ARRI spotlights commercials and music videos: DP Benoit Soler

In commercials and music videos, the goal is to provoke an unexpected and emotional response in the viewer, says DP Benoit Soler in our third story about the use of ARRI technology on set of advertising shoots.

Jul. 11, 2022

Trained at the prestigious National Film and Television School (NFTS) in the United Kingdom, it didn’t take long for cinematographer Benoit Soler to make a name for himself in the world of cinema and advertising. Only one year after leaving school, he authored the cinematography of “Ilo Ilo” by Anthony Chen, which was awarded the Camera d’Or in Cannes 2013. He followed up with Boo Junfeng’s “Apprentice,” whose photography did not go unnoticed. Today, Soler alternates between feature films, advertising, and music videos. “It’s not a problem to make the big leap, quite the contrary,” explains Soler. “Advertising allows me to try a lot of things that will inform my fictions, and vice versa. Music videos are also a very beautiful laboratory of expression. The idea is to provoke the unexpected and the emotional in the viewer. My choices are mainly driven by the director’s vision.”

Watch Samsung’s “Little Punk” commercial telling a story in a few seconds

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“I like to work on narrative ads like Samsung’s ‘Little Punk,’ directed by Niclas Larsson (Iconoclast), Mercedes’ ‘Immortal Love,’ directed by Sebastian Strasser (Anorak) or Zalando’s ‘A life of liberty’ (Bwgtbld), directed by Vincent Haycock, with the constraint of telling a story in a few seconds. In this case, my work is inspired by my experiences in fiction and video. The Blaze music video ‘Territory’ (Iconoclast) was a very vivid experience. We shot everything in Algiers, with ALEXA Mini and ARRI Master Primes. The film is naturalistic, treated like a series of paintings and shot at specific times of the day. The image is at the service of the narrative and never takes precedence over what is being told.”

Watch the music video “Territory” (The Blaze,) shot with the ALEXA Mini and Master Prime lenses

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Among Soler’s recent ads is the remarkable work for Givenchy Fall/Winter 2021, directed by Jasmine Loignon (Iconoclast). “To create this industrial universe, we shot in a stadium where we used nearly 350 motorized projectors,” explains Soler. “On this project, I worked closely with lighting designer Ignace D’Haese, with whom we designed the Givenchy lighting. I used an ALEXA Mini LF with ARRI Signature Prime lenses,” says Soler. “It gave the rendering I wanted on this film. The skin tones are very beautiful and provide a nice texture. We got a very pleasing output very quickly. Since a recent upgrade, the ALEXA Mini LF can also shoot in Super 35. This versatility interests me a lot. I like the idea of being able to mix wide format and Super 35, like when you use 35 mm and Super 16 in the same film. It allows you to give a different point of view, to tell things differently. And Super 35 also gives me access to a lot more lenses than wide format.”

Watch a commercial for French luxury fashion brand Givenchy, captured with ARRI equipment

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“In terms of lenses, I prefer modern lenses,” Soler continues. “I don't like the image to be too nostalgic. For me, the ARRI Signature Primes are an extension of the ARRI Master Primes that I use a lot. The image and sharpness are nice, and they have a softness to them that interests me. I also really like the way they fall into blurs. It's really about the feel. Plus, the Signature Primes are a very comprehensive series that starts at 12 mm and includes all the intermediate lenses that I use a lot.”

More of Benoit Soler’s work can be found on his website: https://cosmictalents.com/benoit_soler

Opening photo: Arthur Couvat