Summer is coming
Melting the frost with banana boat and blue wheel media in the dead of a brisk Brooklyn winter
HOW IT BEGAN
When Blue Wheel Media reached out with an ask for a large-scale production for Banana Boat sunscreen, we were ready for it!
Nothing warmed our imaginations more than the thought of shooting a beachy commercial in the dead of NYC’s winter. We just needed to call some of our Art Dept friends, and a few dozen others, to make it happen.
Creative + Pre-Production
Pre-production for Banana Boat was challenging but fun. Getting involved early at the render phase of set design was great because we got to flex our growing Pre-pro muscles – and because the project itself was so cool.
We’d been double-booked and put out on the street by another Brooklyn studio, so finding Gum Studios was a real blessing. It could comfortably accommodate our sizable crew, didn’t break the budget, and was just what we needed for the scope of the shoot.
Casting was also an adventure. One welcome surprise was that the client expressed no preference for what type of person they wanted cast, which left more options for diversity and less conventional choices, a sure strategy for boosting engagement and improving overall quality.
Art Dept guru Steve Grise and his team were able to make everything needed for the set (including props) basically overnight – and to think up creative solutions to tricky problems. Impressively, he had just the right kit to make it all happen.
A great example of Steve’s problem-solving genius occurred when we first rolled out the vinyl tennis backdrop and found it wasn’t settling well, revealing every crease and imperfection. This just wouldn’t work with the sharp daylight lighting style we’d be using. We needed perfectly smooth, uniform backdrops to achieve Banana Boat’s desired aesthetic. And we needed them bright and early the next morning!
Luckily, Steve and the gang knew just what to do. Without missing a beat, they repurposed a set from the previous day, painting it to mimic the vinyl aesthetic of the tennis court set.
Throughout Post, there were many different stakeholders on the agency and the client side, but it never turned into a “too many cooks” scenario.
Cave 76’s Head of Post, Lizzie Minges, was able to manage everyone's separate input, always with the prime directive in mind: make sure the job goes smoothly and that everyone has an enjoyable experience.
Frequent collaborator Colin O’Brien had produced an impressive script in short order before production started, but we weren’t able to lock it in until deep into Post. Though this wasn’t ideal, we responded on the fly and made it work.
This project also provided a great opportunity to work again with a couple long-time collaborators Gavin Rosenberg (colorist) and Giovanni Pompetti (compositing). Thanks to them, we were able to elevate our process and deliver great work.
The dancers are literally pulled out of the world’s physically low places, and out of their crouching postures, by this transformative force, which leads them not only to each other, but to a literal higher place. For this project, we tried to get as close to pure emotional storytelling as possible: no words, no pretext, just an empty space and a couple of dancers baring their souls.
EP: Gabriel Munitz-Alessio
PRODUCER: Sophie Epstein
DIRECTOR: Graham Burns
1ST AD: Peter Howard
PRODUCTION ASST: Vicky Deleon
PRODUCTION ASST: Bailey Lica
PRODUCTION ASST: Ben Alfonso
DP: Ashton J. Harrewyn
1ST AC: Logan Gee
STILL PHOTOGRAPHER Logan Gee
DIT: Sam Gove
BTS PHOTOGRAPHER Jazz Munitz
BTS VIDEOGRAPHER Jazz Munitz
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Jackson Cook
ART DIRECTOR: Brad Bailey
CREATIVE PRODUCER: Alyssa Carvara
KEY GRIP: Julio Yurnet
GRIP: Christopher Yurnet
GRIP: Jose Santamaria
GRIP: Travis Tomlinson
GAFFER: Ki Hwang
ELECTRICIAN: Chris Jara
ELECTRICIAN: Charles "Chip" Kelk
ART DEPT: Lucas
PRODUCTION DESIGNER: Steven Grisé
ON SET DRESSER: Steven Grisé
ASST MU: Talitha Daeng
H/MU: Paige Campbell
SCENIC PAINTER: Scenic Painter
PROP MASTER: Ursula Barker
PROP STYLIST: Sara Gutizerrez
WARDROBE STYLIST: Kate Fry
WARDROBE ASST: Raul Luna