Equilateral Creates Traffic LA & Wood Defender Spots | Diametrically Different Yet Equally Stunning
Equilateral recently produced two completely different yet equally stunning spots. The first is for Traffic LA, a high end, Beverly Hills-based shop offering chic modern designer clothes. The second has Equilateral teaming up with the latitude agency for Wood Defender, a Mansfield, Texas company offering superior wood stain for the DIY customers as well as contractors. Both spots were directed by Equilateral’s resident director, Roger Peters and executive produced by Jessica Cramer.
They fall on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of design and shooting style. The Traffic LA production, features vibrant, in-your-face colors with dancers from…get this…Juilliard…showing off the clothier’s trendy styles with eclectic dance moves. Wood Defender’s brand video is more straightforward. Each shot beautifully showcases the product in sharp focus contrasted with a creamy, out-of-focus background. Both spots demonstrate the versatility and creativity Equilateral offers their clients.
AdChat DFW caught up with Roger Peters to discover how he approached each production.
AdChat DFW: Why did you decide to go with the fun and crazy colors for this spot?
Roger: I wanted to put the dancers in an ethereal environment, so the creative director Jonathan Merla and I created a custom color scheme based on paintings by Julian Stanczak. It also helped to fill the studio with haze to blend colors as our lights transitioned through the programmed color schemes.
AdChat DFW: What did the client want in terms of art direction?
Roger: With this client we usually have a lot of freedom when it comes to art direction. The creative director and I usually find a flow during pre-production and weave our way through the creative ether. This one was all about the clothes and how the dancers moved in it.
AdChat DFW: How did you enlist dancers from Juilliard? There must be a cool story there.
Roger: I have to give props to my man Jonathan Merla on this. The story is that of the 8 or so modern dancers that were accepted into Juilliard a couple of years ago, 5 were from Dallas. This is very rare. Jonathan reached out to our 3 dancers and had them choreograph moves to our music, based on their response to the styles of the clothing. Those dancers were amazing to collaborate with, and their movement was absolutely beautiful to film. So much of the camera work became about finding intimate moments between the lens, the dancers and the clothes.
AdChat DFW: How do you feel about directing such a unique spot?
Roger: This Traffic LA spot and the opportunity to collaborate with this client has been such a dream, especially filming such skilled and precise dancers.
Check out the spot and a time-lapse of the shoot.
AdChat DFW: Did you shoot this spot locally?
Roger: We filmed at 3 different locations around the metroplex. It was really important to find settings that matched each one of our different characters. So, we needed to find a garage for our DIY character, a brand-new unstained cedar fence for our contractor and a backyard for our handy man character. We also filmed at the headquarters of Wood Defender & Standard Paints, which was really fascinating.
AdChat DFW: Who did the casting?
Roger: For this project we casted from headshots, but I had worked with both Tanner McElroy and Alika Ray on several occasions before and knew that they were right for our casted roles. Our commercial fence staining character was actually a real commercial fence contractor that works with the client. He had such a great look and knew how to apply the stain with the commercial equipment, which made our lives easier.
AdChat DFW: What voice over talent did you use?
Roger: We also did the casting for VO, reaching out to all of the normal agencies in Dallas. We landed on Bobby Butler because he had such a great upbeat tone with that relatable drive in his voice that spoke to the ambition of contractors and DIYers alike.
AdChat DFW: Can you tell our audience about the racked focus that let the viewer focus on the wood staining detail?
Roger: For this spot, I worked with one of my favorite Cinematographers, Jake Wilganowski. We created a look that was all about moving with the action and showcasing the stain. We did all kinds of fun things like utilizing macro lenses and mounting the camera to planks of wood. When I approach the look of a spot, I am looking for the details and abstractions that help build the story through the textures of a scene. This being a brand video, it was all about showcasing the stain being applied, and I wanted to show it in all of its forms. I also need to give a shout out to our art director Sean McCord. He makes so many of our art dreams come true, like building a deck on the day of the shoot!
AdChat DFW: What was your favorite experience shooting this spot and how did the client feel about it?
Roger: Directing this Wood Defender spot was one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had on set. We all just really enjoyed the process, and from the client and agency all of the way through the crew, it felt so good to laugh and create together! Here’s a quote from our client, we think he’s pretty happy!
“Equilateral is my go-to dream team. They are as committed and enthusiastic about the process as they are the final product.”
– Terry Baughman, Creative Director, latitude