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«Well, you can only blame yourself» was the first thing Martin told me during our meeting. We met up to discuss the details regarding the pictorial world of the highly specialized metal CNC milling and laser processing company BR TEC. The week before we exchanged ideas in which direction the pictures should go. I had the idea to work with LED tubes as a prop, and both the client and the agency Schmucki found liking in the thought. So Martin developed the concept around the idea.

Will it work?

First thing I did was creating a proof of concept. LED tubes work entirely different than standard fluorescent lights as they can be powered directly from a regular socket. Thanks to a screw terminal I was able to connect the tube to a standard lamp cable (make sure you work with ferrules when screw-connect wires) and then isolated the connection.

Can I get it in time?

50 tubes were needed. Getting the 50 was a more significant obstacle than I had imagined, the European hardware store OBI only had 30 left in Switzerland, and none of the other hardware stores had the brand I was looking for.

With a lot of effort, I was able to get a dealer to import the needed amount for me, but because the delivery would have been too slow, I had to pick them up at their location 100km away from my home. And guess what: the exact same thing I had with the cables. I got the parts together on Friday, the last workday before the production started.

Setdesign

For the key-visual, we needed a large factory hall. Luckily the client had an empty workshop ready for us to use. We darkened the room, and my mate Timon and I started to hang the tubes from a net we attached to the ceiling. For jobs like these, a lot of time goes into pre-production. It took us around 8h to get the set-design and lighting right, and we had the photo in about 15min.

On the second production day, we focused on the parts they produce. As the setting should be similar, we built a cage out of the tubes and used them as a backdrop. We attached them to regular stands, and I connected the lights in Photoshop. Timon was holding a tube just right behind the camera to fill in the shadows, but the key-light was the cage itself which led to a very cinematic short-side-light.

Wrap up

I think those pictures illustrate perfectly how a pictorial world of a company can differentiate oneself from the competition and how enriching it can be to include the photographer early to the process. In the end, it wouldn’t have been possible without the courage of BR TEC, the sophisticated concept of Martin and his team and the help of my mate Timon – a huge thanks to all of you!

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