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Project Spotlight: Squeezing a 10 Day Havas Group and Citibank Shoot into 4 Days

TRG Multimedia is never afraid of a challenge. Challenges make us grow and refine our systems to ensure we continue to deliver incredible work for our clients.

One of the most complex projects we worked on recently was a job for Havas Group on Citibank's behalf. The client needed high-quality commercial photography and video production to showcase a series of credit cards in various lifestyle environments. 

That doesn't sound too challenging until you learn that there would be over 20 set-ups (some including talent) and multiple versions of credit cards used in different settings, all shot within a 4-day schedule! It was an aggressive timeline and one that would require a great deal of pre-production, planning, and a crew with years of experience to pull it off.

The client provided TRG with themes in which the cards would be showcased (i.e., a bookstore, a Parisian café, a beach, etc.). Our stylist was then tasked with bringing these to life by assembling style boards and prop lists. Some of the props proved to be more challenging than others. While the TRG prop room is well-stocked with crucial elements, we did NOT have a gas pump on hand. (Hard to believe. Doesn't everyone have a spare gas pump laying around?) Since a gas station scenario was one of the shots needed, we got to work tracking down a pump. After several weeks, we finally secured one that would fit within the budget.

When it came time to shoot, the core TRG creative team included our senior photographer, Thomas Cook, set stylist, Deanna Domino and on-set producer Madison Hunkus. Additionally, the team included a photo assistant, a DP for video, a stylist assistant, and a digital technician to handle file organization. 

 Since our clients would monitor this as a remote shoot, it was critical to have a dedicated person act as their onsite representative. The producer would act as the liaison between the crew and the clients, ensuring that a clear communication line would be open.

With decades of experience between them, the crew got to work on this complex shoot that would require some very long days.

The stylist and her assistant had every prop for each scenario organized and ready in advance to keep on schedule. This included creating dummy receipts, menus, and business cards to create the worlds in which the card would be photographed. They would always be working on the next set-up while another was shot. Their attention would have to be split between the active set, as feedback from the client would come in and the next set's preparation. 

 Similarly, the photographer and his assistant worked on lighting and composition for two sets simultaneously. While the active set was photographed and adjustments were being made based on client input, the assistant would be working on prepping things for the following scenario.

 Since most of the environments required shots showcasing different cards, this necessitated finesse with the lighting. Due to the changes in textures and reflective areas on the cards, adjustments were made to ensure the perfect picture was captured every time. 

The success of this logistically intricate shoot was dependent on excellent communication. The TRG crew was in constant touch to make sure they were on the same page. Communication with the client, who was not on site, required them to be on video chat all day with the producer. The clients were sent images in real-time via Capture One. This allowed them to see the shots as they were taken. The clients would then have a separate discussion and would give their feedback to the producer. The producer would relay these notes to the stylist and photographer, who would make any necessary tweaks. Thanks to quick decision making, and clear communication, each set-up went as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Due to circumstances beyond their control, the client's window for this project had shortened and TRG had just four days to complete this shoot. This volume of work would have usually been scheduled for anywhere between 7-10 shooting days. This deadline meant that our crew would be working double shifts to meet the client's needs. The entire studio pitched in to help keep up their morale. The end of the shoot was celebrated with a mini wrap party for the team. The TRG crew went above and beyond during this shoot while maintaining the highest standard for their work in each of the over 300 deliverables that were sent to the client.

One of the biggest challenges we experience is maintaining our exceptionally high standards while also operating within timelines. A shooting schedule may require work is done much faster than preferred. By relying heavily on pre-production planning and maximizing efficiencies throughout the shoot, our crew hit our client's deadline and created world-class imagery.

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