In the last few years, Budapest has become one of the most favoured European shooting locations. The Danube dividing the city into two and the bridges arching over it, the Buda Castle District, a World Heritage site, and the Parliament create a stunning panorama that is unique around the world.
Shooting on boats requires special knowledge and extra caution
While working on our commercial for the Oppo Chinese phone brand, we had to face the challenges of sailing on the Danube and shooting on boats. According to the advert’s concept, the main character (a boy portrayed by Wang Qiang) is taking part in a party on a river cruiser boat when he catches sight of a stunning girl (played by Wang Churan) travelling on another boat next to his. He follows her by running to the far end of his boat so that he can take a photo of her in the sunset with his Oppo R17 mobile.
In the finalised commercial the most picturesque parts of Budapest can be seen in the sunset
The first and most important task was to find the perfect boat, which next to having the sufficient parameters also had to fit to the commercial’s concept. Since Budapest has become an especially popular location for cruising on the Danube, there are countless cruisers to be seen on the river. But despite the wide range of possibilities, finding the ideal boats was not an easy task because next to featuring as a picture vehicle in the film, both had to be able to enable the whole crew to work onboard them.
Next to the actors and extras, an entire crew worked on each of the boats
When choosing the boats, their appearance was key, since they needed to be roughly the same height and had to have enough space between the nose and back for the two main characters. The boats’ capacity of housing people was also important, since the two travelled with a crew of 80 and nearly 100 extras, next to the technical equipment. In order to find the right one, Progressive’s Team scouted and photographed nearly all the boats in Budapest. Finally, the boy’s boat was played by Fortuna and the girl’s by the boat called Roham. Roham can rightfully be called a real survivor because since being built in 1894, it has partially sunk multiple times and was left in a boat cemetery for 30 years, until being renovated in 2012, making it today one of Budapest’s most beautiful boats. Due to its design typical of turn of the century cruisers, it was the perfect choice for the girl’s boat.
The boy’s boat was played by Fortuna, while the girl’s by the vintage Roham
Shooting on the boats and river water required special preparations and caution. There were multiple key aspects we had to keep in mind, like the river’s water level, the boating and water transportation rules, as well as the mooring regulations and risks. An experienced captain supervisor also assisted us by supervising our preparations and providing us with lots of useful information.
The iconic Buda Castle District is part of the Budapest World Heritage Site
In the key scene, the main characters catch sight of each other in the sunset. For this, the two boats had to sail past each other very slowly keeping a given distance, which is only performable with highly complicated manoeuvres that can be repeated only a few times. Actions like reversing, turning, standing in one place were made more challenging by the traffic on the Danube. The two boats met precisely in front of the Parliament, right in the middle of the building, and then distanced from each other, which could only be executed with fast and well-planned manoeuvres. In order for us to be able to use the shooting days the most efficiently, during the preparational days and in the mornings we practised the scenes with the boats’ captains and the crew, who were in constant radio communication with each other.
The two boats met exactly in front of the middle of the Parliament
Next to the right boats, finding the sufficient dock was also highly important, because a dock was needed that could function as our base camp. This meant it had to have a large enough area around it so that our trucks could park right next to the boats and that tents for the extras and clothing could be built as well. Naturally, this place also had to be located not too far away from the city’s most stunning points. During the shooting days, our dock was exclusively used only by us.
The dock that also functioned as our base camp was only used by us during the shoot
Shooting the Oppo commercial was a huge experience for us and it equipped us with such special knowledge about shooting on boats, that we hope we will be able to invest this knowledge in many more productions to come. Budapest has yet again proven that it is not accidentally one of Europe’s most favoured shooting locations. This commercial features the city’s most beautiful elements; the Parliament, the panorama of the Danube shore which is part of the World Heritage, and the Buda Castle District which together create an awe-inspiring sight in the film.
- Ogilvy Shanghai
- Rocket Science Productions
- Inna Pan, Zhang Xiaojing
- Kim Sung Joo
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
- Jacques Ballard
- Progressive Productions
- Iván Gerő, Zoltán Haulis
- TV Commercial
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