For Bank Negara Indonesia & IRIS Worldwide
A bank needs to be a symbol of stability and this is exactly what IRIS Worldwide Executive Director Keat Soh and Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) had in mind when working on a television spot to mark BNI’s 66th anniversary. Instead of looking back on the history of the bank or reflecting upon its importance in modern day Indonesia, Keat decided to look ahead, to the year 2046, to imagine a cleaner, greener Jakarta where BNI still stood strong.
Keat wanted to create a vision of the future that would focus on nature and humanity instead of the standard sci-fi tropes. There would be no flying cars, no shots of massive touchscreens or pristine white rooms. Instead, the commercial would show off a Jakarta with clean rivers, clear skies and an impressive public transportation system.
We thought it was an impressive idea, one that shows both BNI’s long-term vision and highlights a commitment to a better, more ecologically sound future without being preachy. But we also knew this would be a challenging shoot. The Jakarta of today lacks the type of images BNI wished to show. There are no crystal clean rivers and few pristine landscapes within the city’s limits. Executive Producer Joe Seow quickly began to search for the right locations. He knew that any river within driving distance was immediately off the table.
“Even if we shot in Bali or Lombok, the weather, the visibility and strong currents would have presented strains on the budget and schedule as this had to be finished in time for BNI’s anniversary,” Joe said. “We decided to shoot the underwater scenes in a pool instead.”
Director Peter Aquilina and DoP Kipling Baker picked a beautiful lake location in Cibinong, about an hour’s drive from Jakarta, as the location of the outdoor shots. Kip was able to get some stunning shots at the river using the early morning light
But the actual underwater photography would have to be done in a pool dressed up by art department to look like a river bed We covered the entire swimming pool area with stones and greenery. In the pool itself, the Art Dept built walls and a floor underwater to recreate the river bed environment. A Red EPIC camera housed in a housing flown in from Singapore was used to film the scenes.
Our assistant director did a great job of keeping the young talent on task, timing their leap into the water perfectly. But after a day of splashing the pool quickly became too dirty to continue filming. We had to drain and refill the entire pool — a task that took six trucks and most of the day to complete.
For the commercial’s conclusion, we shot scenes of a young executive splashing the water on his face and composited a modern city in the background with help from CG created by Infinite Studios Singapore under supervision of Wendy Liow.
The resulting images of the future of Jakarta being a greener city with high-tech mass transportation and organic-looking buildings sitting alongside BNI’s iconic office tower nicely encapsulated the commercial’s theme: no matter how much time has passed, no matter how different the city looks, BNI will still be there.