Inspiring your TV Ad, Film, or Web Video Compositions

If you're a marketing, communications, or media professional responsible for producing TV spots or web video productions for an organization, you can sometimes run into creative lulls.  Finding the right angle, composition, and especially a visual hook for the entire campaign can be a challenge. Recently I found myself pushing the idea of a commercial campaign to a financial client. The treatment combined the emotive inspiration of the "Pure Michigan" TV ad campaign featuring Tim Allen as narrator, and the creative camera compositions in the acclaimed 2012 film "Moonrise Kingdom" by Wes Anderson. I joked during the meeting about the number of times someone in my shoes has sat in a creative video production meeting and said, "I've got this completely original idea...have you seen the 'Pure Michigan' TV ad campaign?"

I do feel safe with this statement: not many video production professionals are combining "Pure Michigan" with "Moonrise Kingdom."  To fend off any imitations by the esteemed readers of this blog, however, the trademark and patent have been duly filed!  (Okay maybe I haven't gotten around to that yet...but I trust you!) So now I'm feeling all warm and cuddly sharing my ideas, meanwhile you may still be wading in the muck of creative camera composition lull.  What can help?

I suggest this palette-cleansing exercise: study the camera angles, creative composition, and camera movements of the aforementioned Wes Anderson.  Not to imitate his style in scores of upcoming web video productions, but rather to flatten & simplify your thinking.  Relax, settle-in, and breathe the coffee grounds before this fresh scent:

You might know Wes Anderson as the famed director of multiple award-winning television advertising campaigns for American Express, IKEA, Sony, Dasani, and AT&T.  You probably better know him as the Oscar-nominated director of films like "Bottle Rocket", "Rushmore" "The Royal Tenenbaums" "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" and the aforementioned (and my vote for best movie of 2012) "Moonrise Kingdom."

Anderson's trademark visual hook, according to his IMdb profile, is when he uses the "rostrum camera" insert shots, foregrounding the minutiae of books and other documents. He likes to shoot with extremely wide-angle anamorphic lenses that exhibit considerable barrel distortion. Anderson frequently uses a take/double take technique where he will show a character/action, quickly pan to another character/action, then pan back, usually with handheld camera."

See examples of Wes Anderson's unique camera composition style in this YouTube playlist.


Learn how Wes Anderson achieved the composition, angles, and acting performances in the movie "Moonrise Kingdom" through these official raw b-roll scenes as put together by MovieclipsCOMINGSOON:

After viewing Wes Anderson's unique camera composition techniques, you're all set to dream up the next 'big idea' for your next TV ad campaign, film, or web video production.  Stay tuned for more insights into creative camera compositions from other influential directors.

To get more video producing tips from Jeremy Pinckert and Explore Media, click to download How to Produce for Video!