(Selected work with extra details)
Movado | Museum Classic watch ad
Movado | Museum Classic watch ad
Movado | Museum Classic Watch ad | 60 Seconds
Movado | Museum Classic Watch ad | 30 seconds
Director: Derek Tonks
Cinematographers: Dakota Adney and Derek Tonks
Postproduciton: Derek Tonks
VFX: Ben Kadie
Miniature Builder: Derek Tonks
The goal with this ad was to create an entirely original location to match the aesthetics of the Movado Museum Classic Watch. Tonally, I wanted the "Museum Hall" location to feel luxurious and semi-fantasty.
Miniature Behind the Scenes
The "Museum Hall" location was hand built as a 1:12 scale model coming in at 8ft D x 4ft W x 3ft H. I built the whole thing in my workshop during my off hours using a variety of materials and techniques.
The large sculpture walls were sculpted out of clay and plaster, molded in silicone, and cast in semi-opaque fiberglass. Molds were made to cast multiple versions of each pillar and repeating design roof tile in urethan resin. The floor and wall tiles were cut from large hand painted styrene sheets and then laid individually in different tile patterns. All of the gold elements were each coated in gold leaf in order to properly reflect when hit by light.
In addition to the 1:12 scale watch "pedestal" used for distant shots, I built a full scale version so that Isabella, the actress, could interact with while shooting the green screen elements. The full scale pedestal was used while shooting the watch product shots.
The design of the Museum Hall location was inspired by Movado's Museum Classic watch. The simple and elegant gold and dark mother of pearl coloring was the foundation for the tone of the set. The Museum Hall was built to honor and expand the concept of the watch so it could sit appropriately on display at the end of the hall in the most elegant room.
Early into the build I shot a number of test to prove that the scale of the model could convincingly pass as a full scale hall, to test the gear and workflow for capturing the model video plates, and to experiment with which camera moves were possible or too complicated to pull off with green screen.
The miniature was designed to be modular, meaning all of the walls, pillars, and the ceiling could be independently removed for filming access. The finished model was filmed for nine days in my workshop using a DSLR camera on a time-lapse motion control slider rig. Programming the slider to shoot one frame at a time meant that each finished 10 second shot took about 15 minutes to film. We used haze to add atmosphere and depth to the miniature in order to give the illusion of size, but it had to be frequently refreshed after each take.
Each plate shot was filmed twice: once with the scale action figure and once without it. The action figure pass gave us a lighting and framing reference so that we could shoot a similar shot in the green screen studio. Throughout the entire miniature filming process, we had to take detailed and extensive notes documenting camera specs, distance to subject, camera tilt angle, distance the camera traveled, trajectory of the character's walking pattern, and much more.
After a rough cut was completed, I selected which Museum Hall shots would make the cut and we filmed the full-scale green screen shots relying heavily on the notes we had taken. In order to make the shots convincing I knew that I wanted to capture lighting, angles, and movements that were congruent with the miniature plates, so that later we didn't need to rely heavily on VFX to massage everything into place.
So much more went into filming the miniature, so feel free to reach out if you have any questions!
The Final Product.
Once the miniature plates and the live action green screen shots were captured, Ben Kadie, the VFX Artist put them together. Even with our diligent filming notes, the timing of each shot, and their relative sizes and positions needed to be tweaked.
The Cinematographer, Dakota Adney, matched the full scale lighting as accurately has he could, but during the color correction process I was able to fine tune the isolated lighting on Isabella in order to get her matching her environment just right.
I am very proud of the final product. Building the entire environment from scratch enabled me to take an idea and realize it in physical form without needing to rely on existing locations or other limitations. I was able to build something entirely original, but still grounded in physical properties that would interact with light, space, and depth realistically because it physically existed.