We’ve all seen great composition, lighting and a story from a variety of directors, but there’s one in Chicago who stands out. Jeremy Pinckert, founding member of Explore Production Company, is an award-winning director of commercials and branded content. Time and time again, Jeremy has proven that he has the eye-catching vision for monumental shots and performances.
Jeremy graduated with a degree in film production and a minor in cultural anthropology from Ball State University’s acclaimed communications program. He cut his teeth directing programming for Discovery Channel, History Channel, and ESPN Original Entertainment documentary, winning an Emmy Award in the process.
Reel Chicago finally got to sit down with Jeremy, and hear about his most recent contemporary creation. A recent advertising campaign for the largest credit union in Indiana, Teacher’s Credit Union. The new spot which follows a couple as they progress through life features interesting transitions. Jeremy touches on the idea behind those, the impact of new COVID-19 regulations, being on set again, and creating art in a new era.
What was the idea about transitions when you were filming? The initial creative didn’t call for any transitions, but as the director I felt it needed a visual device to give the viewer a tell that we are entering scenes that are not in the present. So, we added transitions that enter and then travel between these meta scenarios in a potential future, and then a match frame to indicate we are coming back to the present world. I also wanted there to be subtle movement in the present tense, but when we enter the future every shot has a fast, precise dolly move to give a sense of energy.
How are flip transitions achieved? To achieve these transitions, I really wanted to go beyond just using the “whip pan” made popular through directors like Wes Anderson. I found inspiration in Ian Pons Jewell’s work, and working with our cinematographer, we were able to achieve all transitions practically and in-camera.
The first transition is what I would call a circle tilt, where the camera flips 90 degrees off axis into the next shot which also is flipping 90 degrees back on axis, all while dollying in towards our talent. Amazing work by our grip and camera department.
What precautions did Explore take while filming under Covid-19 guidelines? With producer Damian Huck, we decided our best chance for a safe, successful shoot was to bring on a Covid Health & Safety Officer. Bri Malkowski from Levinson Locations kept all of our PPE compliant, our crew interactions safely distanced and our food serving areas clean. We also cast real couples whenever possible.
How long did filming take place during new Covid-19 guidelines? Filming was all done in one 12 hour day on location.
Can you describe how you film a one-take for a commercial? We did not do a one-take for this commercial. The scenes were all shot separately and then we planned clever transitions to make it feel like a constantly kinetic piece.
What is the main key factor in storytelling for commercial use? I always say no matter the technology, or in this instance the camera movement, the root of any successful film, commercial, or short is the ability to connect with viewers and make them feel something. It’s all about an emotional feeling, whether happy, sad, anger, justification, audacity, etc.
What are some important factors to achieve a great take? Great takes on the shoot day are all about clear communication. I like to lay out my expectations early, identify usable takes early, and most of all be our talent’s biggest cheerleader.
What’s your favorite sequence from directing your latest ad with TCU?My favorite sequence is the circle tilt for it’s fresh approach and then the Ghost Pepper to Tailgating for Two scenes.
Jeremy, his wife and three school-age children call the Midwest “home,” where he enjoys traveling, playing music, hiking, golfing, and getting outdoors with his family, exercise and yoga, and of course, screening movies. Visit his website HERE.
TEACHER’S CREDIT UNION:
VP Marketing Angie Dvorak
Marketing Manager Kelley Taghon
Directed by Jeremy Pinckert
Producer Damian Huck
Production Manager Lorcan Miller
1st AD Paul Ruffolo
1st AC Igor Cedeno
2nd AC Emily Lazlo
Gaffer Ted Holmwood
Best Boy Electric Nate Bonifas
Key Grip Stephen Wester
Dolly Grip Neil Shukla
Sound Erik Rassmussen
HMU & stylist Michelle Norkett
HMU assistant Patty Kaniff
Health & Safety Officer Bri Malkowski
PA Patrick Jennings
PA Xenon Zeigler
Edited by Jill Dugan
Composite by Tom Dernulc of The Colonie
Color by Ron Sudul / Nice Shoes
Audio/Post by Dan Bewick
Wife Rebekah Roberts
Husband Garret Lutz
Background couple Ralph and Erica Wells
Jessica Velle is writer from Los Angeles, CA. She focuses on shining a light on culturally diverse stories.