We've had the distinct pleasure of working with Miroir USA for the last several years, producing product videos for their strong line of portable video projectors. Even in the midst of a rapidly evolving technology industry, Miroir consistently leads the pack in creating extremely bright and compact HD-quality projectors.

When tackling the product video for Miroir's HD Mini Projector, our challenge was to balance product features (there are a lot of them!) with a natural lifestyle approach. 

The video is meant to highlight multiple scenarios in which the HD Mini Projector can be useful. Although the video itself is brief, there are many elements that go into an advertisement like this. In addition to the directing and camera work, our team also handles pre-production considerations including casting talent, securing locations, and selecting appropriate props to make the scenes feel real. After that comes the editing, compositing, color correction and prep for delivery. In the end, each scene only lasts a few seconds, but if each one leaves an impression on its intended audience, then we've done our jobs! 

Another challenge involves being creative with how to get the shots we need, as quickly and affordably as possible. For one of the scenes, we had an idea to use the projector in a camping scenario, but we didn't have the time to travel outside Minneapolis to an actual campsite. However, through some careful scouting, we found a great-looking corner of a parking lot in urban Edina surrounded by pine trees. Add some camp chairs, a few paddles, and a little simulated moonlight and it starts to look a lot like the woods. This is my favorite aspect of filmmaking – by being selective and effective with camera angles and lighting scenes, we're able to completely change the mood of a location and create the ideal aesthetic for the project. 

Another challenge we encountered with this particular project was how to show the projections. Producing media of media can be difficult. Digital screens and projections don't photograph very well, and a recorded image of a projection never looks quite as good as the real thing. Thankfully, it's 2017 and we're able to use advanced software to digitally composite images into the footage. Neat! We're certainly not the first to do this. Take a look at any modern marketing for a product with a screen (a shiny new iPhone for example). All use composited screens - heck, even the phone itself is a digital model!

Not a real screen image. Not even a real phone!

Not a real screen image. Not even a real phone!

Behind the scenes look at our urban campsite. Light positioned to simulate the moon and our actors dutifully imagining a projection on the trailer.

To insert the projections , we used a technology called planar tracking, in which we placed an object in the scene to represent the approximate location and positioning of a projection. The little dots on the board help the computer track position, rotation and perspective. In post production, we digitally remove the board, and overlay the projection, which allows for textures and objects to naturally blend together. 

From a production standpoint, this process is huge benefit, as we are able to focus on performances and the overall cinematography during the shoot. It also gives much more flexibility later on in deciding what to put on the screen and getting the timings just right. 

The real lesson here is the importance of being genuine in representing the product. The obvious goal is to create demand for the projector, but being authentic really matters. It has to look real, and it has to make sense. In the end, we used a method that gave a consumer an accurate idea of what to expect when using the projector, without distracting from the lifestyle component of the advertisement.

Our team took part in nearly every aspect of the filmmaking process for this project, and I think the final video turned turned out really well. One final recommendation: if you're looking for a last minute gift this holiday season, check out Miroir projectors!

The final image with color correction, composited projection and light rays.


SERVICES:  directing, cinematography, color correction, editing, compositing

YEAR:  2017