Eclipse Party ’17 with Corona

Q&A with director
Sean Davé

It was all over the news cycle. Every celebrity, politician, influencer, and neighbor named Karen obsessed over it on social media.

“It will be the most spectacular thing you will ever see.”

“Nothing this cool will happen in your lifetime, again.”

“Don’t even look at it for a second because your eyeballs will literally melt out of your skull like in Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

The eclipse lasted for a little over a minute, and in that span of 90 seconds you could feel the whole world looking up at the same sky as you––a collective gasp of wonderment. It made me feel small, but essential to something larger. Helpless, but hopeful. In a moment, the source of life on earth was blocked by our moon yet gave way to perhaps the most magnificent skyscape that I’ve ever witnessed. Silver-linings and all that, right?

To celebrate the cosmic event, Corona held a party in Nashville––a Corona to celebrate the corona, as it were. Sean Davé directed the spot intended for social media, which was shot, edited, and finalized in 24 hours. In today’s post, we talk with Sean about his approach to this unique concept.

How daunting was the prospect of turning around this project in 24 hours?
Editing overnight and turning everything around in 24 hours is definitely a challenge, but none of us were really intimidated by the idea… we were more excited, I think. No matter what the project is, you’re racing the clock and meeting deadlines—this one just happened to be a bit faster than usual. The more you prepare in the lead-up, the less daunting 24 hours seems.

What strategies did you employ in completing the fully-realized, successful spot in such a limited time?
Like I mentioned above, it all comes down to preparation. In the couple weeks before the actual eclipse and shoot, we were constantly communicating with Cramer-Krasselt and figuring out exactly what we needed to capture—and what sort of vibe we were setting out to showcase. So before we ever shot a second of footage, we had an edit already built out with the timing, music, animation, and titles.

Obviously, you can’t just point and shoot at the sun and hope to capture the eclipse in all of its glory. Tell us a little bit about the gear that you were able to use to capture the solar eclipse and the precautions you took.
Yeah, turns out pointing the camera directly at the sun totally melts the insides (not speaking from experience, I promise). The main camera we used to capture the close-up eclipse shot was outfitted with a 1000mm NASA lens. Turns out Trey Elsik, a friend of director Matt DeLisi, bought the lens at an auction a few weeks beforehand. So shout out to Trey for hooking us up with a very specific request!

DP Colin Noel shot solely that setup at a location a few hours outside of town, protecting the camera and lens with a series of IRND filters. In the meantime, killer camera op Diego Cacho and I shot the eclipse party itself downtown.

What was it like coordinating a party atmosphere? Did you give direction to the partygoers, or did they act naturally?
Honestly, it was a blast! Most sets don’t have buckets of Coronas on them. Maybe they should.

For projects like these, I try to capture natural, candid moments—I feel that if you can get genuine reactions from real people, it gives the best results. They’re not actors, so a less-is-more approach to directing pays off. Fortunately, there were a lot of those little moments happening all around us… everyone was pretty stoked to see a once-in-a-lifetime event.

What was your inspiration as far as the film’s style? What filmmaking choices did you make in order to communicate the spot’s intended purpose?
When C-K approached us with this project, one of their main goals was to get across how big of an event the eclipse was. For a few short hours, millions of people across the country were experiencing the same thing, all together. It wasn’t just about Nashville.

By using time-lapse, an animated map, and photos submitted from social media, we were able to widen the scope of the spot to give it that global feel. At the party, we were limited in our wide shots due to the legal requirements of alcohol spots—but we got creative with dreamy slow motion and movement to help build the “big” vibe as well.

Finally, we edited all these elements together with an epic score that built up and up and up to a crescendo. With all that working together… I think the spot was able to nail that larger-than-life feel.

All that being said, the next total eclipse is in 2024. Who’s up for round two?