Lucozade Sport ‘Evolution’ – Filmed in the Ukraine

10 Canon 1D mark III cameras // 4 days // 99,767 frames

Friday morning, I received a call asking whether I was available to do a job for director Tony Kaye. He needed 10 Canon 1D mark III cameras the following Monday at the Ukrainian north shore of the Black Sea.

This is how it went down: First things first, I had to locate 10 Canon 1d Mark III’s and the lenses needed for the job. This was a slightly difficult accomplishment, even here in New York City. When it comes to equipment, I never take anything for granted and prefer to have the items in my sweaty hands before confirming a job. By Friday evening, I was able to get everything confirmed and all the insurance issues ironed out.

Less than two days to the shoot: Saturday I packed my MacPro and 24” Eizo monitor together with my two 17” MacBook Pros. But how do you pack 10 bodies and 20 lenses as carry-on items – plus the laptops?! Thanks to the cold, I was able to take my huge North Pole expedition coat, empty out the trash and stuff every pocket with equipment – I think I must have gained 30 lbs. Airline restrictions at the time were one carry-on case and one personal bag which couldn’t even begin to hold everything. Unfortunately, there was no other way then to check the rest as cargo, nothing I could do besides make the cases look as anonymous as possible.

Arriving in Kiev: It was cold and the airport was tiny. I’d been told to look for a man in a black leather jacket and blond hair, who was going to walk me through the back door of customs. He was a special hire from the Russian mafia. While walking thru customs, I got some very long, nervous looks from the customs officers. Everything felt like slow-motion. We all knew what was happening. This was the real thing. Well, at least afterwards it was funny- but while it happened, it was nerve-wracking, especially thinking of what the consequences could be as a foreigner in a foreign country. Thankfully, the rest of the day was business as usual, a connecting flight to a town near the Black Sea and then a two hour drive to Alushta. I finally arrived around midnight.

Call-time the next morning was 3:30 AM. My main responsibility on the shoot was to supervise the production of stills used for video special effects (VFX motion). 11 assistants were assigned to help me set up and control the cameras and whatever else what was needed on set. The first day went fine. The raw footage came in and everyone seemed very happy. Besides the logistical problems of setting up cameras in the middle of nowhere [see pic gallery], my job was to color-grade, backup, and archive the enormous amount of data, and make it available to the people working on the VFX.

In the week that followed, the crew of 50-60 members and I put in at least 21-hour days. My jet-lag was converted into Lance Armstrong-like determination. I can only presume the cameras felt the same way.

The commercial was to be created with video and still images from digital cameras post-processed to moving images. A total of 99,767 still frames were used and mixed with footage from old Arri hand-cranked 35mm and 16mm film cameras, as well as a digital Arri D21, a slow motion Weisscam, a Lynx, and many other cameras all flown in from 2 continents. The amount of footage recorded was mind-boggling. It would take weeks to organize and look through just the film and digital video footage.

It was an amazing job and working with the large crew was incredibly fun. No doubt I would jump on another plane to the middle of nowhere again if I got the chance. In the end, more than 100 VFX sequences were created and the commercial shows a glimpse of one of the hottest trends in Hollywood right now, not the HD movie function of digital cameras, but simply using digital stills for motion.


Best wishes,


Esben // Captureforce


Director: Tony Kaye (American History X)

Client: Lucozade Sport

Campaign name: Lucozade Sport ‘Evolution’

[The theme of the campaign is to show the evolution of sports alongside the evolution of Lucozade Sport. The 60 second commercials use imagery of world famous athletes from different eras in competition against each other during decades that span from the 1920s to the present day]

Total budget: £2 mill.

Behind the scenes web gallery [click here]