That time we nearly got stuck in a US lockdown

By Gruff Vaughan


3 min read

Feb 04, 2021

Following the success of our original collaboration, Coolsculpting sought to work with us again—this time to create a launch film for an evolutionary new product: Coolsculpting Elite.

Even though the Cooltone launch film was a booming success, we were eager to explore new avenues and iterate on our previous work. If our first collaboration was a self-titled album, we were determined to overcome second album syndrome with this one.

The Launch Film

The approach

The film itself tells the story of Coolsculpting’s journey to redesign their original fat-freezing device, highlighting the many stages of the development process before unveiling the new product to the world. The team at Coolsculpting took a ground-up approach to the process, drawing upon research and undertaking many technical challenges in the pursuit of creating something genuinely revolutionary.

We had a lot of challenges in telling this story. We wanted to continue to build upon the visual language and style we’d already established, which our client loved, whilst delivering something original for this product. These elements would also have to be reflected in the CGI elements of the film. Another sizable hurdle was that the film had to be shot in California, USA, where the action was happening.

We carried over several features from our previous work; the smooth, deliberate camera moves, clean, minimalist environments and a modern electronic soundtrack, which laid the foundations. Marketed as a premium version of an existing device, we decided to shoot anamorphic and drew references from DEVs and Ex-Machina to develop a cinematic yet futuristic look for the piece.

After developing the creative here in the UK, we partnered up with Heist, a full-service studio in California, who assisted our search for kit and crew. Our Producer, Director and Cinematographer made the 11-hour flight West, where we met up with our new team. Navigating the (sometimes hilarious) differences in terminology and standard practice in the USA vs the UK film industry was a challenge at first, but damn, those guys were true professionals.

We spent two weeks in the states. Having never seen the shoot locations other than in photos, we spent the first week recceing, storyboarding and scripting our vision for the film. The pressure on our team to deliver the goods was tremendous; if we couldn’t get the storyboard signed off, we’d have been heading back to Blighty with nothing to show for it. After a manic few days of development meetings (and a few tense games of mini-golf) in the Coolsculpting HQ, we got the green light to shoot!

Fantastic crew, great contributors and some really solid catering options courtesy of the client (breakfast burritos?!) made the 5-day shoot feel like a breeze. We shot across a bunch of facilities, showcasing the breadth of operations and championing the people behind the products. It was also pat-yourself-on-the-back-o-clock when we had everyone asking us if we did the Cooltone film and how awesome they thought it was.

With news breaking of a mysterious virus slowly infiltrating the west coast, we cut our wrap tour of San Francisco short 😢, scarpering back to the UK just in time for Boris to announce a national lockdown.

We did sneak in a few of the main sights though 👀 📸

Post-production and colour were managed and executed in-house. Having developed the visual language for the shoot, our DoP Lewis was keen to colour the film himself to see things through to completion. He and Ben (Director) also worked alongside the CGI team at Bomper Studio; the pair created lighting plans, shot mock-ups and produced visual references to guide Bomper towards the film’s goal.

The outcome

Despite a rather apocalyptic end to the shoot, the experience of working across continents was a massively enjoyable one. Travelling to California to make this film was as challenging as it was insightful; we gained a much deeper understanding of what our client is trying to achieve, how they operate and the scale of their ambitions. We think this contributed hugely to the success of this project and the ongoing relationship we’ve fostered with the brand.

The questions on everyone’s lips are: what’s next for Coolsculpting, and how will we keep finding these banging soundtracks?

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