Ruskin Film shoots musical mayhem on location in Auckland for State Insurance
A series of dramatic accidents worthy of insurance claims have been staged by Ruskin Film in Auckland in a new State Insurance spot. The single-shot ad sees accident-sufferers marching down their street as everyone sings along to 80s hit Break My Stride.
Filming took place on a real, but developing suburban block called Flatbush in Auckland in New Zealand and the production hired 15 different sections for about four weeks. Extensive set dressing was among the biggest challenges.
Claris Harvey produced the shoot: “Our aim was to find a street that offered a combination of existing houses and vacant lots where we could construct two large-scale set pieces. What we found in Flatbush was ideal but needed plenty of prep from the art department.
The section where the burning house was to be built was literally a huge hole in the ground and most of the other sections were overgrown with neck-high weeds.
Claris Harvey, Producer
“The section where the burning house was to be built was literally a huge hole in the ground and most of the other sections were overgrown with neck-high weeds.”
Director Nathan Price initially considered filming with a crane mounted on a track, but the track would have needed to be 200 metres long and adapted for an incline towards the end of the route. They eventually opted for a specialist camera wire rig called a Flite Line, co-designed by Harry Harrison and Academy-Award-winner Trou Bayliss.
Price comments: “[The Flite Line] is a high-speed gyro-stabilised motion control wire winch system. It can be configured in three ways. The first gives you linear movement and height control. The second gives you height, linear [movement] and the ability to suck the rig back and forth on a second line, and full three- or four-point 3D movement. Because we were operating on a long rectangular set we went with the second option.”
The contract to remove the lamp posts was arranged by the council film department and each night mobile light towers were brought in to provide safe conditions for the residents.
Nathan Price, Director
The logistics of setting up the rig threatened the project in the planning stages as the team needed to remove Flatbush’s streetlights. The Flite Line cables had to be suspended between two 25-metre-high support towers at either end of the 200-metre route. To make this work the production team had to remove the streetlights, certify the towers as safe and then get permits to elevate them as raised structures.
Price explains: “The contract to remove the lamp posts was arranged by the council film department and each night mobile light towers were brought in to provide safe conditions for the residents. Because the community are largely Chinese we arranged for a Mandarin translator to act as location assistant and on-set translator during the shoot.”
Once all the permitting and certifications were sorted, two days were needed to fit the rig and the crew spent half a day rehearsing the move itself. Wire removal was done in post-production to cover a few seconds at the start of the ad where the camera turns 180 degrees, revealing the cables in-shot.
Harvey concludes: “The 200-odd chickens we had on set ended up laying plenty of eggs for everyone and I think by the time we were striking the set the residents of Flatbush may have even been a little sad to see us go; we were neighbours after all!”
Client: State Insurance
Agency: Colenso BBDO
Creative Chairman: Nick Worthington
Production Company: Ruskin Film, Auckland
Producer: Claris Harvey
Director of Photography: Ginny Loane
Director: Nathan Price
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