Based on extensive work photographing dancers and models underwater, mostly for my books, I was commissioned to direct, shoot and edit a commercial for SONY.
In my pre-shoot presentation to the advertising client, I suggested casting dancers, and putting them in bright, flowing costumes in crystal clear water to depict the clarity and color rendition of a fine television screen.
I put together a cast of six dancers I had worked with before and hired a talented stylist to create dresses, mostly using chiffon which flows so beautifully underwater. Then I had a large, 300-pound front-silvered mirror placed (carefully!) at the bottom of the pool to reflect the dancers as they moved across it, as if it were a television screen. The silver reflective coating on a mirror is always placed behind the glass. Photographing the reflections in such mirrors will, subtly by surely, reveal the “ghost” of the glass. I had a mirror made with the reflective covering painted on top of the glass resulting in a perfectly clear, pristine image.
I wanted the dancers to look as if they were flowers blown by a breeze; I needed them to move across the glass. But having them swim across would not have been graceful. This is how I solved the problem: their movement was accomplished by having one of my assistants, off camera and underwater, pull each dancer, under my direction, with a thin, black cord (invisible against the black background). My models, being professional dancers, knew exactly what I was after, and their movements and the reflections were perfect.
This is a shortened version of the longer commercial.
The shoot went so smoothly, and the dancers looked so alluring and beautiful that I had time, afterwards to repeat the movement and capture the moments in photographs. Here are a few of the images that were created, almost as a happy afterthought.