The Brief

Porsche is launching globally the new all-electric TAYCAN model. A viral campaign has been planned to be shot in the Hoover Dam in the USA, the London Eye, and Shanghai’s Pudong financial area. I’ve been selected to direct the Shanghai part and we have one week to prep and shot a not-so-easy film. Game on.

The Plan

Luckily, I know Ben, the Creative Director at Ogilvy and head of this project in Shanghai. And more importantly, we know how to work together.

With the idea already sold, and both aligned, I took care of the visualization, the breaking down of the scenes, casting, the planning of the shoot and that kind of director things, while Ben took on polishing the claims that would appear on the film and get them signed off by the client 15 seconds before the shoot started in three different Shanghai locations at once.

The Challenge: Switching off Shanghai

So we have a film in which something hijacks all power in Shanghai, and all lights go kaput leaving the financial area in the dark. Then, a mysterious message appears in an iconic building known for its LED facade and massive billboards, and Electricity itself talks to the people of the world. She’s here to stay.

The challenge? All has to be done practically, no CGI. Because every day at 11 pm, Shanghai’s financial district lights go off until the next day. And that moment is perfect if you want to show Shanghai going dark. It’s really convenient. And also free.

(continues)

All-electric means all-electric

A viral video part of the global Porsche campaign introducing the first all-electric Porsche Taycan.

A sudden blackout leaves Shanghai in darkness when all power is hijacked by a building where a mysterious message about the power of electricity appears for everybody to read.

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The Challenge (continued)

The problem is that the moment of switching off only happens once. There are lights, and then they are gone. No retakes. No “one more for safety”.  Either you got it right, or you fucked up the whole thing.  To add injury to the insult, the action is seen from 3 different locations: from the ground close to the building with the message, from a hotel in the center of the financial district, and from a drone flying above the Pu River in the center of the city.

The prep revolved about that single moment in which the lights go off, we had rehearsed for hours and everyone was ready. Thirty minutes before the big moment, the client arrived at the set to enjoy the view of 4 monitors and a director with too much caffeine in his system.

In a shooting with three crews operating at once while being managed remotely, anything can happen. I was prepared for it. A drone running out of battery and plunging into the water, the guys in the hotel room getting asleep in a luxury suite, you name it. In my mind, there were four editing options depending on what footage we didn’t get. I was ready for anything.

But nothing happened. Everything went as expected. We were rolling five minutes before the time lights were supposed to go off. Lights went off. We got it. From all angles. And no drone was injured during the shoot. After the critical moment, we shot the rest of the film, and its a wrap. Editing, grading, and mixing was a piece of cake, and in one week since the day of notice, a new baby film was out in the wild.