Working Fast with Usain Bolt

When our close cousins over at WE ARE Spectacular asked if we’d like to film Usain Bolt for them to help create content for a new restaurant opening, it didn’t take long for us to decide.

Our brief was simple ‘get as much content as possible in whatever time we have with Usain’.

We’ve worked with many high profile people over the years, and our approach is simple; setup earlier, test everything and then we can focus on getting the best from our subject by putting them at ease.

So what’s Usain Bolt like to work with? Charming, Friendly and Professional…….

We decided to go for a green screen approach because this would give the team at WE ARE Spectacular huge flexibility in terms of what they do with the footage and stills.

A green screen (correctly lit) enables a new background to be added, this is a technique used in the majority of Hollywood films.

If done correctly at the time of filming, it’s extremely straight forward to implement a change of background in post production. It’s a bit like a measure twice and cut once, in other words get it right in camera and make everything else easier and better in post production. Also on this just in case we had a Chroma-blue backdrop just in case Usain came wearing any green colours, so the background colour could have been changed in 30secs.

Here’s a small selection of stills, 3 of which have been taken from footage. Creative Director James Ravenhall at We Are Spectacular did a great job extracting the stills, then again he did have some great material to work with.

We filmed this with our Red Epic in 6K, this enabled the ability to use the footage for stills and video, Red cameras are unique as they offer possibly the best platform for creating stills and video content from one camera.

Creative director James made great use of the footage by extracting stills and creating a series of short social clips to work across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Looking to waste nothing James even cut together a fun out-takes reel. We also went outside with Usain to get a few extra stills, Ashley our assistant checked outside and confirmed there was no-one on the street, ok let’s pop outside and hopefully no-one will notice. To our surprise within secs (maybe it was longer, but it felt like seconds) suddenly there was people everywhere, it was as if they’d been hiding. We’ve never seen anything like it, Usain remained very relaxed despite the instant crowds.

Of course we simply went back inside and Usain thought it might be fun to go outside too, of course inside we had a closed set, so Usain could get some privacy in our studio sanctuary……….

Blooper reel, our favourite

Within 30secs people started to appear from no-where……

Within 30secs people started to appear from no-where……

Within 90secs too many people, that’s Kate with the clipboard her quote is below…….

Within 90secs too many people, that’s Kate with the clipboard her quote is below…….

Here’s what our client had to say about the project:

“As a Brand Marketing & Creative Agency we have videography skills in-house, but we knew we needed to take it up a notch for the marketing of Usain Bolt's Tracks & Records London. Having worked with Alex and My Perfect Cousin on previous projects we had no hesitations on bringing them in again, and the team didn't disappoint.

They went above and beyond to ensure that we captured a year's worth of content during a 2-hour window. Green screens, two video cameras, behind the scenes photography... all expertly captured in an energetic and professional way. It would be fair to say Usain had as much fun as we did. We're now in the midst of another project with the guys and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone.“

Kate Rapacchi, Managing Director, WE ARE Spectacular