Valletta Waterfront commissioned motion blur to produce a 30-second television and social media advert. The brief was to capture various elements that make up the experience of visiting the Valletta Waterfront, ranging from the food, the street life and meeting people.
This is the final product.
A lot of work went into producing the commercial, which was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Following talks with the clients and having experienced the atmosphere on location several times, motion blur suggested the following shot list.
Two Kids with parents walking at the waterfront
One of the kids points at a cruise ship amazed
The other kid leaves mum’s hand and runs to look at a toy at MICS but is distracted by a big shadow, she looks up in awe at a stilt walker
The stilt walker waves at her, while an elderly couple looks on, smiling.
As she smiles back and walks towards her parents, she bumps into a mascot
Her dad picks her up and the mascot dances around them.
The family walk past a restaurant where 3 friends are celebrating a birthday with a drink.
We see a live musician playing
and fast cuts of food cooking
We follow a waiter out of a restaurant, who passes past the same elderly couple who are now eating
The waiter delivers the food to the family, as one of the girls steals chips from her sister’s plate.
A Drone shot to reveal all of the waterfront.
and the following mood board.
We wanted to give a representation of what clients might expect when visiting the Valletta Waterfront. At the same time, we added a very simple storyline, the family arriving at a restaurant, that allows the commercial to move forward while maintaining the interest of the viewers. While we could have shown the atmosphere at the waterfront by taking a few shots on a typical afternoon, we believe that this sort of approach gives more value and achieves the purpose way better.
We believe that commercials should not be a nuisance a viewer will gladly avoid watching. Rather commercials, while giving expository information and suggesting products or services to viewers, should also give back some element of entertainment. On one hand, to make the advert more effective, but also so that the viewer is left with a positive feeling after watching. That feeling you are left with after watching something will linger for a while, it can help set your mood for the next few minutes, so why not make it worthwhile?
Of course, such an advert requires much more effort from our side, but it is what we love doing, so we do it gladly. For starters, we need to cast various actors. Usually, we shortlist a few actors according to the role and the level of acting proficiency needed, from our ever-growing database. The client will then indicate their preferences and we will then check if they are available.
Planning a shoot can be a major headache. We need to make sure that the location is available, that the natural light will be optimal for the stretch of time when we intend to film. Optimal light means that it is not too bright that it will cast unwanted shadows, especially on the actors, that there is enough light for the camera to get the right exposure and as important, that the key light is coming from the right angle. When filming outside, like on this occasion, we use apps to determine where the sun will be during all the times of the day of the shoot, to help us determine the optimal time slot.
Our search for optimal light might mean having to split the shoot on more than one day, which could mean that a number of actors would need to come on set more than once. Whenever it is possible, we try to contain the times that the actors need to be on set to a minimum, so it can be quite a headache to plan the shoot. For example, actor A needs to interact with actors B and C in different scenes but actor C needs to interact with actor D as well. So it can very quickly end up in a jigsaw puzzle trying to fit times between availabilities while trying to avoid having an actor or actress sitting around for hours. This notwithstanding coordinating with the makeup artists and stylists to have everyone ready and looking good on time.
When planning, the first priority is always the end result, but we do try to make it as comfortable as possible for the actors whenever possible, firstly because it is the decent thing to do but also because it can get more expensive for the client and also because the more comfortable the actor, usually the better his or her performance on screen.
Shooting outside, of course, means that the weather might wreak havoc on all our planning. It is not the first time that after weeks of planning and coordination, we had to postpone a shoot because the weather turned too grim for the look we needed. Some things can be fixed in post-production, but it is always better to get it right while filming and then dedicate the post-production time to enhance your product rather than fixing it.
After planning the whole shoot, on the day there will always be things that happen, which will affect the schedule. After years of experience, we have learned and confirmed this time and time again. Thus we always plan ahead and fit in extra time for the unexpected during our shoots. We are glad for the extra time when the unexpected occurs and if it doesn’t we enjoy some relaxed time to explore new angles and different takes or wrapping up early.
Thankfully this shoot went as planned and we had loads of fun with all the crew, cast and management. Looking forward to the next one.