A star rises from behind the edge of a planet. Only it’s not the sun and you’re not watching 2001 – A Space Odyssey. As a voice proclaims that ‘this tiny white ball has power, great power’, it turns out that you’re watching something much smaller than the sun… and it’s making its way around a spinning roulette wheel at high speed. The camera is right behind it. It may not be space travel, but it’s a dazzling sight nonetheless.
In another 30-second film, also advertising a night out at Holland Casino, we get a view from within a transparent dice, before it, and another one, decide the fate of one lucky—or unlucky—player at the craps table. Stacks of playing cards appear immense in the third and final film in the series, an ode to the fickle Queen of Hearts. Amazingly, director Oskar Wrangö has refrained from using CGI in his gambling triptych.
It’s an old school way of working, with real sets and real light. One reason I like to work in this way is because it’s fun, you’re not sitting by the computer waiting for people to do stuff for you.
‘I’ve always been keen on creating in-camera solutions, I tend to not use heavy post-production,’ he explains. ‘It’s an old school way of working, with real sets and real light. One reason I like to work in this way is because it’s fun, you’re not sitting by the computer waiting for people to do stuff for you. I love experimenting with props and physics and technical stuff. My DOP developed a new, rotating camera rig with which we could follow the ball perfectly. That was a cool challenge to solve. It’s fun to push the boundaries of what you can do in-camera. The other reason is that I think it just looks nicer. Plus I know what the image is going to look like when I shoot it, which is really rewarding.’
Making a commercial: it’s so dangerously unpredictable, to paraphrase the voice-over. Oskar: ‘Of course I can direct it in any way if I do it in post, but now I’m gathering material and trying to be lucky. If you do enough tries with the dice, they will collide perfectly in the air in a way you want them to. You need to stick to it and take your time. Just like a real casino player. And this time I won.’