Latvian locations for new Drambuie ad
When creative agency Nitro Group and production company Academy Films wanted a Scottish location for their latest Drambuie spot, they chose Latvia because of its low costs and good overall production values.
They turned to local production service company Baltic Pine Films, with whom Academy had already worked with on location and in the studio, to help source the locations. Sergei Serpuhov, executive producer at Baltic Pine, explains: "The location scout was extensive. We were searching for a Scottish looking lake, open spaces with varying vegetation and forests of different qualities."
The ad was eventually shot near Kishezers, the biggest lake on the outskirts of capital Riga, as it offered the necessary road, forests, open fields and of course a lake itself for the opening shot. This meant the whole commercial could be shot in one place with only short unit moves.
The team had to build a number of machines to hurl real trees up from under the ground and then catapult them up and out of the camera frame. Dozens of burning arrows also had to fly towards the camera.
Serpuhov continues: "The art department required a bit of brainstorming. After all we had to eject real trees from underneath the ground, shoot trees in the air etc. The best innovations we came up with were the good old simple things such as welded mechanical devices and counter-weight systems which worked perfectly. They also delivered good value because the only alternatives were expensive hydraulics."
The local SFX department had few weeks to prep and test the multiple explosions of different heights, strengths and quality. Dozens of them were then set off during the shoot. The combined art department and SFX efforts then gave Smoke & Mirrors a palette to work from in post production.
Director of photography, Kasper Tuxon, was also given an epic ride to match the frantic nature of the ad. He shot with a steadycam in a static position, with a hand-held running through explosions, from a cherry picker, up to his neck in water, and for the grand finale on a fast moving quad bike. An ARRI 435 Xtreme camera was used throughout.
Latvia has a lot to offer productions. Its international airport is available as a location for filming and much of the brutal Soviet style architecture still exists. It also has an abundance of gothic architecture associated with a much older Latvian legacy. Parts of the capital Riga can also cheat for Paris, Viena and other European cities.
Serpuhov concludes: "As a service producer you always try very hard to get things right and perfect. It seems that Drambuie was one of those jobs where everything went exactly how we planned it, if not better. I am very pleased with the result."
Click here to view the ad.
Creative Agency: Nitro Group
Production Company: Academy Films
Director: Nick Gordon
DOP: Kasper Tuxon
Production Service Company: Baltic Pine Films
Post Production: Smoke & Mirrors
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