful. With so many close-ups, I chose to skip the sliders & steadicam and just use a tripod. Sometimes the simplest of movement is all you need and in this case, it was. The greatest thing about this spot is that we really wanted to show that Pandora is more than just charm bracelets. They have stackable rings, necklaces, earrings, and watches to complete the look. Between the two scenes, the viewer has the opportunity to see a full set of pieces in two different settings. After the shoot, we paired the visuals with Holley Maher’s “Perfect Day” (licensed through The Music Bed) and we were set. I created two versions, which I will share with you today. The first is more of a directors cut that shows more of the story, where as the second features more product. I had such an amazing time working on this and I am so thrilled to share these two spots with you below.
Client: Pandora Jewelry
Agency: MOJO Advertising
Director/D.P/Editor – Josh Gooden
Stylist – Sera Petras
Models – Caroline and Andrew Ornee
Music: Holley Maher – “Perfect Day”
Location: Oak Ridge Estate in Arrington, VA