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Exploring a Microscopic Montage of Mess for a Brazilian Cleaning Brand


Hungry Man Brazil’s director JC Feyer speaks to LBB’s Ben Conway about showing cleaning products through some dramatic new lenses for Ypê

Exploring a Microscopic Montage of Mess for a Brazilian Cleaning Brand

‘Appetite appeal’ is a well-known concept in the realm of food advertising. Inarguably, there’s a real art form to making people’s mouths water. From those slow-mo cheese pulls to the macro videography that brings the audience up close and personal with whatever crispy, crunchy or crumbly delight you’re trying to spark hunger with, directors and their production teams try their best to entice you with the dynamism and beauty that is held in each mouthful.

But why should this technique be limited to just food ads? Why can’t cleaning products, for instance - with their vast spectrum of colours, consistencies and reactions - also be presented in this way? After all, who hasn’t been trapped in a rabbit hole of ‘satisfying deep clean’ compilations and other similar social videos that have risen in popularity in recent years?

Using this insight, Hungry Man Brazil’s JC Feyer directed the ‘Clean Appeal’ campaign for the Brazilian cleaning product brand, Ypê. Filming entirely in-camera with practical effects and an assortment of lenses and other equipment, the dynamic, vibrant spot combines three layers at various distances to show the products in action - medium shots, close-ups and super macro shots. The almost microscopic visuals transition seamlessly from one to the next with tight choreography and dizzying camerawork in a way that shows detergents, soaps and more in ways you’d never expect.

LBB’s Ben Conway caught up with JC to get a behind-the-scenes look at the project.

LBB> What was the brief like for this campaign? How did you react to it and what ideas immediately came to mind?

JC> The briefing was to show cleaning products for homes being used in the most extreme situations - in this case, cleaning a restaurant that has just closed for the night, a type of torture test. To reinforce the quality of the product, DPZ’s creatives created ‘Clean Appeal’, which is the same concept as ‘appetite appeal’ used in food films, but appropriating it for the universe of cleaning products. I jumped at this brief because it took me out of my comfort zone. How could I translate this concept into images? In appetite appeal, everything is very beautiful and delicious, the images of the food in macro, its textures and imperfections are mouthwatering, leaving us with a desire to eat. What about the ‘clean appeal’? I needed to represent the product in a way that no one has ever seen and, to engage people, I needed to make a dynamic, animated, beautiful and… different film.

LBB> Why did you make the decision to film everything practically in-camera?

JC> We were looking to create a new, proprietary language for the brand. The great scenes of appetite appeal in food films, those that really make your mouth water, are not done with CGI - it’s this organic imperfection that feeds the beauty and the desire. That’s why we didn’t give in to the 3D demos, which everyone has seen for this type of film, and are boring and monotonous - the exact opposite of what we wanted. With this in mind, we searched for artists who are experts in macro and microscopic filming.


LBB> What does practical filmmaking add to a project that CG and other post-production tricks can’t? How does the practical approach affect your pre-production and preparation processes?

JC> The real thing is unpredictable, organic and ready. Not that CG doesn’t have the ability to create something similar or better, but we bet on a different approach. To be able to say that we tested, learned, developed and captured everything in live-action, and arrived at this result, is very appealing. 

This pre-production was very different from anything I’d done. We needed to find a partner who was brilliant at understanding chemical elements, in macro and microscopic sizes, and who would also be available for all the necessary tests. So we found a brilliant artist in Germany who was willing to face this challenge.

We needed to understand the chemical characteristics of each product and how they act. For example, there are products that are transparent and their bubbles are iridescent and composed of two elements that dissolve the dirt. Another generates an explosion of small, violent bubbles that form foam, while another has micro particles that, in contact with water, give the sensation of an atomic explosion that sweeps the stains. Once we understood how the chemistry worked, we needed to translate this into images, or rather into other elements that represent how these products act on a scale the naked eye can’t see. Roman, our German artist, engaged in hundreds of tests at his studio until we were able to get results that were satisfying for the client and visually stunning for the film. Voilá, the clean appeal was created.

LBB> In effect, this is a film in three layers - going from standard mid shots, to close-ups, and then to the microscopic. How did this idea come to be?

JC> The idea of building the film in three layers was a concept that I created to solve some customer needs and to build the narrative. The film needed to be dynamic and visually interesting, so I had to put the three layers into practice: actors cleaning in medium shots (layer one), the products being applied (layer two) and the super macro of the products acting (layer three). 

All of this builds a great choreography, transitioning between these distinct worlds. Cleaning product films usually don’t have much beauty in them, so I dramatised the cleaning to explore the hidden beauty that exists within it.

In layer one, the actor doesn’t just pass a cloth over the counter, but he squats, looks closely and makes a slightly more dramatic expression than usual. In layer two, I sought to dramatise the frames and camera movements. And the third layer of macros, is a great drama in itself - not only for the beautiful and colourful images of substances reacting with each other, but also for its unpredictability.

LBB> How did you achieve these microscopic close-up shots? What cameras, lenses and other equipment did you use?

JC> In terms of gear, Roman used his full set of macro and close-up lenses, as well as three different cameras to cover all frame rates needed. Multi-axis motion control was also used whenever needed.


Canon 100 mm Macro

Canon 180 mm Macro

Canon 65 mm MPE 5:1

Canon CN 10x25

Zeiss Milvus 50 mm Macro

InfiniProbe TS-160 ROBUSTO 15:1

Laowa 24 mm Probe Lens 2:1

Laowa 100 mm Macro 2:1

Laowa 15 mm Macro Shift

Leitz Macrolux Diopter Set


RED DSMC2 Helium

BM Ursa Mini Pro 12K (for 4k 240 fps)

Chronos HD 2.1 (for 1080p 1000 fps)

Roman> The supplies list included all types of paint, pigments, fluids and oils as well as a few chemicals, alcohols and acidic elements. We shot on paper and fabric, in Petri dishes, on glass plates and in fish tanks. It is all about weight and consistency, gravity and gradient. On one hand, we used custom-built pumps, tilting plates and motion control systems, but on the other hand, the many simple, little helpers like magnets, glue or toothpicks made the difference while working and experimenting. 

LBB> As well as the microscopic close-ups, there are some very dynamic spinning and moving shots - how were these captured? Did you have to build or use unique rigs? 

JC> As I wanted to make a dynamic film, all the scenes would have to have movement - but not just any movement. The camera was always placed in an unusual spot and the movement was fun, while valuing and accompanying the products and cleaning. There were endless sessions of creative brainstorming with my DoP, Gabriel Bianchini, on how to achieve the movements for the scenes, taking into account the dynamics of the film, the movement of actors and products, and last but not least, taking into account the budget, planning and equipment available here in Brazil.

It wasn’t necessary to build any new equipment or rigs, but it was necessary to adapt many of them and build practical effects to help position the camera and enhance the movements in the scenes. We used a seven-metre technocrane with the three-axis head stabilised, and a Panther with and without arm jib, sometimes with a Weaver head and other times without. We also used a Steadicam to make more controlled and fluid movements. And in the optical part, we used PRIME SIGNATURE, Laowa and Probe lenses. The camera was an ALEXA LF and in some of the scenes, we used the PHANTOM.

When we shot scenes with a lot of things happening - complicated camera movements, products, practical effects - it would involve many people and be very time-consuming. That was the biggest challenge, putting all the scenes in the schedule. On some days, we were with three teams, simultaneously shooting in the studio.

LBB> Which shots or sequences gave you the most satisfaction to shoot? 

JC> The scene I liked the most was the sequence where the camera comes out of the kitchen oven, passes through the glass that divides the kitchen and goes out to the entrance of the restaurant. On the way back, we retraced the entire route and arrived at the chef, back in the kitchen to start cleaning. In the middle of all this, there was a very complex mis-en-scene with several elements happening at the same time. My editor took the scene out of the film and it fit better by splitting it. But it was a big challenge to film it the way we did, and we learned a lot.

LBB> How involved were you in the edit process generally? What direction did you give to the editor?

JC> The edit was one of the fundamental pieces of success for these films, especially as this project needed a lot of rhythm and had great camera movements, with many transitions between scenes. So I looked for one of the best editors on the market, my partner Ivan Goldman - an editor who has a huge creative force. My briefing for him was: we will make a very dynamic film, with a lot of camera movement and transitions, but we always need to value the product and its beauty, building a great choreography with a focus on the clean appeal. From there, we started to study potential transitions and movements but, as always in editing, surprises happen. Many of the transitions and movements worked and many others Ivan did differently and got a better result that way. But I participated in the whole editing process actively with him, and we enjoy each other's output and creative decisions.

In this type of film, good preparation is very important. You can not go and shoot without being prepared. You need to know exactly what will happen in the film and how we will perform the scenes. Of course, there is space for creation and improvisation both on the set and on the edit, but the finished film is practically my shooting board.

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LBB Editorial, Tue, 25 Apr 2023 16:56:00 GMT