The live action shoot sounds like it was pretty fun! How did it come about?
As the project grew we knew we would make a marketing film, and the client had the idea of buying life-size fiberglass sculptures of animals. Initially, they were meant to go into the sales gallery, but the scope quickly ballooned into parading these huge animals all over Manhattan! We were then asked to capture the entire experience on video. It’s hard to believe how a simple idea on paper becomes such a complicated jigsaw puzzle of a production.
We had to enlist the help of producers, coordinate with a trucking company, negotiate with several municipal agencies, get the sculptures from a shop in the Hamptons, create banners for the trucks. It’s a maze to navigate, given the city’s one-way streets and restrictions on commercial vehicles. I learned that there is a 13’6” height limit on moving vehicles in Manhattan, so we had to find a special low trailer so that the giraffe wouldn’t get decapitated along the way. We had a couple of close calls with low hanging branches!
The whole production had about 6 camera operators (some of whom were also working on the CG shots), a camera car, a couple of vans, two large pickups with animal trailers in tow, and a police escort. We looked for any opportunity to get a good angle, even trying to time the 59th Street Bridge crossing with the Roosevelt Island tram. We were able to stop in front of several New York landmarks.
At a few locations, there were models and influencers hopping on the back of the animals for a photo op. Once they were done it was kind of a free-for-all with kids, tourists and New Yorkers jumping up on the trailers and getting their Instagram posts. While en route, there was a lot of honking and cheering. Towards the end of the day, though, the police escort’s patience was running thin and we were allowed to do less and less. The police can, at any moment, halt the whole production so we had to follow along. Pretty stressful but, overall, a fun day.
In the end, we edited out most of the parade footage. We streamlined it to keep the time down for the sake of the audience’s attention span. Editing requires you to “kill your darlings” as they say.