Following a number of superb adverts he has made, Michael Mann was recently asked by Ferrari to create an official movie for the all new model: The Ferrari California.
The advert is typical of Mann’s style. The music is by Lisa Gerrard entitled Man on Fire from the soundtrack of the movie with the same name. The music, as you would expect, is dynamically synchronized with each car scene in the advert.
There are three scenes that are worthy of particular mention. The first, and most spectacular, is the helicopter shot that is first set with a glide over the breaking waves of the California coast which then switches to a dramatic fly past of the cliffs shot during the shoot’s “Golden Hour”. This is the start of one fairly long and technically extremely difficult shot. The camera flies over the sea towards the edge of the cliff and as it reaches the edge the music defines that dramatic moment as the car steams into view, engine roaring, on the road at the cliff top as the helicopter then travels around the back of the car, the camera still shooting, until the camera is on the other side of the Ferrari with the sea now in the background, the warm light flooding the scene. It is an incredibly difficult shot executed with total perfection. It is tempting to think the shot is cut slightly abruptly – but then you immediately feel guilty for thinking it, given the extraordinary camera work just witnessed and the hard work gone into it. My guess is the shot was cut slightly early for dramatic editing reasons, or because the camera man just lost the frame at the very end. Who knows. But it is a stunning shot.
Another shot I like is when the Azure blue car comes into half view on the crest of a hill with the music ramping up. And lastly, only Michael Mann can make a convertable roof going up seem dynamic! This is an example of how Mann makes music elevate a scene beyond it’s ordinary nature.
This is a purist advert, and one I thoroughly enjoyed and watched about ten times. Superb editing, sound and music.