A while ago I was asked by a friend to help create a web/TV commercial for another friends product, Suitjammas, Pajamas that look like a business suit.

*UPDATE* The TVC has finally been released!!

Weird product I know. Anyway, I suggested the idea of two guys who go sleepwalking, one normal everyday schmoe and the other a guy wearing Suitjammas. The normal everyday schmoe has rather rubbish things happen to him over the course of the commercial while the Suitjammas guy has amazing things happen to him.

I wanted to display both of the guys onscreen at the same time often as well as providing a neat way to transition to the different setups by using an animated split screen that shrinks and expands as needed.

The budget was really low but the enthusiasm was high and our team was really motivated.

Here is the finished product:

Sadly the commercial was never used as the owner of the Suitjammas business decided not to use it so it never really got its day in the sun.

But it was a really fun project where we were presented with several time, budget and creative challenges that we managed to overcome with results that we were really happy with.
I was asked by some people about my lighting set ups and camera choices, so I decided to put up some information about it here.

Lighting setups

A while ago I got a box full of lowel clamps and odds and ends, they are so useful, I used them all over the shoot. For the pole dancing security guards, my favorite shot due to challenge, we had a really tiny room with a funny wooden bucket thing in the corner, maybe it was for magazines. I put a tota in it with one of the little tota clamps pointing up at the girls with an 800w bulb, unfiltered, barndoored off a bit so the light really came from between their legs. (1:45)

We were backed into a corner where we were shooting from so I put up a bounce board over my left shoulder and a diffusion frame on the right of camera and hit both with a single Tota (600w bulb) to act as fill and key, both soft. single flag used to control some spill.

Because we had so little room I had the SuitJammas dude move forward and right while i moved back and left. Filled the room with as many people as we could and some smoke to add some diffusion and depth and viola.

My other really enjoyable moments were these two:

Bar scene.

We had run out of time and had 25 min to get the shot. It wasn’t used in the end but out of sheer speed this was great. I positioned every one as fast as I could then had a 600w Tota unfiltered coming down from the left as a 3/4 back light. Then I put up a 2k as close as I could without cooking people with a pop out diffuser in front of it. Pump the smoke machine and roll. No time for an eye light was my only gripe. Melted the exit sign over the tota and got kicked out soon after the first take.








The Sushi hero shot.

This shot was real fun too. There is nothing really complex about it just a tota up behind the bamboo curtain with a half blue on it hitting the food a bit and my poor cam assist holding a light panel over head which is daylight temp. Balanced a bit warmer than daylight. His arms were sore soon after the 3rd take as I kept getting the move wrong








The cookie at 2:00 is just a 2 foot frame with cinefoil cut into strips. I prepared this earlier cause I was going to use it on both bedroom shots. The overall room is lit with a 2k behind a 4×4 foot diffuser and a fair way back. And the tota (600) is hitting the cookie closer up. I used a few flags to control the spill.

Camera Choice

I primarily used my Rokinon 24, 35 & 85. Nikon 50 1.2 and a fair bit of the Tamron 17-50 which if you are just a bit off 2.8 is more than sharp enough.

I Chose the Panasonic AF100, because I own it already, it’s a fast camera to use and we didn’t have much time at each location. The AF100 is great, it gets a bad wrap really. I have had my issues with it but once you get used to it you can really make it work well.

The best results I get is when I have been using the sharp end of the lenses I have. So my Rokinon 1.4 never get used any faster than 2. It’s not the sharpest camera so I don’t want soft lenses to add to any lack of sharpness. That said the not so razor-sharp image can be a benefit as its easy these days to be too sharp. This is something that took me a long time to appreciate. The Alexa has a great looking image that is partially because it’s not too sharp, there is a nice softness to it.

But the lack of sharpness can also be a problem if you look at high detail wide scenes it does not look as nice as a GH2 or RED or other high detail, super sharp camera. But for most things this is really not a problem.

I have been thinking about getting another camera for a while but the AF100 just keeps delivering really well and my clients are always really happy.

I shoot in Cine V cause I get happier highlights and I keep an eye on the red channel as it clips early, keep that in mind and you can’t go wrong.


SuitJammas Web site here.

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