TV shoot for Boy Scouts of America

Last week we filmed two more commercials for the Boy Scouts of America, this time in San Diego. The shoot went perfect. Like last time, these shoots were low budget spots compared to the typical shoot, but the budget was suitable for the type of crews that I like to run with. We has a DP, AD, gaffer, producer, production coordinator, wardrobe, and myself as director…or editor because I am basically an editor making sure I get all the shots I need to make a good piece.


DP Andy Lohrenz & Gaffer Brian Sitt


We hired a local AD, and a couple of PA’s. We always shoot with DSLR’s. This was our first “real” shoot with our new Canon 5DIII, and it was pretty awesome. I love this camera! It is so much like shooting with our old 7D, and a touch of the old 5D. We don’t use any of the gimmicky DSLR cages or support systems, nor a matte box. We were running and gunning the smallest and fastest way we could. The commercials called for 6-8 year old kids. We filmed at the San Diego zoo, and the Palomar Observatory. We basically had to be quick and leave a small foot print. Catching those candid moments was crucial for us, especially when trying to catch a tiger roaring…or a polar bear playing in the water. Our whole day at the zoo was set around the animals schedules.

Screen grab from raw footage

Another screen grab from raw footage.

Shooting with the DSLR’s and 90% of our scenes wear filmed out doors, so the only lights we brought were some small LED bricks, and a 200. We rented a couple of c-stands, a shiny board, and brought a 5 in 1 reflector. Our grip truck was a rented mini-van. The goal is to always stay within the clients budget.

Below is a pic of Brian Stitt, gaffer, rigging a plant to a c-stand lying on the ground. We could move the camera closer to the plants, so we brought the plants closer to us. I love having objects in the foreground, so my DP was patient with me at times when I insisted having something out of focus.

Brian Stitt helping to keep plant standing in upward position.

Every now and again, I would grab another camera to catch some great moments that Andy could not get alone, because we had so many things going on at once. Andy once said that we should be grateful because when it was cloudy, we had no shade, so we had natural diffusion, and when the sun came out, we were shooting under shaded trees….giving a nice look of the sun spilling through.

Andy in background, me in foreground shooting with 70-200.

Ultimately, this shoot was easy because of all the hard pre-pro work of Courtney Ware and Meredith Burke. These two always go above and beyond to make things so smooth, and they make sure the client and agency are always on informed. We were also so amazed and grateful for the San Diego Zoo and the Palomar Observatory for letting us film there. These are two locations that are nearly impossible to film in.

This was one of our final set-ups of the day for the observatory shoot.

One Comment

  • Roxann Hinely says:

    My son was one of the principal actors in the Cub Scout commercial shot at SD Zoo. I can see him in the screen grab of the polar bear under water on the right. Is it possible to get a copy of this commercial? Or a link to where we can view it? We have never seen it and would love to. He is a CS Wolf and would love to be able to share this with his pack. Thanks.

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