City showcased during "magic hour"
Huntsville mayor Tommy Battle kicked off his re-election campaign with a spot that shows a bit of Americana.

Working with David Driscoll from the mayor's agency The Driscoll Group, we tried to give the campaign a hometown feel by shooting a number of slice-of-life scenes.

Fantastic Plastic's Todd Terry wrote and directed the commercial, with Phil Schmidt producing and art direction by Kim Brown. Joey Skelton handled the music design as well as color grading.

We usually shoot a spot like this in only a day or two, but this one took almost a week to allow most of the photography at "magic hour" — the hour just before sunset — which gives the most beautiful light.

In addition to our e35mm camera system, we pulled out most of our toys for this production — including a camera slider, lots of HMI lighting, and even a remote-controlled helicopter.

Since we wanted a very "homespun" voiceover, we chose Tim Russell to perform the narration between his weekly public-radio gigs on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion."

To get the view we needed in the final scene, the mayor is actually standing on top of a patio table perched on the edge of an eight-story building's observation deck. We weren't sure he'd be game for it, but was a trooper about it.