Turning “Sofia’s People” into a commercial. EDIT: with more info

DDB- Sofia saw my short film “Sofia’s People” and approached me at the beginning of last week to go back to Sofia and shoot a broadcast 30 second commercial for M-Tel with the same intimate feel as my film, but we pre-cast real people. So keeping it authentic, no actors, just the right mix of people for what they are after.

My kit in Sofia
My kit in Sofia

I of course jumped at the chance to go back as I really enjoyed my time in Sofia. The only daunting thing is I am directing, shooting and editing it and only arriving in the country a day before the shoot. I have not had a hand in casting but the people they have chosen look great! The other scary thing is it needs to be finished and ready to go out on National TV in Bulgaria on Friday night as the time is already booked. So that’s a hell of a turnaround!

Also, I will be taking stills of each couple with the 5d for print campaigns, so a great example of convergence here.

It’s funny how what was essentially me just doing some filming on my way to Dinner has evolved into this. As I always say, keep on plugging away. Keep posting your work and you may get a lucky break.

I will be twittering (follow me @philipbloom) and tumblring (follow me here). Tumblr is a mini blogging site and a great way to integrate and expand upon twitter but not be a full blog like this one…


Here is what I have put on tumblr so far.

All packed and ready to go…

Taking with me for the commercial shoot in Sofia on 5dmkII…

The camera of course. 24 and 35mm f1.4 canon. 50mm f1.4 zeiss zf nikon mount, 50mm f1.2 nikon, 70-200mm IS canon f2.8.

Zacuto tactical shooter as this should all be handheld, this i find essential after using it on cherry blossom girl in Chicago, but i did just drop it on my foot and it hurts.

if I decide i want tripod shots got my Miller DS20. perfect for 5d with a second manfrotto base plate for quick change to tripod and tactical.

4 16gb cards, 1 32gb. no need for so many but may as well bring them all. Three Canon batteries.

Canon vixia hfs10 for behind the scenes filming.

lumix tz7 for still shots

macbook pro 17 for editing and dumping, lexar f800 offloader for CF.

macbook pro 13 for blogging, working on storyboard etc…

two stupid t shirts, clean underwear, wash bag with just one after shave!

thats it!

hold luggage comes in at 23kg. 3kg more than their limit but that is the lightest i have ever travelled for a shoot!

No sync on this shoot so no need for any sound equipment.

wish me luck! be twittering and tumblring the whole time

Picture 5

Want to learn how to create the film look? Click below.



      1. …that really is a pain in the ass! But the point is that at the end there’s gonna be one great video! You should know that every M-Tel commercial is really solid and ideologically consistent. No doubt – the best BG commercial of all… So I’m sure that this one will be the same;)

    1. of course and I will be doing stills from the 5d for the print campaign…but hard to take behind the scenes stills of me shooting with the camera I am shooting with 😉

  1. Good luck, bro! Quick Q: why two 50mm lenses? Second one just a backup, or would you really pick one over the other depending on … what exactly? (I own the Zeiss, btw, and love it.)

  2. Really interested to see the behind the scenes footage on the HFS10, not only because I’m interested in the behind the scenes, but I’m interested in the camera and haven’t seen you shoot on one!

  3. i love how shooting with the 5dm2 allows you to travel light. i truly believe tha that just being active, and having constant activity will get you new business. way to go! looking forward to seeing your finished product.

  4. So how much (and what) gear goes in carry-on luggage, and what goes in the hold?

    Always interested in how folks solve the overseas luggage problem, as it’s one I face frequently too, and I still haven’t quite found the perfect solution yet. Usually I try to get all I’d need for a shoot in a carry-on size roller, with a DV-Rig Pro and second laptop in my suitcase, but some airlines are getting pretty draconian with their weight allowances now :-/

  5. It just goes to show that self-commissioned work does pay off and that people that write cheques really do read blogs and pay attention. Of course, the added plus for them is the additional publicity this whole ‘behind the scenes; thing gives.

    Well done on getting the shoot, looking forward to seeing the results.

  6. Travel well Philip – you carried me into the age of 35mm DOF adapters, now to the 5D frontier. I appreciate the advice and the creative push (an owe you an appletine or three for adding a couple years to my career).
    Years ago (many, actually) I was an ink stained wretch with a Leica and a couple Nikons draped over me at all times – I think we are headed there again. Switching cameras is easier than changing lenses, at a tenth the cost of a Betacam body we may all (stills and video) look alike again soon.

    1. And most manual Nikon glass is still better than Canon’s offerings. I too have a 5d mkii and am using all Nikkors:

      20mm f2.8
      24mm f2.0
      35mm f1.4
      50mm 1.4
      85mm 1.4
      135mm f2.0

      They just can’t be beat.

      Good luck Philip!

        1. HI Vladek,

          I think you are confused as to why I use Nikons and more. I own many Nikons first and foremost. I love controlling aperture via the lens, it’s a video camera thing and an old fashioned film camera thing for me. You can now control the aperture in video mode from the camera on the 5d due to new firmware. So ignore the links. It’s just personal preference. Nothing more!!


  7. Maybe I’m just too new at this, but you seem to have a lot of kit with you. 🙂 How did it go?

    I’m just curious – When I first bought my 5d/2 I also bought a couple of manual lenses (due to the firmware/expose issue that’s now solved) They were a Carl Zeiss Planar 1.4/85 and a Carl Zeiss planar 1.4/50, both have adapters to work with the 5D/2.

    However I want to buy a zacuto tactical kit and eye piece and a miller ds20, so I have to sell some stuff I just had to get before to help me buy some more stuff that I just have to get now. 🙂

    So here’s my problem. Do I sell the Zeiss ones (which were second hand) or keep them and sell one or two of the ones below? Which would you keep?

    Here’s the other lenses.

    Canon EF 1.4/24mm-105mm IS USM
    Canon EF 1.2/50mm USM
    Canon EF 2.8/70mm-200mm ultrasonic white lens (with extender EF 2x II)
    Canon EF 2.8/100mm macro USM
    Sigma 4.5-5.6/12-24mm DG HSM

    Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

    1. For a pro shoot that kit is NOTHING! No tripod, no lights, hardly any lenses. One camera body etc…Went very well, check out recent blog posts for finished piece.

      Sell the Zeiss 50mm as you have the 50mm f1.2 but keep the 85mm zeiss

      the zacuto z-finder isnt out till the end of August so save up for that…The DS10 is cheaper and will work as well!

      That first lens…is that a typo. There isn’t a 24mm-105mm f1.4. If there was everyone would have one and it would be huge and V expensive!

      Those are all really good lenses. The Sigma is quite slow but a nice range. The Macro is v useful too. Its hard for me as love lenses and would hate to part with any!

      1. Thanks. And yep, made a typo. That first one is the standard 1:4 (F4) not 1.4. oops. 🙂

        I’m trying to piece together the leanest, meanest, run and gun film making kit possible, so anything I can’t carry on me isn’t even considered. I already had a lot of these lenses for my 5D before I got the 5d/2 and became film happy. (I love photography as a hobby)

        Hey, I had a look at your finished ad. Love what you did. Isn’t it such a shame that so much work has to go into what ends up being just a 30 second piece. I’m sure you could put together a nice 3 minute promo with the same material you have from the shoot. 🙂

        In fact, if you haven’t already done so, maybe you could suggest this company pay you a little extra to edit together a longer version for their web site or perhaps their reception waiting area (flat screen TV in reception playing promotional material). That might earn you another dollar or two. Sorry… pound or two. 🙂

        Cheers from Perth, Australia!

        1. cheers Rudy. The ad agency is trying to license the original music for me to put together a “director’s cut” with all the lost footage. Hope it happens!

          Do you have a handheld rig?

          1. My handheld rig is basically a smallish backpack which holds the canon 5DMkII, lenses (as above), speedlight flash (for photos), 2 sennheisser radio mics, a zoom H4n, micro lite panel and a merlin steadicam. I’m working on getting the miller 10 tripod on your advise and the gorilla kit from zacuto and that should hopefully do me for my handheld run and gun kit. If I’ve missed some important thing let me know. 🙂

            I also have the panasonic 170 with zakuto rails and letus extreme on a manfrotto 503 tripod kit but this gets kind of heavy as a handheld when you throw on some lenses.

            I got the 5DmkII as an upgrade to my existing still camera (the original 5D) and discovered to my delight the video quality. So now I’m working out if I really need 2 video cameras. Everything I’m doing while I’m learning is now with the canon 5dMkII. It seems so easy, but I’m still very green and haven’t done a lot, so don’t know what I’ll need as I (hopefully) improve over the next year.

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