Written by on Jun 16, 2010. Posted in Production News

Shell shoots trio of new commercials in Malaysia, Japan and Brazil

Oil giant Shell has filmed three new commercials in rapid succession in Malaysia, Japan and Brazil. The spots focus on the company’s environmental progress and energy efficiency. Kim was filmed on the streets of Malaysia and shows a scooter rider enjoying the benefits of efficient fuel as he travels with his girlfriend.

The production team chose Malaysia over Singapore as a place to film as there were more locations available, permits were easier to get hold of and there was greater shooting flexibility. Magen Appathurai, a Producer with Biscuit Films in Kuala Lumpur, said: “In order to get the view and angle that the director wanted, we had to shoot against the flow of traffic. This means we had to have a controlled street and we set up the shot with our own vehicles against the flow of traffic.”

The team had control of the road on which they were shooting for no more than six hours each night. During this time they used lots of different cars and installed a set of their own traffic lights and a bus-stop. In addition vegetation was put in strategic places to emphasise the spot’s Asian setting.

Spencer Dodd, a Producer with Gorgeous Enterprises, said: “In order to make the location safe we had to re-route the traffic but were only able to after midnight. Prior to that there was intermittent traffic control with the assistance of the local police, location assistants and traffic control. Closing down a busy intersection off the motorway requires a lot of planning and discussions with the local authorities, who are keen not to disrupt the traffic flow to any great extent.”

From Malaysia the production travelled to Japan to film Ohashis. The spot shows a Japanese boy using cleaner energy to practice playing his electric guitar at home. A so-called ‘house studio’ (a former home designed to accommodate filming) 90 minutes from Tokyo was used for part of the shoot. Sayako Sakai, a Production Co-ordinator at AOI, said: “We used the first floor of the house and re-dressed all the furniture, painting walls and taking out doors. This was quite a challenge for the Japanese crew as we are not used to renovating a house studio – they are usually used as is, but in this case it was a complete full-on makeover!”

Temperatures and time zones shifted for Kite, which was filmed on Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro. The spot shows young boys playing with a kite on the sand against a blue, pollution-free sky. The production team had a section of beach cordoned off for their own use and they moved several vendors to make sure the frame was closer to what they wanted.

Several permits were needed to film on the beach itself. Carlos Paiva, an Executive Producer with Zohar International, said: “The permits come from the city Mayor’s permit office and the navy office. On average it takes from three to four working days but it depends on the size and complexity of the shoot. You can shoot only on week days on city beaches due to the crowd on the beach during the weekends, especially in hot weather.”

Mr Dodd said: “We needed sunshine for clear blue skies, in keeping with the idea [of cleaner energy], and for continuity. It was scorching hot so to have that many people (cast and crew) out in the sun continuously was potentially very dangerous.”

Showers were erected to give people the chance to cool down, while shaded areas also helped alleviate the power of the 40-degree sun. As the commercial’s story called for a dog to run across the sand and launch the kite from its mouth there were also concerns about the animal’s safety in the heat. Several dogs were trained for the role in similar conditions. During the actual shoot the most skilled dogs were kept indoors in the shade until they were needed for specific shots.

The production also had to work around tidal shifts on the beach. Until the very start of the shoot, each day began and ended with a high tide, leaving puddles across the beach and threatening production. Summarising his experience of Brazil, Mr Dodd said: “Use lots of sun cream, lots of water and avoid dogs, kites and children if possible!”

Click here to view the Kim ad.

Click here to view the Ohashis ad.

Click here to view the Kites ad.

Client: Shell
Agency: JWT London
Creatives: Adam Scholes, Hugh Todd
Production Company: Gorgeous Enterprises
Producer: Spencer Dodd
Production Service Company (Malaysia): Biscuit Films, Kuala Lumpur
Production Service Company (Japan): AOI Advertising Promotion, Tokyo
Production Service Company (Brazil): Zohar International, Rio de Janeiro

Director: Vince Squibb
Director of Photography: Jess Hall

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