Don't Get Smacked by Fat (at 800fps)

Director: Yanik Ruiz-Ramon

Director of Photography: David Kruta

It’s always refreshing to be able to work on a project for a good cause, and with the obesity epidemic across the country, I jumped on the opportunity to shoot a spot that would encourage children and adolescents to make healthier choices when looking for a refreshing drink this summer.

The spot begins on a scorching summer day. Heat waves rise from the pavement as our hero, hot and sweaty, notices a girl carrying a sugary soda. He’s inspired and runs into the nearest bodega for a cold drink, but as he’s about to take a sip, a giant slab of fat flies out of nowhere and collides with his face, knocking the drink out of his hands.

Check out the commercial and teaser below:

The shot of the fat was the most important part of the shoot, and had to be done in super slow motion. Yanik had worked on some projects using the Phantom camera, and was convinced this shot needed to be around 800 to 1000 frames per second.

I was initially called to be the DIT and Phantom Tech on the commercial, but after a quick discussion, I realized Yanik was looking for a Director of Photography, and luckily my experience clicked perfectly with his vision. I agreed right away with his choice to shoot on Phantom, so I recommended the Flex (provided by Rule Boston Camera) to pull off this high-speed shot.

As much as I would have loved to shoot the 24fps material with a different camera, budget constraints meant that we could only rent the Phantom. We shot everything from 24 to 1000 fps on the Flex. Luckily, the spot was very simple and there weren’t too many complex setups.

I lit entirely with available light, using a few basic modifiers. The need to make it look sweltering meant I used the hard sunlight to our advantage, augmenting here and there with a 8x8 ultrabounce, white card or silver reflector. We used the silver bounce to maintain the consistency of backlight under cloud cover. I wasn’t afraid to let the edges blow out a bit to get proper exposure on our subject, and this only added to the effect.

Boston Public Health Commission works with adolescents to help them come up with various initiatives and analyze their effectiveness. For this shoot, they brought a few of them along to learn about filmmaking, which I thought was a great opportunity for them. We taught them how to slate, showed them the camera and talked about what it’s like to work in this field. We even shot a fun 1000fps take with all of them.

Overall this was a fantastic experience working with Yanik, BPHC, our wonderful cast and crew, and getting to do something for a good cause. Check out more of this campaign at