Most ads run 15, maybe 30 seconds. The newest ad for Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro is more than five hours long.
The premise is to take viewers on a dreamlike tour of one of the world’s largest museums, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. Recorded in one single take, the film meanders through the 45 halls and 2.5 million square feet of the Hermitage, showing off some 600 works by Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Rubens, and others, as well as staged visitor scenes, custom choreography, and a set by Russian composer Kirill Richter.
“This video to me is all about connection through time,” says the 29-year-old Russian filmmaker behind the ad, Axinya Gog, “art that is timeless meets modern life and state-of-the art technology.” (The director is no stranger to museums. Her mother was an art historian and curator at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.)
Though ultimately played as a stunt to showcase the new phone’s battery capability, the length and single-take style of the film also demanded some impressive behind-the-scenes technical wizardry. Gog and her team rigged an elaborate system to seamlessly move the phone from handheld camera stabilizers to room-scanning cranes, and even designed a custom app to command the video controls remotely.
The video was shot on a Monday, when the museum is closed to the public. Though planned and rehearsed over the course of months, the film crew was given a single six-hour window to make the five-hour ad, meaning there was no room for mistakes. And when they were done, there was still 19 percent of the battery left on the phone.
See the full video here.
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