squatty potty unicorn video – zeiss compact zooms and red epic dragon

the commercial i shot for squatty potty hit the internet yesterday and it’s already making the rounds. its a vfx heavy piece (though that unicorn is real!) which required heavy use of green screen.

here it what we chose to use:

camera: red epic dragon
lenses: zeiss compact zoom set (shot clean, no glass in front of lens)

we chose this setup because 1. we needed to be able to re-frame in post and still be able to output at 4k. shooting in 6k helped us accomplish that. 2. we’d also need sharp lenses to facilitate that, and because i wanted to shoot no higher than 640 iso (the dragon is noisy at 800 and above) the lenses needed to be sharp even wide open (2.9) 3. wanted to be able to re-frame on set quickly, without moving anything on the camera.

RED Epic Dragon and Zeiss Compact Zoom Lens setup
RED Epic Dragon and Zeiss Compact Zoom Lens setup

stylistically we wanted it to feel like a childrens-show inspired fairy-tale-esque piece (clearly this isn’t the typical stuff i shoot), and the producers wanted it to feel like it could be outside.

lighting we used a 1200 hmi through a 6×6 silk for the right key, and a series of kinos through 250 diffusion for the left fill. we kept the ratio really close to keep the feel of a kids “outdoor” tv show.
green screen was lit tungsten with a space light and a couple of arris through diffusion to help get us a really even key.
we hung a hair/backlight from the studio grid to give our subjects a bit of separation
procedurally we shot most of the prince and unicorn separately, and they were combined back together expertly by nick dixon, the vfx supervisor.

and finally, here is the video:

i think had i been involved in the coloring, i might have suggested a few changes, but the result still turned out great.  ultimately the piece is carried by the content, not the look, so as long as it isn’t distracting but adds to it, i feel i did my job.

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