Olympic Athletes’ “Thanks, Mom” Commercials Shot With JVC Cameras

In less than eight weeks, California-based Circle Take Media traveled throughout the
U.S.,
Canada,
and the
UK

to interview 13 Olympic athletes for Johnson & Johnson’s “Thanks,
Mom” campaign, shooting with JVC’s GY-HD250 Pro HD cameras. In the
campaign, Olympians express gratitude to their mothers for all the love
and support they’ve been given.
“With a production team of only four, limited time scouting locations, and time with athletes, there was no chance for error, which is why we chose JVC,” says Jim Hawks, Circle Take Media director of photography. “The GY-HD250s interchangeable lenses gave us the ability to quickly switch between the 13X and 16X Fujinon lenses. The size and configuration of the GY-HD250 handheld operating mode made every production fast and seamless.”
Hawks used the Fujinon 16x lens for portrait shots and the 13x Fujinon wide-angle lens for capturing B-roll.
He chose JVC also because of its timecode function. “The ability to jam timecode with PRO DAT and to shoot 720p and 24 frames were also key factors in my decision to shoot these commercials with JVC.”
Hawks used two GY-HD250s with DR-HD100 hard-disk recorders for each shoot. “Having the cameras match was critical. The interchangeable memory card ensured a perfect match throughout the shoot. Being able to take the settings from one camera and put them to the other camera whenever I switched cameras saved us a great deal of time when time was extremely limited.”
“Because of the tight turnaround time,” he adds, “the decision to capture on hard-disk recorder was essential. The ability to quickly transfer from an external hard drive saved hours. Having the ability to record 720p to tape and hard disk simultaneously offered collateral capture redundancy — very comforting in a situation where there was no second chance.”
At the end of each shoot day, Hawks transferred the media to a portable hard drive and shipped it overnight to Johnson & Johnson’s edit house. “In some instances,” he says, “the spots were shot, transferred, edited, and posted to the Johnson & Johnson Web site within 10 days. The spots rotated throughout the Olympic games in the
U.S.,
Canada,
and the
UK.
“When Debbie Phelps, Michael Phelps’ mother, saw these commercials,” he adds, “she called Johnson & Johnson because she wanted to be a part of it. We also shot her commercial with the GY-HD250s, which ran twice during the Olympics closing ceremony.”
Shipping the JVC cameras from location to location presented no problems. Hawks notes the reliability of the cameras: “The GY-HD250s performed amazingly well. We never missed a take. The cameras worked flawlessly, especially in the rain and inclement weather that we experienced in
Liverpool.
We had no control over the amount of time we had with the athletes. Time did not allow us to get to covered sets, so we had to shoot the athletes wherever we could — in pools, gyms, and on tracks — and the cameras performed really well.”