Director of Photography James West won the cinematography sweepstakes when his commercial spot “Check Out Girl,” shot with Panasonic’s AG-HVX200 DVCPRO HD P2 camcorder, emerged as a top winner in Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” challenge and aired during last evening’s Super Bowl broadcast. The high-profile Doritos’ promotion was a first-of-its kind opportunity that invited fans nationwide to create and shoot their own 30-second Doritos commercial for a chance to have it aired as shot in its entirety during Super Bowl XLI. Five finalists were selected from more than 1,000 entries. Fans nationwide determined the winner by voting online for their favorite commercial. According to Frito-Lay marketing executives, Doritos ultimately made the decision to broadcast two consumer-created ads (both “Check Out Girl” and “Live the Flavor”) because of very close results of the online consumer vote and the quality of the two spots.
DP West shot “Check Out Girl” with his own HVX200 on “no budget” as a favor to a friend, the commercial’s writer/director Kristin Dehnert. The spot was shot after-hours in a Los Angeles-area grocery store; total shoot time was approximately three hours. The scenario depicts a friendly cashier flirtatiously discussing her customer’s wide-ranging choice of Doritos. “With the HVX200, I was able to shoot commercial specs with great image quality at virtually no cost,” said West. “Given our extremely brief production window, I was pleased that it was so easy to move around with the small camera, work quickly and shoot such high-quality footage. It’s a terrific camera to own.”
West used two 8GB P2 cards to shoot the spot in HD at 720pN. He had a camera assistant on-set working with a laptop with two hard drives; full P2 cards were downloaded to one external hard drive, then copied to the second drive as an archive. “Check Out Girl” was edited by Kindra Marra on Avid Media Composer 2.6 with Avid Mojo SDI. The spot was uploaded to Doritos as a Quicktime file. The filmmakers also submitted a mastered original in two formats — a D-5 HD version and a DigiBeta NTSC 4:3 Letterboxed version ‘ for network airing.