Behind the Scenes with Modest Department for “She’s Mercedes”

Four friends who had a passion for skateboard cinematography combined their talents to start the Germany-based production company, Modest Department. Taking their urban skateboarding roots, Modest Dept. applies their out of the box thinking, to produce videos for a variety of clientele, Adidas, Ben and Jerry’s, Expedia, and more.

Recently, they headed to Florence, Italy to produce an episode for the “She’s Mercedes” campaign. Car maker, Mercedes-Benz, started this inspirational campaign to showcase successful woman who are independent, strong, and passionate in what they do. The episode Modest Department had the pleasure to produce focused on shoemaker, Saskia Witter. On the flight over to Florence, Director Gerrit Piechowski said he was feeling kind of nervous since this was their second production for Mercedes, and the first he was fully responsible for. He also noted the social gap couldn’t have been any wider between skateboarders and a woman who was invited to golf with Royals. From the start, Modest Dept. was welcomed, by the time production wrapped, Saskia didn’t want them to leave.

As with any production, challenges always arise. For one, the weather was less than ideal. Modest Department hoped for blue skies during production, but it was the complete opposite. Turning a negative to a positive, the inclement weather provided a more edgy look to the episode. Interior lighting was also difficult as Saskia’s workshop was small, making it unfeasible to bring large lighting setups. They made it work by lighting every scene with two F&V LED Z400s light panels.

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One aspect which didn’t concern them was traveling however. Not only is it important to have the batteries under a certain capacity, but in Europe they also check the weight of a carry-on. When traveling with a RED Epic Dragon, the appropriate lenses and battery packs, it makes it hard to keep the weight at 8kg or less. They say there is a delicate balance between keep your carry-on bag as light as possible while still having enough power to cover a daily production. Using Hypercore 98 RED’s they had no issues with weight or capacity in travel, and had long lasting power on set, making it a win-win-win 😉

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Up next for Modest Department are two music videos, a fitness image film, and an image film for a major tire company. Not straying from their routes, they are also working on a skateboard series for a Euro-based skateboard website. Seeing what Modest Department has already accomplished in two years, and as they continue to learn from every past project, the sky is the limit for them. Their goal is to exceed expectations on each upcoming project, setting a new standard each time for future clients. They know in the end, it’s all about having fun and being remembered as a friendly, passionate, and professional group of cinematographers.

Stay connected with Modest Department by following them on social media: Instagram, Facebook, and watch their videos on their site here.