One of the best things about this business is that greatness lurks around every corner. If you are resourceful and creative you'll find it well enough.
I've shot several viral projects for production company Seedwell and I was honored to be invited to shoot their first broadcast spot. The hitch: there wasn't much money to do it with. That's not unusual. Clients generally won't trust you with a lot of their money until you have a proven track record, and that doesn't come about until you've shot successful spots for them. It's a classic Catch-22 situation.
Naturally we jumped at the chance to wow them. How could we not? While I don't regularly pursue low budget work I do invest in creative relationships that show promise, and the Seedwell team are not only extremely creative but they are extremely nice people as well. It's also an awful lot of fun to make something really awesome out of relatively little. I love shooting big budget spots on Arri's Alexa and RED's RED ONE, but once in a while it's fun to do the same quality of work with a lot less. No matter the budget there's never quite enough time or money to do it "right," so it's good practice to consistently over deliver regardless of the project.
Besides, not having the right tools or the proper crew can be very freeing: you can only do what you can do, so rather than fret about lost opportunities I prefer to focus on creative possibilities. I firmly believe that it's the people behind a project who make the difference, not the tools. The tools help, and sometimes the right tools are necessary to achieve specific shots, but in general creativity is not determined by the gear on hand. It's who uses it that counts.
Blue Nile Jewelry came to Seedwell because they wanted to update this commercial, originally broadcast in 1999.
Here's what we did using a Canon 5D, a stock zoom lens, a two person grip/electric crew and a Kessler slider: