For the third and final installment of the Restoration Specialists' TV commercials, I decided to create a set that would best depict a "redneck" shack. Originally, I considered doing the entire production using a green screen and then composite a virtual 3d model set in post. The idea was temping but going old school with a real set I decided was the best solution for this project. Trying to keep the budget under control, we set out to build a redneck shack using the most efficient and cost-effective ways possible. Assisting me in the build was Tim Zeinz, an amazing carpenter and longtime friend of mine. The set consisted of one wall, one window, one door and a front porch. It seemed simple enough to build, but like all successful endeavors, the devil is in the details.
Lowe's quickly became our best resource for the materials that we needed. In the past I had noticed things like the inexpensive sections of wood fencing and the cheap barn-style wood paneling. These two resources became the basis for our build. The wood fencing became the floor boards for the front porch and of course the paneling became the basis for the wall. We also weathered the set with paint and stain to give it that "lived in" look. Dressing the set, I decided to find the most quintessential items that no redneck shack could do without. A rocking chair, a banjo, a moonshine jug, a raccoon pelt, a bug zapper, an old tub, a clothes line, a bird house and a spittoon.
Perhaps the most critical of elements were lighting. I ended up using a variety of nine different lights to achieve the desired look. First, I wanted it to look like the actors were lit by three overhead porch lights. To achieve this effect, I used three ordinary halogen work lamps clipped overhead. Second, I wanted it to seem like it was being filmed during a moon-lit evening. So for the outer edges of the set I decided to bounce light from two 500 watt LEDS to create a blue colored cast. Third, I used two 300w halogens and added CTO orange gels to warm it up even further to create the window effect. Forth, to light the foreground weeds, I decided to use two 5600k lamps to match the color temperature of the two 500w LEDS. Lastly, I decided to use one 100w Flolight Microbeam for fill on some of the close up shots of the actors.
Adding the weeds in the foreground really helped to sell the illusion. All we did was cut some weeds from a nearby empty lot and clipped them to sawhorses. Then I mounted the camera on a slider to create a small inward dolly that reveals the redneck shack. Aside from casting a hound dog, I think we pretty much had everything covered.