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Life Before Photoshop: Dewars Scotch

Look ma, no Photoshop!

Look ma, no Photoshop!

I was hired by Leo Burnett Advertising in Chicago to go to Scotland and produce a series of ads that represented their new campaign line “Good things remain the same Dewars Scotch”. While we were shooting one ad, I had a location scout looking for other locations. One location we had to find was an authentic Scottish pub in Edinburgh, Scotland where we were based out of.

Now you would think that finding a pub in Edinburgh would be a slam-dunk…but you would think wrong. There weren’t any left that had any old world charm, because restaurant entrepreneurs here in the states were going over there and buying up all the old bars, chairs, floors, and even the woodwork; and paying a very good price. The pub owners happy to make some serious money were replacing all that wonderful history with Formica.

After spending close to a week looking without any luck, I had the location scout find me a room that was close to matching the layout. I would turn it into an authentic Scottish pub myself!!! She located a room in the back of a boy’s prep school that fit the layout perfectly. Now all we had to do was to rent, buy, or borrow enough props to make it convincing.

We arrived at the prep school early one morning with all the props and were about to create magic, when the headmaster came into the room and said that he was curious on how we were going to attach everything to the wall. “What do you mean” I asked in a courteous way. He said that since the wood paneling was over seven hundred years old, and we weren’t allowed to touch it, he just wanted to know how we were going to do it. It was like being run over by the business end of an Amtrak train (express with no stops).

Acting quick and purely out of desperation, an idea came to me. We ran over to the nearest fishing store and purchased enough twenty pound monofilament line to reach across the entire country.

So everything you see on the wall is not actually touching, but is suspended down from hooks mounted on the ceiling and is approx. 1/8th to 1/4 of an inch in front of it. It’s what you had to do when Photoshop was years away from being invented. You had to shoot everything in the camera.

The men had never seen each other before that day. We went out in the street and recruited these two you see in the photo. The reason that they look like old friends exchanging their secret fly-fishing spots was because being realistic, I had them actually drinking Dewars.

Check out my online class with the PPSOP, and my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop I conduct around the planet and I’ll show you how to see things in the camera.

FYI, this photo was lit with one 12K HMI out the window and a large roll of white seamless between the camera and the men.

Here’s the room before we started:

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, check out my 2012 workshop schedule and come shoot with me sometime.



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    { 2 comments… add one }
    • Gary Thursby February 28, 2012, 10:09 pm

      Very very creative Joe! Funny how computer software can change so many things. One quick question Joe. Aren’t HMI lights a blue light? I think they use them in the movies to shoot day for night. But in your photograph there is that nice warm light coming in form the window where the HMI is placed!

      • Joe February 29, 2012, 4:48 pm

        The 12K HMI’s are very large daylight balanced lights. To get them to have various degrees of warmth there’s warming gels placed in front of the glass.
        They are normally used in film production, but I’ve also used them for years in still photography to mimic late or early morning light.

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