Made in China Films was appointed by advertising agency Euro RSCG-Beijing to create a film to launch Volvo’s most prestigious model, the new S80L to the Chinese market in March as “the first class of road travel”.
The right choice of creative team was imperative; many acclaimed directors from all over the world where put forward, with client, agency and production company finally all agreeing on Australian automotive commercials director Juan Jaramillo. He brought a proven record with luxury car spots and a thorough knowledge of post-production.
Jaramillo arrived in China with a specific and extensive story board that completely formulated the composition and camera movements of each shot and in terms of lighting his main plan was to light the car as if it was under a spotlight. In the establishing shots the background would fade to dark in the edges giving the car a more imposing feel.
The next step was to select the equipment and lighting tools that would make possible a new and ambitious shot list that had evolved in the pre-production process. The director new through experience that in order to achieve his shots in the time allowed he would need a techno crane as only with its telescopic, motorized assembly could he realize the velvety long moves he was imagining.
A few days before the shoot a survey of the “eggshell cove” studio on the outskirts of Shanghai provided some anxious moments; whilst ideal for lighting, it was almost immediately apparent that it was far too small to accommodate the 50 foot Techno crane. Fortunately the studio complex had other stages available and the shoot was re-located to a much larger studio where the DP was able to set an overhead butterfly (effectively a reflecting scrim covering the entire stage to create a soft and even white reflection above the car similar to the effect of the “eggshell”).
The new Volvo has a 140mm longer wheel base than its predecessors, therefore one of the most important segments in the film had to highlight the extra space and comfort features of its interior. The director’s first request was for a cut-off car which in his experience is a rear indulgence especially when it comes to luxury cars, but the client was in agreement and Volvo engineers complied by excitedly putting their angle grinders into action. However one of the more complex shot in his storyboard was a wide angle with the camera tracking smoothly from the rear window through the entire length of the cabin and out over the front windscreen where you could clearly see the roof of the car. “This meant that we had to carefully schedule the shots in order to do specific cuts in different areas of the roof throughout the shoot.” explains Jaramillo.