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The crew had to deal with everything from players showing up seven hours late to not getting key equipment because a truck had a flat tire. "This was Johns first commercial, and after all of the headaches we went through, it might be his last," jokes Tattersall. "In the end, you either go with the Brazilian flow or die instantly. Theres a certain pace of life down there, and if you go mad and start screaming at people, they look at you as if youre from another planet."
According to Tattersall, its rare for feature directors to pull off a commercial well. "Quite often, they dont understand the necessity of cramming information into each frame, but John is naturally good at it," he offers. "He sees the filming process in his head, and knows how its all going to cut. He would know exactly how many frames he wanted to go in the master."
Shooting with such a director can also have its drawbacks, however. "I never dreamt that hed want to shoot opposing angles at the same time," recalls Tattersall. "Thats a hell of a compromise for a director of photography, because youre shooting with the light completely behind you on one shot. But what you get is a wonderful meshing of the action in the speed of the cutting, so you dont notice the lighting problems. We had a running joke about it: I would ask John which shot he wanted to be horrible and completely flat!"
Since the spots original storyboards changed so much, Tattersall was in constant contact with A Band Apart executive producer Michael Bodnarchek and the advertising agency, Amsterdams Wieden & Kennedy. "Michael, John and I had several long conference calls because the shot list changed on a daily basis," explains Tattersall. "Almost hourly, we discovered things we couldnt do. Its hard when youre using a football as one of the main characters. I must give praise to the agency people, who were wonderfully open to making the spot as good as we could do it. It was a real combined effort."
With the exception of Brazilian camera operator Marcello Durst, who had just finished working with Tattersall on the epic HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon (see AC April 98), the rest of the crew was picked up locally. "We certainly had the best crew in Brazil, but I think in many ways all of the Brazilian crews are excellent," comments the cinematographer, whose wife happens to hail from Brazil. "They have this extraordinary ability to adapt. If you dont have a crane, you make do. If somethings broken, they always manage to fix it or find another solution, but those things take time."
Because Woo likes to go for very dramatic angles, Tattersall brought in a Giraffe crane with a remote head that was able to swing, tilt and rise to a height of about 30. Tattersall estimates that as much as 15 percent of the footage was shot via remote, while another 10 percent was executed with a Steadicam. "The Steadicam operator, Jeff Mart, was excellent," notes Tattersall. "He has this amazing ability to wear a Steadicam and ride a bicycle using only one side of the handlebars. He can literally drop the bike, get off and start walking. In this spot, we used him mostly for tracking shots. I recall one shot in particular where he placed the camera at a very low angle and steered his bike toward a player just as the ball was kicked. The handy bicycle/Steadicam setup was also great for passing through a crowd of people without having to worry about the bulk of a dolly."
With the exception of a private V.I.P. departure lounge, the spot was shot in and around Varig Airlines maintenance hangers. "Theyd heard horror stories about lights melting airplane windows, and didnt want us wheeling any lights near their planes," recounts Tattersall with a chuckle.
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