Ebay Lifestyle Commercial Created by Portland Film Makers Lightbox Filmworks

Ebay Lifestyle Commercial

What do a blanket, gramophone, app-controlled ball, and light-painting stick all have in common?

Well, absolutely nothing. So when eBay asked us to conceive and produce a 60-second commercial spot for their new line of ultramodern products aimed at the hip, intellectual urbanite–and in three terrifyingly short weeks–it was obvious we needed to develop an imaginative concept ASAP. After a few caffeine-fueled brainstorming sessions, we hit upon a theme: the cutting-edge of connection. We felt that summed up what was appealing about eBay’s new line; instead of our gadgets isolating us from the people in our lives, what if they promoted connection? From that thematic seed grew a story about a creatively blocked artist that becomes inspired during a leisurely day with his girlfriend and dog with the help of four very different items.

Video Production Storyboards

We had our hard-won concept. Now we needed a crew.

The well-tuned orchestra vs. Aimee, the golden retriever

Video Production Portland

One of the benefits of scouting for crew and locations, is that you discover a lot of great things about the city you live in. With the help of Ben, our producer, we met many brilliant actors, set designers, stylists, illustrators, gaffers, and camera operators. In addition to talent, there’s an enthusiasm in the Portland film community that you can’t find anywhere else. Even the management at the Asa Lofts, our first choice for our Artist’s apartment, couldn’t have been more helpful. Once we assembled our crew and conducted screen tests with our actors, we were confident we had a team that could perform like a well-tuned orchestra on our extremely demanding shoot day.

We had one last casting decision to make: the dog. We ended up auditioning just a single canine, an adorable, irrepressible golden retriever named Aimee. Only a year old and exciting by everything, we worried her energy might result in a few missed takes, but she was far too charming to pass up.

On shoot day, always prepare for the unexpected

Video Production Full Service Team
Video Production Animals
Video Production Red Dragon

There are few things as exhilarating as seeing your crew all together and in-person for your first large-scale production. Not to mention watching our camera operator get fitted with a easy-rig housing the RED Dragon! Shooting our first scene in the Asa Lofts went as smoothly as we could have hoped. Then came time for Aimee’s big moment. We needed her to do one thing: carry an app-controlled ball called a Sphero in her mouth and drop it in our actor’s hand. It took a few takes as the ball was a bit big for Aimee’s mouth and the surrounding commotion was overly exciting. But in the end, Aimee gave a perfect performance. We wrapped up feeling confident. If we could get a perfect take from a puppy, the rest should be easy, right?

Oh, the naiveté!

Our second scene was by far the most challenging. In order to portray the spark of inspiration our Artist receives while controlling the Sphero, we needed a number of shots requiring precise coordination between an off-camera Sphero operator and an excitable, easily distracted puppy–confounding enough as it is. Our biggest concern, however, was the rapidly decreasing amount of daylight. While eBay gave us a challenging timeframe, no one sets a stricter deadline than Mother Nature. With a half-dozen shots left on our shot list and 30 minutes at best before sunset, we had to make deliberate, lightning fast choices about how to use our time.

Video Production Night Scene
Video Production Balcony City Lights Scene

Squeezing 3 weeks into 60 seconds

If editing is a bit like sculpting, then RED Dragon footage is like imported Italian marble. Over the final week, our editor chipped away until those hours of raw footage became meticulously polished seconds while our motion graphics designers perfected a balance of high-tech and hand-drawn styles for the special effects.

Then, as suddenly as it began, it was finished. From our impossible concept and impossible deadline emerged a spot that we hope creates a sense of light-heartedness and whimsy.

Video Production Full Service Crew


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