Meaning of life was a fashion video project we made for a new collection drop. The creative concept of the video was developed by our team together with the brand’s creative director Jakob Freeland, director of photography was Max Bernard. Casting, production, set design, and VFX/postproduction was done by our agency. Make-up was done by Taja’s beauty studio.

In this blog, we’ll explain how we handled the pre-production process and managed to get past the obstacles on our way.

1. Concept

Before we go into detail on how we handled the production it’s important to explain what our goal was in the first place. Script for the video talks about a young woman on her quest to find the meaning of life, switching between 3 locations; an art gallery, a wild jungle, and a cyberpunk city. Even though everything sounds relatively familiar, as we’ve all seen those locations in movies or commercials multiple times before, all scenes are still pretty hard to produce. We had to use every trick in the book, from practical and visual effects, digital set extensions as well as designing and building a set our model would later pose in.

Creative concept for MOL fashion video

2. Art Gallery

After the storyboard was done we figured we only need 3 or 4 shots from the gallery. At first, we thought we would need to find a big gallery and get permits to shoot in it, but then we realized we can also just use a hallway that’s filled with real artwork. That’s how we ended up in a small art showroom that had just the perfect wall for what we needed. We then proceeded to shoot our model in front of a giant pile of stacked furniture that would later get replaced by a digital set extension, as you can see in this clip below. We couldn’t use a green screen in this case because there would be too much green spill on white walls and semi-reflective floor, that’s why we had to cut our model out by hand.

3. Welcome to the jungle

The next scene our model appeared in was the jungle. The key here was to build a set that would give our camera enough room to operate but still feel like we’re in the middle of the jungle, and not in our studio. We decided to use a giant backdrop sized 3x4m with a photo of the jungle printed on it to use in the back, to give our set some depth. Then we positioned jungle plants of all sizes and shapes, some artificial and some real, to create this feeling like there’s jungle all around the camera. To sell this scene we also needed our model to interact with some of the jungle elements, that’s why we build a fake tree and put it in the foreground so the model could walk around it.

We built our own tree trunk to create the illusion of depth in our jungle.

4. Cyberpunk city

The last scene was supposed to be the suburbs of an unknown, futuristic city and we were considering 2 different approaches. The first one had us using a green screen and then digitally replacing the city. The problem with this one was that we wouldn’t get the same flexibility with our camera movements and it would involve too much CGI that would make the shoot even more expensive. And to top it all of, the outfit our model would be wearing in this scene would be white, which would again result in too much green spill. This is why we decided to use the same technique as with jungle – we printed a giant backdrop with a futuristic city on it. But to make the scene somewhat believable we needed a lot more elements to be included in the shot.

This is why we decided to spice up the scene and make it rain. We set up our »fake rain« system, and let real water droplets interact with our model and her umbrella. By adding the rain element we have distracted our viewer a bit from the fact that there isn’t a real city behind her, but a static photograph. To top it all of we cut little holes in the backdrop and let light rays through where windows and other light sources are supposed to be, so the camera picked up light flares as well.

Customized rain system in our studio.

5. Conclusion

This project was truly one of a kind as we rarely need to use so many different techniques for one single delivery. It took us 7 full weeks between the script being confirmed and the time we premiered the video to our client.

If you have a project in mind, or would just like to discuss some video-related stuff, feel free to email us or simply schedule your videocall here.