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Multi-talented Peng Yang Jun Shines In Directorial Debut for Mini Clubman
多才多艺彭杨军,Mini Clubman导演处女秀


We were immediately impressed by the recent Mini Clubman spot. Unconventional and non-formulaic, the film doesn’t make use of the dramatic stunt driving, beautiful landscapes, celebrity spokesperson nor trendy fast visuals so ubiquitous in Chinese car commercials. The simple film focuses only on the car, with the narrative following its journey and transformation.

While it is no surprise that the mastermind behind the spot was a somewhat unconventional director, we had not expected to learn it marked his directorial debut.

一看到最近的Mini Clubman广告,我们就立刻被它所吸引。片子打破传统,不落俗套,没有酷炫的车技,没有美丽的风景,也没有名人代言,亦没有赶时髦,追逐中国汽车广告片中泛滥的快节奏视觉感。只是简单的一台车,跟随着它的足迹和变化而展开叙事。


Peng Yang Jun has many strings to his bow – freelance photographer, media expert, curator, and founder of the slick iliangcang lifestyle and design magazine and online shop, which he founded with his wife, Chen Jiao Jiao, in 2013. The site has since built a community connecting with hundreds of lifestyle publications and organizations across the globe.

In his new role as film director, Peng is already earning critical acclaim. SHP+ caught up with Peng to learn more about his background and his first commercial film experience.

彭杨军身兼数职 – 自由摄影师、媒体专家、策展人、良仓网创始人,良仓网是一个集生活方式、设计和网店于一体的平台,2013年由彭杨军和妻子陈皎皎共同创办。自此便打造了一个联动全球数百家生活方式媒体和机构每日播报全球最前沿的格调生活、创意设计资讯的社区。


Peng with his wifePeng Yang Jun & Jiaojiao Chen at their house 2014.

SHP+: This is your first commercial film. How do you feel about it? 

Peng Yang Jun: I feel pretty good. Although the film looks very simple, executing it was actually difficult. By the time we completed shooting, I had begun to enjoy it and wanted to shoot more.



SHP+: How did you get this first job as a director? Did you pitch an idea first before getting it? What was Mini Clubman’s brief? 

PYJ: Mini Clubman China has always tried new things and made unique TV commercials. Their project manager and I have been friends for a decade. He’s an interesting character; you would think he is an artist instead of someone that sells cars. We have collaborated before, mostly on print and web design. They had seen the documentaries and brand commercial we’d made previously, so they asked if I would want to direct the commercial for their new product. I thought it would be fun.

They gave me a brief outlining the size of the car and the interior changes and we pitched an idea based on that.   We got along well, agreed on the direction and everything just clicked. Their team was very courageous, encouraging me to be more edgy. Like cutting the car for example – there were only two new cars at that time, but they still encouraged me to dismember one. They were supportive of my creative direction the entire time. There were so many unpredictable obstacles during the shooting process. They would text me and tell me that it would be okay to compromise on things, that they knew I would do my best. I was really touched, but responded, “if you think I’ll compromise, you don’t know me.”

SHP+:您是怎么得到这个第一次担当导演的机会的?是您先向他们推介自己的想法,然后他们才决定用您的吗?Mini Clubman的广告文案是什么样的?

彭杨军:mini中国的团队一直在尝试做一些不一样的视频片, 他们有一次问我们想不想为他们拍一支视频,关于他们的新车,我觉得很有意思。mini中国的项目负责人我认识了十年,我们本身是很好的朋友,他是一个非常有趣的人,感觉不是混汽车圈,而是混艺术圈的人。因为之前喜欢我们做的杂志和网站,有过很多平面和网站的合作,这次因为看过我们良仓视频组之前做的一些纪录片和良仓的宣传片,就试着看能不能合作一把.


blue 2Director Peng Yang Jun on a shoot in Inner Mongolia

SHP+: In most car ads, we see cool stunt driving skills, exaggeration, or, most commonly, a celebrity spokesperson. None of those elements are present in this Mini Clubman commercial. What was your vision for the spot?

PYJ: There are two types of good commercial. First, there are the interesting, fun, emotional kind, in which you do not talk about the product but rather focus on the brand history and spirit. Secondly, in which you do both, and talk about the product. I like the former, but prefer the latter.

I am an automobile enthusiast myself, especially the classic cars from the sixties and seventies. I even have two of them in my collection. I like to appreciate cars through the changes they have gone through over time, so for this spot I chose to compare and contrast the three generations of Mini Clubman. The new generation is larger in size, has more doors, and an upgraded interior. I chose to tell the story from God’s perspective, and to make the frames extremely symmetrical. By doing so, I hope to present Mini Clubman from a totally different perspective. It’s the easiest way for people to understand. One thing that is for sure – we have created an automobile commercial that is different from any other in China. I also want to give the copywriter a big shout out.

SHP+:在大部分的汽车广告中,我们看到很多酷炫车技,夸张手法,或者最常见的就是找名人代言。而您为Mini Clubman拍摄的广告片中,这些元素我们都没有看到。您对这条广告片的愿景是什么?

彭杨军:我觉得好广告有两类,其中一类是有趣,有情怀,不说事,说品牌精神,我喜欢这种,但我更喜欢的是顺便把事也说了的。所以我就在想,我怎么来讲清楚这些事情,我自己是很喜欢车的人,特别是60,70年代的车,我自己就收藏了两辆古董车,我喜欢看车在不同年代的变化,和呈现出来的美感,所以我选择用三代车的对比来表示新一代MINI CLUBMAN的变大,门变多和内饰的升级,我选择用上帝视角,并且画面极度对称,就是希望用完全不同的视角来呈现,来做类比,包括用数据,秒表,这既是一种形式感,也是最容易让人明白的方式。这条片子至少有一点做到了,就是跟中国其他汽车广告完全不一样。还有一点我必须提到,这次的文案给整条片子加分不少,在这里表示敬意。

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.57

SHP+: There is a lot of aerial filming involved, and the shots are extremely symmetrical. How did you achieve that? What was the process? 

PYJ: Normally, aerial shooting involves lots of frames; it seems to be a difficult thing to do. But this kind of same speed tracking is equally difficult. It’s like putting a track in the sky. From start to finish, everything has to be accurate and precise.

In the scene with three cars driving on the highway in Inner Mongolia, we used a Yatuo 800E drone to do the aerial filming because it was windy and we had a long way to go. This helicopter lookalike is mostly used for chasing scenes – it’s fast, has a good engine, can travel a long way and is good with windy conditions. When shooting the big cement scene, we had to accurately track and hover. We chose Dajiang s900 six-axis drone for this. It was perfect for controlling in a small space. There were countless shots and with the wind, our workload was doubled. In the end we needed two postproduction companies. It took a long time just to stabilize the camera. Our post-production team called this ‘Fascist aesthetics’. Very few people could understand it. Thankfully, the final product is great and everybody’s happy.





Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.56Film crew of Mini Clubman on the shoot in Inner Mongolia 

SHP+: Photography is about documenting something as it is, leaving the audience to do the thinking. Advertising is about instilling an artistic style and adding effects in post production. Do you think your photography background conflicts with making commercial work?

PYJ: My photography work focuses on documentary photography and culture which seems quite different from commercial work. However, when I first started out I did fashion photography for a long time and from that I learned the rules of commercial expression. Besides, my main thing is media. I have worked in the magazine publishing industry for ten years. I was the chief photographer at Vision, then the chief creative director of the Italian magazine Colors and now the chief creative director at The Outlook Magazine. I have always been a media guy which has taught me to think multi-dimensionally. I believe that the sense of form serves the content, and the content creates the visual. I am very aware of the differences between making my own creative work and commercial work. I think that rather than conflicting, my past experiences interact and complement one another.



Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.58on set

SHP+: How do you balance your photography work and commercial work? Will making more commercial films be your focus in the future? 

PYJ: I am a very diverse person. I used to be anxious and confused about my identity, but now I’ve got it figured out. I am a freelance photographer, a media person, a curator, and founder of iliangcang. If I can manage to balance all of these, then balancing photography and commercial films is nothing. I will not take work I do not like but I want to have an open mind to do things. Everything is interconnected and inspires one another. Just like Steve Jobs once said, “creativity is just connecting things.”

We aim to operate our business comprehensively. iliangcang is a website, an app, a publishing house, a shop, a magazine, two shows, and a rich resource for artists. This leaves us a lot of room for imagination. Our online shop comprehensively defines the aesthetics of living and features the best design products sourced from all over the world. Our community has thousands of users, including Yohji Yamamoto, Han Han and others sharing things and products they like.In the future, we want to make more films, but not just directed by me. We hope to recruit and sign directors, good post-production teams and operating teams from inside and outside China.





Making of the Mini Clubman


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