From Toronto photographer Sandy Nicholson:
This might be good story for you. This was shot by me on location in China – lots of people, lots of fun and it’s now running as a billboard campaign for a billion people.
The shoot was done for Leo Burnett in Shanghai, and was about fan support of the athletes competing in the London Olympics. The agency wanted shots of fans cheering on a hot summer day, watching screens in public places, sharing the joy of the action and a refreshing Coke.
I worked with a local production company, Meet The People, a great bunch of guys. We worked from layouts that were approved by the client agency and that had to be run by the Chinese government. So we had to work really hard to make sure the layouts were shot as they were drawn, because any creative changes had to go by the government again.
The production company cast 150 extras and I worked with them to cast the hero talent, who would be holding the bottles and be the centre of the image. We had scouted a stadium for the shoot, but as the day approached a bad weather forecast forced us to move inside a studio.
The studio turned out to be an absolutely massive sound stage used to shoot soap operas. The lighting was provided by HMI movie lights, which I love to use. I had a blast directing the small crew. Halfway through the shoot I realized that I was the token white guy on the shoot.
The art department was running the Mac, iPhones and programs used in every other shoot I have ever worked on. The world is very flat now.
We turned around the job in two weeks and did five shots over two days in the studio.