Bet99 And Ambient Join Forces For A Commercial With Auston Matthews
So this producer Dhani Oks calls us from Canada and says, look… We need to shoot a commercial with Austin Mathews for Bet99 pronto, you in? And we were like, “Auston Matthews!? Hell Yes!”
Ok, so it wasn’t quite that simple or aggressive, but that was the basic gist.
Immediately we were not only psyched about shooting a commercial with the NHL’s 2022 MVP, but we were looking forward to hanging with a hometown native who had pushed beyond the glass ceiling and achieved greatness on the ice. And he’s best friends with the Biebs, that’s an achievement in itself.
We’re no strangers to working with the best of the best in the NHL, just a year previous Ambient had the pleasure of shooting a Budweiser commercial that starred NHL all-star Paul “Biznasty” Bissonnette.
And then we were like, wait, who are we shooting this for again?
Being from the US, Bet99 isn’t a household name in the states, but it sure is for our neighbors up North. We found out really quick that every game starts at BET99, Canada’s premier sportsbook & casino. Lines, props, casino, bingo, lottery & live sports betting on over 75,000 sporting events each month… that’s impressive, right!?
So Auston wasn’t Jamie Fox or anything, but he’s right up there in that echelon for us Hockey fans.
The ask was pretty simple…
They were like, look, our creative team can’t decide on a specific direction for this spot at the moment, but we need to turn it around asap while Auston has the bandwidth. What they could agree on was that it needed to be shot in front of a green screen, they needed Auston doing some cool warm-up activities, delivering various lines for them to piece together later, and posing for hero shots sporting some sick Bet99 gear.
As a DP, we typically like working with well oiled concepts that we can sink our teeth into. But this wasn’t the case and that was ok. They knew what they needed to walk away with and that was enough for us. After some back and forth between Dhani and their creative director, Joel Tellier, we felt comfortable with what we were walking into.
Our head of production Rebekah Nylander assembled a great crew, found us a REALLY good food truck catering company (my favorite part), and booked us at Bitfire, a local studio that had a cyclorama that was big enough for the production’s needs. Bitfire has a wonderful facility that comes equipped with sound stages, an LED wall, awesome transmission abilities, edit, graphics and support suites and more. Check them out if you find yourself shooting a production in the PHX area.
Ok, sales pitch over 🙂
So with this being a one day shoot, we had to move quick. And the fact that we only had a few hours of Auston’s time to get everything in the can meant we had to show up extra early to dial everything in. So as soon as our team arrived, the crew got busy hauling in extra lighting gear that we had to source elsewhere and all of our camera equipment.
On the gear side of things, we rolled in with a Red Helium 8K camera as our A-cam and the Red Komodo 6K camera on a gimbal as our B-cam. We hired one of our favorite 1st AC’s Drake Dewer to make sure everything going through the lens was tack sharp and that video village was up and running smoothly.
There came a point where we had set everything up. Our gaffer Tim Knight had positioned all of the Arri sky panels and aperture lights where we needed them. We had triple-checked our exposure, we had cleaned the glass, we had calibrated everything that needed to be calibrated and we were playing the waiting game.
And then BOOM!
Auston Mathews kicks open the door and for some reason a bunch of fog followed him in and he said, “I have arrived! Bow down to the most valuable player of ALL TIME!!! No, he didn’t say that and there was no fog. And I’m pretty sure he didn’t kick the door open. But he did arrive and on time which is a luxury. Thank you Auston 🙏.
Dahni and his team greeted Mr. Matthews and got him immediately into make-up with the lovely Lillian Fogel. And so once again, we were watching the paint dry. Just kidding, by that time it was lunch and we were all devouring the savory meals provided Mr. Justin Olsen, our catering chef.
Soon after, Auston was ready to go and we all shot up to our feet like army soldiers and got moving. Our trusty sound guy Nile Popchock got Auston all mic’d up and ready to spit some ferocious rhymes. Not really, just the copy that the bet99 creative director wrote. Which was chalked full of fun cliches like calling Canadians hosers and saying “eh” a lot.
So Auston stepped in front of the bright lights and started delivering lines to camera while Joel directed him. And he nailed it! He memorized everything, it was incredible! No, we actually had a prompter for him which helped us move a hell of a lot quicker. We were on a time crunch so we had to follow a strict time schedule. After reading through all of the copy, we moved into b-roll. From there we had Auston flipping pucks, taping up his stick, throwing dealer cards into a hat, you name it, we did it.
Lastly, we had Mr. Matthews step into various forms of bet99 gear from jerseys to an assortments of shirts and captured a bunch of hero shots. Before we knew it, his time was up and his entourage was rushing him out the door. We all stood and waved slowly, saddened to see our hometown MVP walk off into the sunset. Ok, so it wasn’t that dramatic, but he was class act as he shook hands and said goodbye to even the lowliest of crew members.
And just like that it was over. So we wrapped out of there and I took home all of the leftover food from catering. We all went our separate ways waiting in anticipation to see what the Dahni, Joel and the rest of their team would come up with for an end deliverable that was to air on TV in Canada. Oh wait, look it’s right down below. Check it out for yourself!
Creative Director – Joel Tellier
Lead Producer – Dhani Oks
Producer (Offsite) – Rebekah Nylander
Producer – John Schaus
DP – Trenton Massey
1st AC/DIT – Drake Dewer
Audio – Nile Popchock
H/MU – Lillian Fogel
Gaffer – Tim Knight
Photographer: Dhani Oks @dhanioks
Stage Manager – Vinnie Reyes
Head of Studio – Steve Moorman
Technical Suprvisor – Matthew Swanson
Video Engineer – Shane Gavin
Video Engineer – Joe Gray
Craft – Justin Olsen
Location: BitFire Studios
Development: Mike Power @runningrocko
Client BET99: Creative Director – Sandra Saad, Head of Marketing – Davin Bahuguna
Agency: Multi-Studio @multi.studio.corp