Science & Nature Combine For Russian Standard.
Great Guns and Gunner Director Calum Macdiarmid were recently commissioned by My Agency Founder/ECD Luke White and Russian Standard Vodka, to create the epic visual masterpiece entitled ‘The Incredible Story’.
The entire campaign comprises a 3 minute online film, a 60 second and two 30 second commercials all set to screen globally across cinema, for TV and online.
The filming for Russian Standard Vodka was as epic as the story of the product itself; technically, geographically, and narratively. Roustam Tariko, founder of Russian Standard Vodka, wanted his brand’s story to be told in the purest way achievable. This is the story of making the highest quality traditional Russian vodka, stemming from the principles of one of the world’s greatest scientists, Dimitri Mendeleev. The heritage, the natural ingredients, the unique and rigorous distillation, charcoal filtration and vodka “relaxation” processes all come together to create a perfect and authentic product.
With Luke White at the helm, the team worked tirelessly to make the film as honest as possible, taking budget and nature into consideration. The project was shot on location: from the wheat fields in Buinsk, to Lake Ladoga - the largest lake in Europe - to beautiful St Petersburg before finally arriving back in London. Here we filmed our storyteller, the visionary performance philosopher and National Geographic TV star Jason Silva who expounded on his most favourite subject; the convergence of science with nature, and its relation to Russian Standard Vodka and its origin.
Over eight days, Calum directed Jason Silva, the historic Mendeleev dramatic reconstruction, the sensational liquid effects and planets made from bubbles together with Paris based DOP Jean Poisson. This followed Calum’s epic 24 hour journey straight to Buinsk to shoot the Russian wheat with Russian DOP Pasha Kapinos.
They made it there in the nick of time; due to heavy rain after an unusually good summer the wheat had to be harvested the following day.
The filming required many elements to come together: Jason’s performance with liquid special effects, macro high speed beauty vodka shots, colliding and exploding planets, wheat fields, the Russian Standard Distillery, historic Russia, an 18th century laboratory. The Church of Spilled Blood in St Petersburg (the shape of the bottle is styled on the onion domes, the pattern of the label is taken from its gates, communicating the rich authentic character of the brand), modern economically successful Russia, and ice age glaciers that formed the basin of Lake Ladoga.
The original plan was for Klaus Thymann (http://www.project-pressure.org/), a fellow GG director, glacier expert, photographer and film-maker to go to Jokulsarlon and shoot the glacier footage, but final sign off on the job meant the optimal weather was missed, and stock footage had to be sourced instead.
The only other found footage was from NASA’s space archive, and the elusive Russian Bear and Eagle were provided by the BBC Natural History Library.
Footage was shot on every camera imaginable, super slow motion with the Phantom Flex, multi camera Arri Alexas, on 16mm and even old 8mm film was used by Calum to the give an authentic period feel. The in-camera effects approach continued throughout the film. Calum’s drive was to achieve where possible all of the special effects in camera using models, liquids and lights to give the imagery that premium quality whilst finding happy accidents along the way that make the footage authentic and naturally in keeping with the pure message of the story.
Again due to timing, Great Guns’ long-term collaborator, the legendary Director and DOP Ron Fricke (Samsara, Baraka) worked with the team to shoot the Russian Standard Distillery, as well as iconic landmark shots in St Petersburg and Lake Lagoda. Ron and Calum worked together closely, GG Producer Tim Francis ran the Russia unit and the London shoot. Exec Producers Sheridan Thomas and Laura Gregory both worked on the project from start to delivery.
Visionary performance philosopher and National Geographic TV star Jason Silva was wonderful to work with and his relaxed tone and delivery of the epic journey to make the best vodka in the world is both compelling and fascinating. The films were edited by James Demetriou at the CHOP HOUSE London.
They were post-produced by Mainframe and provided with an epic symphonic composition by Massive Music.
This spectacular film and new global campaign for Russian Standard Vodka was launched at the Science Museum and unveiled by Jason Silva, who hosted an awe-inspiring and ground-breaking discussion about the convergence of science and nature before screening the film.
Agency: My Agency
Creative Director: Luke White
Managing Partner: Nick Wright
Agency Producer: Lisa Colchester
Director: Calum Macdiarmid
Production Company: Great Guns
Executive Producers: Laura Gregory & Sheridan Thomas
Producer: Tim Francis
Line Producer (Russia): Ilya Medovy
Director of Photography (St Petersburg) : Ron Fricke
Director of Photography (London): Jean Poisson
Director of Photography (Shimsk): Pasha Kapinos
2nd Unit and Stills: Josh Trigg
Production Designer: Jan Walker
Special Effects: The Machine Shop
Editor: James Demetriou at The Chop House
Post Production: Mainframe
Stock Footage Search: Jody Winterbottom
Iceberg Stock: Enrique Pacheco, Aaron Craig,
Yannick Calonge, Humbi Entress, Jan Frojdman.
Moon Stock Shot: NASA
Eagle Shot : Framepool
Bear Shot: BBC NHU
Music: Diederik Van Middelkoop at Massive Music