Filmed with OnePlus 6: A behind-the-scenes look with Giacomo

  1. Ruby G.
    NA Community Manager Aug 20, 2018

    Ruby G. , Aug 20, 2018 :

    "You can look through all the videos we’ve created, and many people can’t believe it was shot on a smartphone. That’s the biggest compliment we can receive."
    - Giacomo Mantovani (aka @EXIV)

    Recently our EU team has been busy making their annual student video. We thought it would be fun to give our community an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at this creative project. And the best man to tell this story, was the man behind the lens: Giacomo Mantovani (yes, the same Giacomo who took to the mountains last summer and showed us how to master the night shot)! Without further ado, here’s the interview with our beautifully-bearded videographer from Italy:

    How long have you been working with OnePlus?
    I started working with OnePlus 4 years ago. I wanted to buy a new smartphone, and there were only three phones capable of shooting 4K video. One of them was the OnePlus One. I liked the OnePlus One, but I needed an invite. I registered, and luckily I got it quickly; so I bought the phone. When I received the phone and ran my first test, I was blown away by the performance of the camera. (You can see his comparison video between the OnePlus One and the Canon 5D Mark III here.) People at OnePlus started noticing me, particularly @David S., and I was invited to a fan gathering in London. That was my first video with the OnePlus staff! Step by step, I started covering bigger events, such as product launches, and eventually creative projects such as these student videos.

    I love the brand. I love the company. And I feel part of it. I always say to people, we’re all part of the OnePlus family. I love it, not only because the product and philosophy are in line with my principles, but also because it allows me to work on creative projects, like the one we’re doing now.

    How long have you been creating videos?
    I started when I was about 16 years old. I’m 35 now, so that makes almost 20 years. As you can imagine, that makes it a major part of my life. I love creating videos. I love creating things that are in my mind. I want to convey messages with my short films.

    What do you like most about creating videos?
    I like all of it. I like to produce, work with people, identify problems and solve them; that makes me feel like a hero. I love being on the set. It’s a very human approach, a very human moment. I love seeing the video become a reality, scene after scene. I love to shoot it. I love to see the editing process where everything comes to life. I love seeing the reaction from people when they first see it.

    What is your video style?
    You can find an element that represents me in every video. The rhythm, the precision, the accuracy, the attention to details, and the structure of the story; which is always very minimal, very essential, very clear.

    How long does the whole process take?
    It took about 5 days to come up with the video plan and first draft of the script. I sat down and presented it at the OnePlus office, and together we refined it. We made some changes, and entered the pre-production phase. This took about 6 days; 2 days to assemble and test equipment. At that point, we started the production. We had to film everything in two days; Monday and Tuesday of last week. It was a lot of work, and eventually we needed to push one scene to Wednesday.

    On Thursday, we started the post-production stage, and on Friday we spent the entire day in studios and on Skype with voice artists, to record the voice-overs in British English, German, French and Spanish. On Saturday, we recorded American English and Italian, and continued working on the post-production process of cutting the clips, making it vibe well with the music, colour correction, etc. on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. Five days may seem like a lot for post-production, but to make all the improvements as pointed out by Ard, I had to contact a few VFX collaborators to assist in the editing process; we made it just in time.


    What was the most fun scene to shoot?
    Spoiler alert! The scene with Kin (the dog) was a lot of fun to shoot. Dogs really do whatever they want; but this Shiba was a natural! As a close second, I’d say the party scene was a lot of fun. I created a rotating system that allowed us to swing the device 360 degrees around Michael, our main actor, and film how he takes a photo of his friends and a selfie with a girl at a party. Attaching a normal camera to this system would be too heavy, so it’s great that we were shooting with the OnePlus 6. Of course, our friends from OnePlus, @Ard and @Constantijn Appelmans, were also present at the party shooting, so we had a lot of fun creating the scene.

    Back to School video teaser 2 - Social.png

    What was the most complicated scene to shoot?
    The mirror scene was quite complicated. For context, we wanted to show the student taking a selfie while brushing his teeth, but the OnePlus 6 we were filming with was in-between the student’s face and the OnePlus 6 he’s using to take the selfie; we needed to remove the OnePlus 6 we were filming with from the selfie. In order for us to get this shot, our actor Michael first took a selfie on the OnePlus 6 without another device in-between, all while recording his screen. Then, when we placed the OnePlus 6 in front of his face to film him taking a selfie with the device in his hand, we played the OnePlus 6 screen recording we took earlier and instructed Michael to tap the shutter button. This scene took us 4 hours to shoot, and it’ll get about 1 second screen time during the video—haha! Nonetheless, we’re very happy with the creative solution.


    What was the craziest thing that happened during the process?
    The original idea was to do the video backwards. We’d start the video with the feather boa around the student’s neck, and then we’d go back through the past day’s activities to discover what had brought him to that point. When I shared the first cut on Friday morning, Ard thought it didn’t feel natural and re-edited the video to put it in the correct chronological order; forward. The moment we saw this new cut, 4 days before our deadline, we realized going forward was the best way to go and we changed the order of the whole video. The team worked like crazy in the lobby of the recording studio to edit the voice-over lines (while we were about to record with our voice artist in 1 hour) to reflect this major change. In the end, the idea of going backwards may have worked if we’d had more scenes to work with, but under these circumstances, it was the right decision to go forward instead. It all worked out.

    Is there anything else you want to highlight or share with us about the filming process?
    There’s no way to achieve what we achieved here, and to survive such a complicated production, if you don’t have the right people around you. I’ve been very lucky to have had the chance to work with all these great people. Starting with my assistant, Zak, he did an amazing job, he worked day and night for almost two weeks, following my (many) directions, to get all the details just right. Michael, the actor playing the student, also played the student last year, and has featured in many of my other OnePlus videos as well. He’s a fantastic guy; always willing to commit, willing to push the limits and never gives up.

    I’m also very proud of Kin! She’s such a nice dog and did a great job in our park scene. Of course, also the voice actors, Ard, Constantijn, and all others who’ve helped in the process. It was hard, emotionally, because [pause] I lost someone close to me just a week ago, but I’m very proud of what we created and this wouldn’t be possible without the strength of everyone around me. It’s been a rollercoaster ride; but an incredible one. I’ve met phenomenal people.

    Anything you’d like to add?
    I feel part of the OnePlus family. I don’t feel like OnePlus is the client and I’m the provider. I really feel part of it and I hope everyone will always see me as part of it. It’s been 4 years, and I see that as just the beginning of a long, amazing journey.

    We’ll be releasing our new student video tomorrow. Let us know what you hope to see. Feel free to check out last year's video while you wait ;)

    8/22 Update
    It's out! Check it out here:


  2. Ard
    Social Staff Member Aug 20, 2018

    Stickied Post
    Ard , Aug 20, 2018 :
    Ah, the student video... Creating it was a crazy ride indeed! Giacomo has been amazing, and I hope you'll all watch tomorrow.

    Last Friday night, when Giacomo and I arrived back at the office after dinner, Zak (his assistant) told us one of the voice artists had canceled last-minute. We'd been waiting for him all night, and ten minutes before we were supposed to record, we were suddenly left without a German voice-over for the video. Zak frantically started calling alternatives, and we couldn't believe our luck when one of them told us he was available right away (which was around 22:30 at that point). We jumped on a Skype call, and the guy was absolutely incredible. Even if you don't speak German, I suggest you give the German version a try. It's that good.

    Lastly, what's your material of choice for a meeting room table? :)


  3. Drewbikscube
    The Lab - OnePlus 6T Reviewer Aug 20, 2018

  4. Moin2200
    KitKat Aug 20, 2018

  5. TheOnlyArtz
    Eclair Aug 20, 2018

    V1534993839732, Ruby G. and Vladut123 like this.
  6. NeVeR_SeTTLe
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Aug 20, 2018

    NeVeR_SeTTLe , Aug 20, 2018 :
    Thanks for sharing this interview with Giacomo ;) Great read and informative ;) Now, let's learn how to capture those night time shots and any other shots with our OnePlus devices :D Thank you @Ruby G.

  7. Chirag.joshi
    Gingerbread Aug 20, 2018

    Chirag.joshi , Aug 20, 2018 :
    This is just great

    Ruby G. and script like this.
  8. Nigel Rijkhoek
    Staff Staff Member Aug 20, 2018

    Nigel Rijkhoek , Aug 20, 2018 :
    Fun story...

    The Student Video version 1 is the reason I work at OnePlus! I remember seeing that video and I was thinking; how cool would it be if I can work at a company that does cool stuff like that? And here I am!

    Thank you Giacomo for doing cool stuff together!

  9. Majuran thas
    Honeycomb Aug 20, 2018

    anjulesh1 likes this.
  10. Cheetosdust
    Starting Point Expert Community Expert Aug 20, 2018

    Cheetosdust , Aug 20, 2018 :
    Oh nice, I love reading scripts. Would love to read that one too :)

  11. srinivas0301
    Ice Cream Sandwich Aug 20, 2018

    Ruby G. likes this.
  12. Dunnow
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Aug 20, 2018

  13. Pym C.
    Europe Team Staff Member Aug 20, 2018

    Pym C. , Aug 20, 2018 :
    Woop, super excited for this! Great to be able to hang out with such passionate people and call it "work".

    Ruby G., script, Ard and 1 other person like this.
  14. gaster
    Lollipop Moderator Aug 20, 2018

    gaster , Aug 20, 2018 :
    An amazing read Ruby. Pretty impressive. Thank you for this amazing share :) Best of luck in the future guys!

  15. jlasensiofi
    KitKat Aug 20, 2018

    jlasensiofi , Aug 20, 2018 :
    The video of last year was already a work of art, of a great professionalism worthy of a professional like you, Giacomo. I'm looking forward to seeing this new one that I'm sure will be better. I loved the interview.
    Congrats, my friend [e]1f44d[/e]
    Congrats @Ruby G. for this fabulous post.
    Never Settle.

  16. Shivang Joshi
    Starting Point Expert Community Expert Aug 20, 2018

    Shivang Joshi , Aug 20, 2018 :
    Marked to read before going to bed ;)

    Edit: It was a great read and I'm excited to see that video today :D
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018

    Ruby G., script and Cheetosdust like this.
  17. Reece Emilio Prime
    Eclair Aug 20, 2018

    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018

    R1535446141649 and Ruby G. like this.
  18. TibiTibi
    Photography Expert Aug 20, 2018

    Ruby G., Shivang Joshi and script like this.
  19. script
    Nougat Moderator Aug 20, 2018

    script , Aug 20, 2018 :
    Thank you Ruby and Giacomo, very nice insights in your work. Will be fun to watch the video tomorrow.

    See you soon, I hope

  20. alessandromichelazzi
    OnePlus 5 Sample Shot Photographer Aug 20, 2018

    Ruby G. and Shivang Joshi like this.