When you love what you do, every day is easy. But when you not only love what you do, but also get to combine that with your other passions, every day is a dream. Mariano De Luca knows this well. Growing up in Argentina, he was always a fan of soccer, just like the entire nation. Now, he has a successful career as a director of photography working on films, television programs, and commercials. When he heard about a project that would allow him to explore Argentina’s love of soccer, he jumped at the opportunity.
De Luca was the director of photography on the extremely successful Gillette “People’s Video” for the FIFA World Cup in 2014. The campaign featured two videos. The first mainly focused on what the people and fans wanted to say to the players of Argentina’s National Soccer Team before they went to the World Cup. It has been viewed more than 750,000 times on YouTube.
“We know that the campaign was going to be big, but nobody know that it was going to be THAT big,” said De Luca. “It was a one-minute piece that was full of energy from the fans around the country and they wanted to cheer the players up.”
De Luca and the crew went all over Argentina to shoot the segment, in iconic places in each of the cities. They travelled to Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata, Cordoba and Mendoza city. Going to sites like “Puente del Inca” and “Potrerillos” and also soccer stadiums, like the “Estadio Jose Maria Minella” of Mar del Plata.
“Being a Soccer fan, and having the possibility to enter every soccer stadium that we did was incredible, and travelling around the country and shooting in places you only got to know if you are shooting was amazing,” said De Luca. “When you are shooting you get to go to places that normally people are not allow to go, and that is one of the greatest thing of being a Director of Photography.”
They used a video booth with a camera inside and a podium where people could walk in and leave a video message, but De Luca also came up with another approach to shooting to make fans truly feel connected to the players.
“I decided to use a small camera and lenses, with a lightweight shoulder rig, that allowed me to move freely and not have a big weight in my shoulder for long times,” described De Luca. “I told the people that we interviewed to grab the camera, as if it was a cell phone, in a selfie-kind of shooting. It was a nice resource to get away of the typical interview form.”
Capturing the fans feelings proved to be successful. The second segment of the campaign involved showing the players the videos and filming their reactions. The moving video received over 3 million views on YouTube.
“Sincerely, I would never have thought that the national team was going to be so touched when they saw the video,” said De Luca. “Seeing the campaign on TV just before the World Cup, and then seeing how the players watched it was an amazing feeling.”
The original approach De Luca took of filming went along well with the director Tomas Tchechenitsky. Tchechenitsky, who has previously worked on campaigns for VW, DirectTV, Bayer, and Multicanal, described this particular project, and working alongside De Luca, as incredible.
“We went to places that everybody wants to be and the captured those moments of joy, tears and excitement,” said Tchechenitsky. “I met Mariano a long time ago. We got along pretty fast, we understood each other quickly. Mariano took the challenge of shooting for more than ten hours a day handheld, and did that flawlessly, walking and going around with the camera on his shoulder like no one else. His decisions on framing and shot designing, alongside his fast pace working, made him the right guy for this job. His approach to this campaign was perfect.”
Having worked together in the past, De Luca finds Tchechenitsky to be extremely talented, and describes the crew as being great people.
“It was a project where we got to be a pretty packed group. We went everywhere together, got breakfast together, lunch, dinner, etc. and besides that, worked together,” said De Luca. “When you are travelling to shoot you have that kind of bonding, and I love it.”
The campaign led to a national trending hashtag on Twitter, and brought the country together for their excitement for the World Cup. However, nothing was more infectious to De Luca than the passion felt from not only himself, but also the crew and the interviewees.
“The way people feel about soccer in Argentina is so special that everyone behind the camera were static after each interview with the fans, including me,” he concluded. “We live the soccer in Argentina like nowhere else!”