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  • Writer's pictureNicklas Karpaty, FSF

Compelling Brand Stories: Cinematography in Commercial Filmmaking

Updated: May 12

Introduction

Commercial filmmaking thrives on the delicate balance of creativity and strategy. As a Director of Photography with a passion for storytelling, I've had the privilege of working with esteemed brands to bring their narratives to life through cinematography. In this post, I'll share some insights on my experience in crafting compelling brand stories through cinematography.


© Cinematographer Nicklas Karpaty, FSF

Understanding Brand Identity

In cinematography, understanding brand identity means capturing the essence of a brand's values, tone and visual language. This requires a deep understanding of what makes a brand unique and how to bring that to life through visual storytelling. For example, when working with a brand like IKEA, it's about embracing their commitment to simplicity, functionality and inclusivity through key visual elements such as lighting, composition and color palette. Natural light can create a warm and inviting atmosphere, while minimalist compositions can emphasise the product's design and functionality. Consistency in visual elements helps to build recognition for the brand's identity.

In "Synchronised" (see below), one of many commercial films I´ve shot for IKEA, we applied this approach to showcase a diverse family's morning routine in a humorous and relatable way, highlighting the brand's products and values in an authentic and impactful way. (Prod.co Vingaland Film, Client IKEA)





Consistency is Key

Consistency is crucial in visual storytelling. We worked closely with Swedish client AJ Produkter to ensure our films reflected their brand values: innovation, sustainability and customer satisfaction. We showcased their commitment to quality and sustainability through their office furniture and products, highlighting how they help create work environments where people thrive.

In our films, actor and comedian Claes Malmberg stars as an office worker experiencing smart solutions with AJ Produkter's products. We incorporated humour with their bright and vibrant color palette, creating a cohesive brand image that aligns with their overall strategy and brought the brand values to life in a fun and engaging way. (Prod.co Valdes/Eriksdotter, dir Joan Valdes)





Evoking Emotion and Connection

Cinematography has the power to evoke emotion and create a connection between the audience and the brand. By crafting a narrative that celebrates the people behind the wheel, we created a warm and uplifting film that resonates with Volvo Trucks' audience. Our story highlights the dedication and passion of truck drivers, showcasing how their profession is not just a job, but a way of life that often spans generations.

As a cinematographer, I believe that understanding the brand's values and essence is crucial in creating impactful visual stories. Volvo Trucks' commitment to quality, safety and sustainability is at the heart of their brand identity. Our film aims to help bring out these brand values. (Prod.co OTW, dir Anders Haraldsson, Client Volvo Trucks)


Behind the scenes of Volvo Trucks film



The Importance of Brand Guides

Brand guides are essential tools that outline a company's visual and tonal identity. As cinematographers, adhering to these guidelines ensures consistency and cohesion in our visual storytelling. They provide clear direction on elements like color palette, tone, typography, and logo usage. By following these guidelines, we can create visuals that resonate with the brand's audience, communicate its values, and strengthen its brand presence. For instance, IKEA's meticulously crafted style guide reflects its Swedish design philosophy, guiding us on aspects such as natural lighting, minimalist composition, and consistent color palette. This alignment reinforces the brand's identity and messaging in our visual storytelling.



Conclusion

As a Director of Photography, my mission is to craft visually stunning images and compelling narratives that resonate with audiences. By understanding brand identity, maintaining consistency, evoking emotion and following brand values, cinematography becomes a powerful tool for bringing brand stories to life.


If you're a director or producer seeking to elevate your brand's storytelling through cinematography, let's collaborate and bring your vision to life. Reach out, and together, we'll craft a brand story that captivates and inspires.




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