Slowly but surely, people have been delegating more and more tasks to their personal assistants. And by personal assistants, we’re talking about those nifty technological gadgets that could pass for items from Steven Spielberg’s science fiction thriller, Minority Report. You can get Apple’s Siri to answer a nagging question at the back of your mind. Amazon’s Alexa can read out cooking instructions while you try averting a disaster in the kitchen. Google’s Mini can be your morning alarm clock, playing Lion King’s Circle of Life every day at six in the morning. And now, Sony seems to be getting in on the personal assistant market with its Xperia Ear.
The agency Cake contacted London-based photographer Ashley Lewis to capture some choice images of the new product for Sony’s website and social media platforms, showing people going about the typical day using the wireless Bluetooth earpiece. The Xperia Ear has some neat tricks up its sleeve. It can read out notifications for you as they arrive, dictate messages and emails, report the weather, and play music. It functions as a portable assistant you can take with you connected to your phone, a better alternative to carrying your Alexa with you as if it were a boombox.
The Creative Director at Cake, Lizzy Pollot, was impressed with Ashley’s previous work and wanted him to handle the stills component of the project while a separate unit handled the video. The film unit would be handling the bulk of the production, but Ashley needed to make sure he got his bearings right from his end, which for the most part involved being as mobile and flexible as he could be.
Because some of our locations forbid tripods and equipment on train platforms, I had to make sure everything was portable and light enough to be carried and lifted whilst built. I didn’t use a tripod or any light stands, instead choosing to mirror the film lighting and use LED panels on stands that could be held off the ground. Also, because we were shooting in Central London and then in the Peak District – roughly 4 hours by car from London, it involved booking hotels and driving between locations on the days between our shoot days.
The shoot itself required some careful coordination on Ashley’s part, especially with him being attached by the hip to a large video operation. He had to ensure he didn’t take up an inordinate amount of time with his shots, talking things through with the crew and the models to maximize the results from his small windows of opportunity. Creatively, Ashley’s homework researching previous Sony brand work and paying attention to the mood boards meant that his images were aesthetically consistent with the motion product. Once the team nailed down the shooting aspects, they also had time for some trivia and a few laughs.
The production manager we had whilst working on the Tube and DLR was telling us stories about all the productions he had worked on like James Bond. Whilst in the forest everyone was being careful not to slip over as it was very wet and muddy. Trust it to be me who slipped and fell straight onto my back. Luckily nobody caught that on film!
The reaction to the shoot and the images has been brimming with positivity. Cake’s Creative Director for the project, Lizzy, said it was one of her favorite shoots in recent years. Ashley’s images can be seen on Sony’s website and social media accounts, and he was also surprised to see his images at a tech conference, plastered across giant screens for everyone to witness. There’s also a chance that the photos will be used on packaging and at a trade show later in the year. And for yet another win, Sony and Cake have hired Ashley for a second shoot! With all the work pouring in, looks like he’ll need an assistant to help out and be all ears. We’re sure Sony has him covered on that front.
Client: Sony Xperia
Agency: Cake Group
Creative Director: Lizzy Pollot