In case you missed it, stop everything you are doing and watch this. Created by video agency Overlay Movies, the short film offers an action-packed and humorous take on why you need to have a power bank handy. Director and co-founder of Overlay Movies, Anton Usikov was kind enough to speak to us about shooting the short film and his plans for the future.
Team RAVPower: Where did the original idea come from to create a heist video?
Anton Usikov: My creative partner, Sergey, and I are both fascinated with punchy action films that put you right in the middle of the action right from the start, so we almost simultaneously came up with the bank robbery idea. It all fell into place by itself. The word “bank” in “bank robbery” was asking to be titled “power bank robbery”. All I had to do was just write it down.
Team RAVPower: What is your typical idea creation process?
Anton Usikov: The typical idea brainstorm is simple. You just say the first thing that comes to your mind without analyzing or judging it. Most of these ideas are rubbish, but sometimes what doesn’t sound good to you may give your team another idea and vice versa.
• Check out our previous coverage of RAVPower’s power bank short film.
Team RAVPower: Tell us about what it was like to shoot the RAVPower video? What was the hardest part?
Anton Usikov: The hardest part of video production is pre-production. It’s the part where you write the script, search for locations, make a story board, search/prepare all props, clothes, plan how to shoot stunts and green screen VFX, find actors, plan what equipment you need, make sure all resources and people are available on the same dates and then make a schedule and arrange everything. Once you got all these things pinned down, it’s joy to execute the rest.
It was really hot that day, 93 °F I think. I actually played the robber in the video. The cops and I had to wear heavy clothes, run and jump in it. I think I almost fainted at some point, but it was fun! I was wearing a t-shirt, a shirt, a jacket over it and a ski mask – not something you want to run around in when it’s hot outside. We started filming at about 6am and finished around 5pm. But that was just the major parts with the cops.
We had to return another day to the locations with Sergey and shoot some additional scenes with me and record all the sounds separately. Most of the sounds you can hear in the video, like the police siren, running sounds, city ambience, walkie-talkie sounds etc. were recorded afterwards.
Team RAVPower: How did you shoot the scene where you stand on the truck?
Anton Usikov: The initial idea for the escape scene was to jump off the bridge and land on a boat, which would lead to another scene where the robber is wearing a ski mask, but instead of the formal suit he wears surfing shorts a shirt with palms on it. He would be drinking a cocktail on a beach, and pays for it with the power banks he stole, but we decided it would be a bit of a stretch.
About the way we filmed the green screen part, I did something similar before so I thought it would cool to utilize it in an actual commercial. I had to jump over a bar standing next to the bridge rail, then I would mask myself out in After Effects and animate the jump combining with footage of cops closing in on me.
Team RAVPower: What are some of the funny moments that happened on set?
Anton Usikov: Speaking of funny stories, you probably can’t tell, but both cops’ pants ripped open in the private part area during the shoot. I had to run to a closest supermarket to buy a stapler to fix the pants because we didn’t have time to properly sew them. The pants kept ripping so we just gave up and tried not to film the bottom parts of the cops, but it turned out well. I didn’t tell you this!
Team RAVPower: That’s hilarious. I had no idea. I wonder if anyone else noticed. Moving on from the commercial, how did you get into video production?
Anton Usikov: About video production, I’ve always been fascinated with visual storytelling. I drew comics back in school, then started making simple videos as soon as the old Nokia phones with cameras came out. I kept it as a hobby until I reached a place where I had an opportunity to do this professionally. I took this opportunity and I love it.
Team RAVPower: What are you and Overlay Movies looking forward to in 2018?
Anton Usikov: The biggest goal for Overlay Movies right now is to make a feature film. I feel more confident in my vision now than ever before, and I want to get noticed by other people because I believe I have something to show to the world.
Team RAVPower: Any last words?
I am very thankful for having had an opportunity to work with RAVPower and TaoTronics and be featured online. I took this project as a challenge to myself to make it as thoughtful and cinematic as I could, because I do not like the conventional simple commercial videos. I constantly read and watch information about new cameras, ways to tell stories, so for the TaoTronics video I made an anamorphic filter for the lens. Without getting into details, the anamorphic look is what you see in most Hollywood movies. It’s the way the image is stretched. You can’t tell right away but you can feel it. Normally anamorphic lenses cost about $75,000 USD. But an anamorphic filter only costs you your creativity and knowledge.
Photo Credits: Aeon Horus (Contact)