In a world...where K+S Potash hits the big screens with MGM and Java Post.
Topics: Java Blog
In a world...where one production company...teams up with an advertising agency...to bring you the epic story of a company and it's employees...
Java Post Production recently teamed up with MGM Communications for the creation of two 30-second commercials for K+S Potash Canada. The campaign is designed to entice employee recruitment for the huge K+S Potash Legacy Project, a multi-billion-dollar potash solution mine currently under construction near Bethune, Saskatchewan.
The commercials are running on the small screen on the web and on the big screen in movie theatres. So, with that in mind, MGM Communications designed each spot to have the look and feel of an actual "coming soon" movie trailer. Hence the cryptic "movie-guy" line at the top of this post.
Both commercials were originally shot in 4K Ultra HD resolution, then edited and finished in 2K resolution with a surround-sound audio mix for digital theatre projection. Smaller digital files were then created for use on the Internet. A great sound design by The Twisted Pair Group and two big-screen-style movie themes composed by Jared Robinson of Nebulus Entertainment helped bring everything together.
Below are some images from each of the commercials, which were shot over the course of four sunny Saskatchewan days this past April at the Legacy Project mine site.
Java Post Production used a combination of ground-based and UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle, AKA "drone") photography for these commercials. In some instances, both types of photography were used on the same shot, such as this scene where Jared, one of our starring K+S Potash employees, was ascending a set of stairs that wrapped around the exterior of a large storage tank.
We first shot this scene a few times with Randy, our camera operator, using our Ronin hand-held camera stablization unit to follow Jared up and down the stairs. After getting that shot, we decided to also capture the scene using one of our Java Post Aerial Photography UAVs, which is the shot you see above.
Although the hand-held shot was the one envisioned in the initial storyboards - and the aerial shot was just a spur-of-the-moment "let's see how it looks" kind of thing - it was the aerial shot that made the final cut.
It's a perfect example of how a little bit of on-location inspiration can often yield some delightful results. Of course, it helps if you happen to have the Java Post Aerial Photography flight crew on location with you.
Here is a inadvertent selfie of our camera operator Randy (left) as he prepares for another take of following Jared (right) up and down the stairs. There was an odd, short-lived patch of clouds that rolled in over the site just for the time we were shooting this particular shot. However, the skies quickly cleared to a perfect blue again as soon as we began shooting the scene with our UAV drone. I guess that was a hint that we should pick the aerial shot for the final edit.
Some of the "hero" shots in the action-styled commercial were shot in slow motion, such as the one pictured above. This shot was all about the timing, with several moving parts all having to connect at the right time and place. Our ground-based camera operator Randy was walking around the subject in a semi-circle while keeping the shot level, while our aerial camera operator Trevor was remotely panning and tilting the camera to keep the subject centered in the frame, and also while Tanner (our K+S Potash star for this shot) had to rise up and lift his fall-protection harness onto his shoulder at just the right moment.
Needless to say, it took a few takes to get the shot nailed, but the result looked great. The ad agency and crew members were so pleased after seeing the shot played back on-site that we all joked that we should be shooting everything in slow motion.
Slow motion is kind of like bacon. Everything seems better with it.
Here's a behind-the-scenes shot showing Randy moving the hand-held camera around our K+S Potash employees. At his feet, you can almost see the faint blue chalk line we had placed on the ground to help guide Randy's semi-circular movement. And, on the right-hand side of the photo, you can see Randy's boss, Jack, yelling at him to move faster. As usual, Randy just tunes Jack out.
While this particular shot of all four K+S Potash employees was not used in the final commercials, it may appear in future video productions for the company.
Given the massive scale of many of the components being used in the construction of this mine, the Java Post Aerial Photography team was vital to achieving the epic kind of images needed for this campaign - particularly for the images used in the "action movie" version.
A long lens was used to capture this very stylistically-familiar telephoto shot of three of our employee stars: Jared, Gerhardt, and Tanner (left to right).
Also recorded in slow-motion, with determined. no-nonsense looks on the faces of our stars, this shot looked pretty darned cool. Waiting for trucks to stop driving down this road and kicking up clouds of dust between takes wasn't cool, but the final shot sure was. In the end, it was all worth eating a little road dust.
In the "rom-com" (romantic comedy) commercial, animated split-screen graphics were used. The graphic layouts for both commercials were initially designed by MGM Communications and then realized and animated by our Java Post Production animators, Kevin and Tomás.
The "rom-com" commercial focused on Tanner (above), a K+S Potash employee. He, along with Jared, Kristle, and Gerhardt - our other three employee/stars - were delightful people and it was a joy to work with them over the four-day shoot.
They were all very patient with us as we requested them to do what - to normal,non-actor people - must have seemed very odd. Requests such as: go walk up and down stairs a dozen times, or stand and point randomly at distant buildings, or "just act normal" while there's a camera lens and a boom microphone a foot from your face.
After the four-day shoot was done, they were probably happy to get back to their normal duties.
Coincidentally enough, here's a good example of Gerhardt and Tanner in one of those "stand and point" kind of shots. And they actually were pointing at and talking about something relevant and work-related.
This scene - which, in a wider shot, shows all four employees - was also done as a low-level UAV aerial approach shot. It looked really great but it just didn't fit into the final edit. Alas, sometimes really great shots have to be left on the edit room floor. Or computer hard drive, in this case. However, that aerial shot may one day appear in a different K+S Potash video project.
As you can probably tell from the landing gear visible in the upper left and right corners of this photograph, here's a "dronie" (a selfie shot with a drone) of the whole commercial production gang: our K+S Potash Canada employee/stars, our AMEC Foster Wheeler safety guides, the representatives from MGM Communications, and our Java Post Production crew, including our Java Post Aerial Photography flight crew, Jack and Trevor, standing in the foreground and holding the white UAV drone controllers.
This was a great project and Java Post Production is really pleased with how the commercials turned out. Thanks very much to MGM Communications and K+S Potash Canada for letting Java Post help you make movie (trailer) magic!
Producer: Joan Speirs
Director: Doug Russell
Director of Photography: Jack Tunnicliffe
Aerial Photography: Jack Tunnicliffe and Trevor Bennett
Editor: Doug Russell
Colourist: Jack Tunnicliffe
Animation/Visual FX: Kevin Drysdale, Tomás Ibar
Sound Design: Twisted Pair
Music: Jared Robinson, Nebulus Entertainment
Advertising Agency: MGM Communications