The Making of the Feel Good Drinks Ad, 2017
By Nicky Woodhouse, Director | September 2017
It was 35 degrees. I was high up in the Andalusian hills with a gleaming azure lake behind me. 99 ladies of every age and shape stood before me apprehensively clutching multi coloured towels. I raised my mega phone to the sky and shouted “right, it’s time.. everyone…. get naked!!!”
Railled by the crowd the first lady stepped forward. She took a tentative look around, dropped her towel and leaped skyward – her legs kicking out to each side. Plunging into the water to a loud cheer the hairs on my arms stood up in excitement (or maybe acute adrenaline/ panic). We were finally doing this – the Feel Good 100% natural skinny dip was under way and it was my job to capture the excitement and spectacular for a 2.5 min brand film and 30-second VOD spot.
With Maker Projects providing production and driven the creative I was totally stoked to be selected to direct this ad. Based, as with all great ideas, on a fantastically simple concept Becky Unwin Marketing Manager at Feel Good set out to find 100 ladies willing to lose their clothes, and their inhibitions in a massive group skinny dip. The aim? To feel good of course!
I approached the job as I would any other, by working out the best way to tell a strong story and capture natural performances from the contributors.
These were real women who had taken the day off work and got up at dawn’s crack to be a part of something real. I didn’t want to turn the dip from an event into a choreographed video shoot by having lots of cameras pointing every which way for the ladies to get worried about. With them worrying about their “extreme close up” it would have totally killed the vibe and produced far too many hours of footage to deal with in the limited edit time we had.
I, therefore, opted to self-shoot on my trusty C100, shooting uncompressed to a Ninja Star outboard recorder. As a control freak, this decision gave me the peace of mind to see for myself the shots as we got them in the can but also created an intimate, safe environment where the ladies knew they were being respected.
Texture and a variety of shots were however just as important in telling this story. As additional support, I had a fabulous underwater D.O.P, Alice Pennefather shooting the portrait shots of the ladies from within the lake itself on a 5D. Then up above the lake, we had a DJI Phantom Drone – operated by the only man on the crew *, who from a respectable distance away from our ladies captured the stunning ariels above the lake.
In addition to this, I used my Go Pro. And when I say “I used” yes I jumped into the lake too – 100% naked!
I have had some memorable days filming over the years but nothing has come close to abandoning my C100 on its tripod, stripping off and running down a pontoon starkers as 99 naked ladies chanted my name!
It was wonderful. And after having my baby, a little girl, Nancy just 9 months before it was a special way to return to work.
Two months later I am still feeling good and as I push Nancy round Victoria Park on our rare afternoons together I can’t quite look at the boating lake in the same way. Can we do it again next summer?
*not discounting Luke our producer who organised the whole shebang and coyly sat in the production office at distance from all our lovely ladies.