Gi Orman of BiG Productions came to me and asked me if I would like to become a part of a super exciting project: Encouraging people to get off their mobile phones and other electronic devices for at least an hour in order to connect to family and friends without any internet and email interuption.
I couldn’t be more thrilled about such a project as you can imagine. Especially since I’m such a BEFUERWORTER for using email and phone responsibly and getting rid of our internet at home as you can read about HERE.
Here’s the video:
Gi Orman showed me a commercial from Asia that inspired him and the whole DaytoDisconnect team and asked me to be responsible for the visual look and feel as a cinematographer and colorist. We sat together and carved out the scenes first, discussed locations and actors. One important part was that we wanted some special effects that show the absence of the people in various scenes. The idea was to show that when you are emailing in the middle of a date with your spouse its as if your spouse is not there anymore. Or if you are playing with your children and texting at the same time, the children miss the presence of their father.
I think there couldn’t be a better time to produce such a video. We live in a time when everybody is on email, on Facebook, on the web. I think our real life human interactions have dramatically decreased. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology and embrace it. I just stand up for using it responsibly and I make sure that my wife and my children are always first before an email or another tweet ; )
Back to the production. In order to show the absence of people we wanted to have book pages turning, shopping carts being pushed, cups being held without the actual people present doing this in order to symbolize the loneliness. Many of you have asked how you guys did it and honestly I can’t take credit for it. It’s the genius of Elliot Christ who is the editor and graphics artist at BiG Productions and he and Gi are making all that magic happen. We basically put all the ‘flying’ parts on fishwires and filmed it with a lock down camera, then we took it out of the frame and filmed it again without the props. In post production Elliot merged the two images together and cut out with a mask the fishwires for a realistic effect.
Now, the shopping carts were a bit more down to earth done. We just had two guys on the floor moving the shopping carts and I chose a framing of the image so that you couldn’ts see them.
Early in the production process the Disconnect team brought Charlie Harary in for co – directing together with Gi Orman. I know Charlie for a while and it was so much fun to work with both together. Believe me, we made a lot of jokes going on and got the whole team cracking up ; )
Editing, special effects and graphics were done by BiG Productions. I was responsible for the color grading, one of my favorite specilties.
In terms of the look I wanted a highly stylized look. As you can see when the people were playing with their iPhones and Blackberry’s I color graded it in mute colors to emphesize the loneliness they are creating. When they realize the absence of their families and friends and turn off their phones I oversaturated the colors and shifted them towards the color spectrum of the sun light in order to give it a more vivid and happy feeling because they are now connecting with each other. Its important for me to express emotions through colors and amplify a certain feeling that I want my audience to experience.
Margelit Hoffman did the online marketing and some public relations for this campaign also through BiG Productions. Here’s how she got 50 different sites to embed the video or write about DaytoDisconnect in 2 months.
It was a great campaign that in the end had hundreds of thousands of hours of disconnection pledged. Thanks to Ohr Naava for bringing this awareness to the forefront.