Aside from my Tuesdays Picks every other week, another series I have going on my blog is Behind the Chair. It’s a collection of behind the scenes posts about different video shoots I’ve worked on and some interesting facts about what went on to bring it all together.
This week’s feature: the Owlet baby monitor commercial I got to work on this fall.
Fun Facts about this shoot:
The Good Line shot this in four locations over two days, but had to make it look like it was shot over a period of weeks. For my department, that meant several makeup, wardrobe, and hair changes to evoke the passage of time.
Normally with a shoot like this, each different scene is planned factoring in the lighting conditions and changes, the set and location timeline, and the actor’s timeline so we’re not doubling up our work having to change things back and forth unnecessarily.
Turns out babies are divas on set though. They won’t take cues or listen to directions and they demand to be fed constantly. ;) So in this shoot we had to work around the each baby’s schedule, and we ended up having to change scenes back and forth several times depending on when we could get the baby to sleep.
That meant several make up, wardrobe and hair changes back and forth, as well as complicated lighting changes since we had to black out rooms and mimic moonlight coming through the window as soon as the baby fell asleep.
Here are a few of the daytime makeup and hair looks I got to do for the commercial:
We also had to make sure the babies were filmed sleeping on their backs because of liability reasons for the company. None of the actor’s babies actually sleep on their backs in real life, so it was a challenge to get them to do it for the shoot. For one of the infants we ended up putting the crib sheet on the master bed (with a crew member on each corner holding it flat) laying the baby down on her side until she fell asleep, and then gently trying to roll her over without waking her up. In a closeup shot it gives the illusion of her sleeping on her back in the crib, but that single shot took over an hour to capture! By the time we wrapped with Day 2 it was past 1:30 am.
So in summary, life lesson learned: if you’re planning a shoot with babies, leave at least double the time you think you need to get the shot so you have room to accommodate their mood and schedule. And if you’re a makeup artist on one of these shoots, be prepared for a lot of “hurry up and wait” as you try to do quick changes in between scenes and then wait around on call while the baby does its thing .