Blazer is an iconic model name that’s well-known and loved by many. For better or worse the 2019 models by the same name represent a forward looking approach to sport utility design. This project highlighted two distinct versions of the Blazer and their unique personalities which set the foundation for the story I was excited to tell.
This launch video would be the first time people would see the all-new Blazer designs in motion. After watching, part of the fun is answering the logical question, “Which one would you choose?”
Heightening the duality
While developing ideas, I kept coming back to the same question: why is someone drawn to a particular car? To me, it seems that the answer often lies more in the emotion than the practicality. We want a vehicle that exudes style. Personality. Presence. Character.
The RS and the Premier Blazer really do have their own distinct personalities. Though the Blazer RS and Premier might be identical underneath the surface, they each project a very different attitude. Dialing up this duality was my goal.
The RS is more assertive, bold and dramatic in design, and, as such, it made sense to shoot it in the city at night, enveloping it in reflections of multitudes of lights within intriguing urban surroundings. Along the way, revealing the unmistakable design influences from the Camaro: a big grille, tall hood, skinny headlights, sculpted body and high beltline.
The Premier Blazer model is dressed best in chrome. It’s aspirational, and its polished personality exudes an inviting warmth. It’s a home away from home, out on the open road—coastal highways, the woods, it’s a stylish, sophisticated traveler. It yearns for beautiful, picturesque surroundings that complement its looks. We let it breathe in some wider shots, connecting it with incredible locations, and moved in for details, captured from an admiring, artful perspective. The look of the film here is warmer, utilizing golden light, low in the sky.
I experimented with a delicate application of the Orton Effect in the color grade, a technique originally used in film photography, which used a second image, shot out of focus and over exposed, to add a soft atmospheric glow to the finished picture. On its own it wouldn’t be noticeable but juxtaposed with the RS footage, it furthered the difference between the two.
Subtle differences in our choice of driving style broadened the difference between the two models. We captured the RS making slightly more aggressive moves. Portland served up a heavy downpour the night of our shoot which had us dodging deep puddles. It’s active, eager, and ready for adventure. The Premier is also up for adventure, but in a more elegant fashion.
My good friend and DJ/Composer Mikey Francis helped out on the music. I knew the sound track was going to be integral to this project, so we created the first version as part of the pitch to help win the job. His score drove the energy atmosphere and did a great job of enhancing the duality of the two Blazers. He modified the tone and character by changing the rhythm, working with a harder edged sound for the RS, and let things get a little silkier for the Premier.
Finally, our voice-over infused the script with nuanced vocal shadings that reflected the different character of each trim. With the RS, our voice projected a slightly more daring vibe, while the lines that describe the Premier took on a more acculturated touch. Like our other elements, the changes in tone are subtle so that the viewer notices it more subconsciously than something that’s tellingly overt.
The intro sequence was created in CG. This brought great efficiency to the overall process. We were able to hit the ground running and work on this section as soon as the job awarded, reviewing its progress before we even finalized locations for the live action shoot. Building on the efficiencies of this approach, we were also be able to re-purpose this CG for the social content, to maximize return.
Shooting Vertical Video Simultaneously
We shot on the Alexa LF, and with the larger size image sensor also comes greater resolution. This was invaluable for efficiency in being able to shoot everything once and being able to reformat for vertical or horizontal video, two different extremes in composition and square video as well.
That was key to incorporating social media into this launch, by treating it as an integral aspect of the shooting approach.