Oliver Bou Eid is a filmmaker with extensive background as a visual effects artist, editor and cinematographer. His impressive spot for Ghirardelli Chocolate recently won Best Commercial at LAFA.
Here's his story.
* Warning: Don't read while hungry
Oliver, congratulations again on winning Best Commercial with your wonderful Ghirardelli spot. It certainly made us crave some Ghirardelli... Let's talk about you - can you share a bit about yourself? Where did you grow up, and what sparked your interest in storytelling?
I got my bachelor degree in filmmaking in Lebanon, then I moved to the US to continue my studies in cinematography. Since my teenage years, I was amazed by the movies done by Disney, Pixar, Warner brothers so I knew it from the very start that I want a career in this field.
Behind the Scenes
You first started as a director and an editor. What were some of your first steps in the film industry, and why did you decide to transition into Visual Effects and Cinematography?
It is true that I started as a director and an editor but I was fascinated by Visual Effects and cinematography and wanted to take part in this great field. Therefore, I worked so hard on myself and attended many conferences and workshops in Europe and the USA. You know, visual effects are in constant development, so I always keep myself updated when it comes to the latest software and programs. As per cinematography, I also find myself very comfortable working behind the camera, I mean working with the director, achieving his vision, so I decided to deepen my knowledge in this field by attending university in Los Angeles.
You work for esteemed agencies in Dubai & Lebanon, How did you get involved with them? Did your Lebanese background help getting in the door?
I find myself surrounded by many people working in the filmmaking and Visual Effects industry. It was hard at the beginning, but knowing the right people and working for them will get you somewhere for sure. In addition, many clients feel comfortable working with me as I deliver high-quality projects within the timeframe given by the client.
As mentioned, you recently won Best Commercial at LAFA, for your work on the Ghirardelli spot. What an excellent work! How did you come up with the concept for the commercial?
The idea came up actually while I was sitting at a pool party when I saw a model getting tanned. Then, she opened the chocolate bag of Ghirardelli. When I saw her, I knew that this idea will be the perfect one for a chocolate commercial.
How did you find your Jane? In other words, what was your casting process like?
Similar to any other commercial or movie, I started this project by posting a casting call to a commercial. So many girls applied, but I was looking for a model having the chocolate hair color with blue eyes and good acting skills and that is how I found my Jane.
Where there any challenges during the shoot? If so, how did you overcome them?
Every shooting has its own challenges, however, the challenges of this commercial were the slow-motion shots and the inserts on the chocolate-making process. My experience and the talented team that was working with me helped me a lot overcoming those challenges.
The slo-mo sections are such a tease. Super well done. How did you approach these sections? Filming the ingredients and chocolate-making process...?
Well, my friend helped me shooting those sections. It was hard at the beginning since we wanted to shoot those shots in a very realistic way. We did a lot of R&D, we worked so hard to find the correct chocolate color dye and the milk. We actually used the Phantom camera that shoots on a High-Speed frame rate. that is how we got the final result seen in the commercial.
Speaking of ingredients, in your opinion, what are the ingredients to creating a successful commercial?
The ingredients to creating a successful commercial are delivering High-quality outcome in a limited timeframe given by the clients.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? Are you interested to continue working on commercials, or would you like to explore other genres?
Well, in ten years I can see myself still working in the same field, but writing my own feature film too.
Where can our readers follow more of your work?
The readers can follow my work on Instagram (Oliver Bou eid) and can visit my website www.oliverboueid.com