Lights, camera, action!
SetraWorld Magazine

Lights, camera, action!

Spectacular filming for new Setra product clips.

What's a pilot doing on a movie set? And is a garden hose needed on set? SetraWorld Magazine watched professional film crews shoot the new Setra product clips.

Early in the morning there was something cloak and dagger going on inside the old aircraft hangar. Vans pulled up at dusk and people dressed in dark clothes started to unload large cases. Streaks of light were flashing behind the large windows. Muted voices rang in the air. Whenever the hangar gate opened a little, you could clearly see two touring coaches framed by countless spotlights. Filming for the product clips centring around the next generation of TopClass and ComfortClass models had begun.

Szzzzzzzzzzzzz... Drone pilot André Jung slowly revs up the four tiny rotors of the camera drone arranged as a four-pointed star. His colleague Daniel Wagner firmly holds the camera-equipped aircraft in the palm of his hand for a moment before gently pushing it up into the air. This is just what André Jung had been waiting for. He casually pushes the controller lever forwards. The drone immediately picks up speed. It directly heads for the touring coach at almost 30 km/h, with the vehicle towering in the disused aircraft hangar like a shimmering blue monolith. The quadrocopter equipped with 6k cameras races past the front of the Setra touring coach in an elegant manoeuvre, just to once again change direction. André Jung now directs the drone at the wide-open luggage compartment flaps. The pilot skilfully manoeuvres the drone into the cargo area from one side and out again on the other. A perfect flight!

“The drone shots are a vital, key element of the film.”

Rouven Langknecht, Brand Communication Marketing Manager, Daimler Buses
Lights, camera, action! – Spectacular filming for new Setra product clips.

filming took place in an old aircraft hangar in Penzing, Bavaria, in the south of Germany.

Lights, camera, action! – Spectacular filming for new Setra product clips.

The camera drone is controlled by a controller wearing video goggles.

Director Björn Fischer watched the camera recordings with anticipation. He was able to follow the shots live on his screen. Now it was time to rewind the scene and check it over again. To check it once, twice, and even a third time. Has the drone kept to its specified trajectory? Is the image wobbly? Are the lighting conditions ideal? Finally, an appreciative nod and a thumbs up: The scene is wrapped and ready to go. Rouven Langknecht, Brand Communication Marketing Manager, is also happy with the result. "The drone shots are a vital, key element in the clip. That way, we can create a dynamic look without having to move the touring coaches." The clip announcing the next generation of Setra touring coaches will largely consist of a single, long, and uncut drone shot.

Director Björn Fischer devised the film concept for the new Setra ComfortClass and TopClass. The filming expert from the "fischerAppelt, play" agency in Stuttgart planned a detailed choreography of drone manoeuvres in advance together with drone pilot André Jung. In addition to the reveal clip, the team are also producing two product films, one for the ComfortClass, and one for the TopClass. Two traditional cameras were also used in addition to two camera drones, for example to capture the many appealing vehicle details in and around these premium touring coaches. A total of three days of filming were planned, with one for each clip.

Sybille Arnold had already been at the hangar before everyone else. “It wasn't easy to find a filming location that was able to accommodate two touring coaches of this size,” the producer remarks. Ms. Arnold organised the shoot and put together the team. Today, a total of 20 people are on site in Penzing, Bavaria, in the south of Germany, each with a specific task. Without their support, the immense workload scheduled for the first day of filming would not be manageable.

Filming was also a challenge for the Daimler Buses Marketing Communication Team. The clips are part of the market launch communications which were designed and implemented for this purpose by the marketing team. Rouven Langknecht described the project, stating that "such a massive project can only be successfully mastered together, as a team. From the design phase to organising vehicles, there are countless coordination steps that need to be completed on time so that filming can go ahead as planned."

Lights, camera, action! – Spectacular filming for new Setra product clips.

Wetting the floor amplifies the light and makes the space seem larger.

The hangar floor had been watered with a garden hose shortly before filming began. According to Björn Fischer, the water acts as an “organic reflection surface” for the touring coach body. More than a hundred square metres of window panes had previously been covered with black sheets to ensure that the lighting team's carefully arranged lighting effects came into their own in the huge hangar. Four fog machines create a mystical lighting setup. The day before, both touring coaches had been carefully cleaned and polished to the max. All spotlights are on the vehicles. Now the vehicles are impatiently waiting for their moment to shine in their metallic blue body.

Lights, camera, action! – Spectacular filming for new Setra product clips.

Director Björn Fischer (2nd from the left) checks the film sequences on the monitor.

“The clip is already finished in my head.”

Björn Fischer, director
Lights, camera, action! – Spectacular filming for new Setra product clips.

Camera drones with 4k and 6k resolution are used for filming.

Three weeks of hard project work lie between the idea for the clip and filming. And even if all scenes are wrapped up in just three days, the work doesn't stop there. The next step involves a careful reviewing of all the recorded clips, selecting the best ones, and splicing them together to form a seamless product. Once the rough cut has been discussed with Marketing, post-production experts step into action. They digitally process colours and lighting effects, add a final touch, and integrate animated texts. Sound effects and music are incorporated as a final step. “In my head the clip is already finished,” director Björn Fischer says. “Now all we have to do is make sure that it actually turns into a great product.” Szzzzzzzzzzz... the camera drone is about to take off on its next flight.

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