I've always been a big fan of Dave Hill's photography and creative vision. If you're familiar with his earlier commercial work, you probably know him for his progressive digital and composite techniques. Well, in recent years, Hill has been growing and changing as an artist and he's been exploring different techniques and mediums (not just super rad composites) and shooting a lot more automotive ads. Here is an example of a great Jeep Wrangler ad campaign he captured with — Gasp! — 645, 6x7, and 35 film.
If you watch the behind-the-scenes video, you'll see that he uses Mamiya, Canon, and Hasselblad H1 film backs and gear, but uses a digital back for tests in scenes like the rolling rig shots (that's an incredibly beautiful and expensive rig he is using for those images by the way). I suppose that makes sense considering large/medium format Polaroid proofs aren't very efficient or readily available.
So what do you think about shooting modern ad campaigns like this with film? You can see in the video that he faces technical issues during production with the Hasselblad and because he purposely didn't bring a digital SLR backup to the shoot, he had to adapt and shoot more content with the 35mm Canon 1v rather than the 645 medium format back. I think it is a pretty interesting concept, shooting this way. You have less images per roll and you're forced to be more considerate with how you shoot your content. Also, I suppose it doesn't surprise me that a guy known for being so composite/digital-heavy early in his career, that he would want to go to the other extreme and try working with film and challenging himself in a different medium.
I really commend Hill for attempting to shoot an automotive campaign this way. I personally cringed at the idea of shooting print ads for car manufacturers this way because I know how postproduction heavy car ads typically are. Although, I assume if you reach a high level like Hill, clients trust you to create your art however you see fit.
What do you think? Shoot your next ad campaign with film?
You can see more images from the Jeep Wrangler campaign on Dave Hill's website.