Miller Ground Breaking is an industry-leading builder of construction equipment based in Cramlington, Northumberland. They needed an exciting branded launch video to showcase their latest product, the GTX coupler. This is a revolutionary device to allow excavators to attach and detach different digging accessories without the need for people nearby, eliminating a large safety risk. The device delivers the safest and lowest class-leading quick coupler in the marketplace. It is easy for a driver to operate from the comfort and safety of the cab, and is far lighter and stronger than any other quick hitch coupler.
For this film we knew we needed to deliver something special. We started by discussing the story beats with the client and the key messages that we needed to convey – 40 years of the company’s history, a theme of ‘innovation meets excavation’, pushing the boundaries with industry-leading design, a new era of attachment safety; a product that is earth moving, ground breaking, award winning, and has a sleek cutting-edge design. Next we found the right music track and then storyboarded the sequence using an animatic to match the beats and timings. This meant we knew exactly what we had to film before we even began the shoot.
Once we knew what we needed to capture, we could plan the filming days. These comprised several components. First there were aerial shots using our DJI Phantom 4 drone to show the factory and surrounding digging environment, with additional permissions and safety measures in place to film inside the warehouses above the factory floor. Dramatic sweeping shots from the drone showed the digger coupler in action, and a small action camera allowed for shots such as an eye view from the cab and digging arm, and even a shot of the digger rolling over the camera below.
We then shot several sequences in slow motion using a gimbal and shoulder mounted cameras, including a sequence of a worker walking down a factory aisle and sparks flying off a welding machine, for which we used a high frame rate of 120fps and a high shutter speed to capture those beautiful individual sparks.
Then there was the main event – the dramatically-lit product shots. We filmed these in a dark warehouse with our specialist lighting. For this we took inspiration from automotive and technology adverts, and used a combination of a slider and a motorised gimbal to get the very particular movements we needed. Once we had a good selection of these we began to get more creative with adding lighting movements while filming, and managed to get some fun shots where the shadows changed on the texture of the machine, which matched very well with the dynamic drone shots of the digger outside. The cracks in the factory floor provided some extra dramatic texture and helped to underline the ‘ground-breaking’ element of the machine.
After shooting wrapped we built the edit using the very best moments we had filmed, and our motion graphics designer created several key shots. First there was a fantastic 3D rendering of the mechanism inside the machine, plus some 3D text and animation added to the excavator shots to explain the safety features. We also added some additional dust and spark elements to several shots to up the drama, and even did a digital extension of an overhead shot showing the digger at work to make the location area appear much bigger than it actually was. A fun experiment we tried for the finishing shot – which the client loved and we ended up keeping – was animating the machine to drop from the sky and ‘land’ with a cloud of dust just above the ground, before gently touching down.
Finally we added a very ‘Hollywood’ colour grade to the whole film – which upped the dramatic tones and added extra colour contrast to bring out the orange (warm) and teal (cool) hues of the machinery. We also went all out on an epic sound design to really sell the result, as we knew it would be screened for an audience on a big screen and bass speakers at the launch event. The result was a huge success and we hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it.