Photos courtesy of Kiss Films, India.
Where does Hero go to up their glamour quotient? India.
For Hero’s Glamour–a popular motorbike in the traffic-cluttered cities of India–the company chose cinematographer Paramvir Singh to shoot their latest ad. The DP is a graduate of the Film & Television Institute of India, and also a former creative in advertising.
The ad portrays women falling in love while riding in the comfort of the back seat of the new Hero Glamour. Director Shikha Makan envisioned a series of female protagonists thrown into a romantic fantasy the minute they catch sight of the bike. But she aimed to keep the dream world more based in reality, showing different women going about work or daily activities – to create a feeling that this scenario could actually happen to them.
“Shikha used Indian visual metaphors of love like yellow autumn leaves, bursts of Holi (the blazing oranges and reds from the Indian Festival of Colors), and vistas of the high mountains,” explains Singh, “which all translate the imagination of the women into a visual image. Our locations were varied. We shot in the streets of Mumbai, a dark tunnel in Pune city, a heritage palace in the heart of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, and the beautiful sceneries of Kashmir.”
To capture all of these colors, Singh chose KODAK VISION3 50D Color Negative Film 5203 for its color saturation and vivid blacks. Throughout the ad, it was very important that the red color of the bike stood out like the star -- and also the elements of leaves, Holi colors and the Kashmir valley's alpine greens.
“The 50D [Film] did wonders in controlling the saturation,” he says. “I wanted to use a stock that was also able to hold the high heat and bright sun of Rajasthan. As always, 50D [Film] did not disappoint.”
For the misty scenes of the Kashmir Valley, Singh used the low-contrast KODAK VISION3 500T Color Negative Film 5219.
“It is an excellent stock that brings out a great tonal range in dense environments,” offers Singh. “Thanks to [5219 Film], we kept shooting, even past the light meter signaling ‘E.’ That is the beauty of shooting on film. It brings to my mind what my cinematography teacher said once: ‘When in doubt, close your eyes and roll. Eastman will save you.’”
Including travel, the shoot schedule was roughly 15 days with many of the locations lacking an airport or a railway station. But despite the slower travel by vehicle and other logistical challenges, Singh felt secure the whole time knowing that they were shooting on film.
“We wrapped the shoot in Gulmarg and the nearest airport was Srinagar,” remembers Singh. “But that is an ultra-high security, old and small airport. I was worried about the baggage scanners. Not wanting to take chances, we sent the stock to New Delhi via cars, from where production carried it to the lab in Mumbai by air.
“A lot of cinematographers still love shooting on film in India,” adds Singh. “I think it is only aggressive marketing for (digital) that has led many uninformed people to opt for it as a choice above film. Ask any trained, visual aesthetician what medium he would choose, and he would pick film.”