Dashing shows off Hyundai's inner-engineering of vehicles as their cars cruise a massive interior
test track in a new five-spot campaign. They gathered a VFX team working around the clock and
around the globe.
Led by Dashing’s founder, creative director and VFX supervisor Robert Moggach, each spot shows a Hyundai vehicle cruising through a surreally lit postmodern test facility of giant proportions as intricate graphics showing off the automobiles' machinations spring onto the screen. The vehicles travel towards a light and, as though appearing in another dimension, emerge from a suburban garage door. From plates to delivery, they delivered almost 100 shots of full CGI environments, design and animation in eight weeks.
|“A couple of different configurations were used during shoot, but we relied on the Total Station to make sure we had an accurate 3D point cloud. The tracking team was on set to help with integration work. We used a Pro Mote to make sure we got a stable HDR and also shot flat HDR images using a Nodal Prohead of all the real physical light. Both sets of data were used as lighting reference for the CG within all the environments. The tracking team was also responsible for surveying the cars on set so that they matched our CG models, taping all the cars and carrying out total station scans so that each car had hundreds of points of accuracy and plenty of photo reference," Rob said.|
|“We started previs as soon as we were awarded the job and worked with the Director Rob Leggatt while he was in London and we were in Toronto. But as soon as he landed here, he came to Dashing and worked for a week and a half on previs for five spots with three or four artists in our studio. We also sent an artist to work with him on set as a guide to help him plan out elements of the shoot such as where to put cameras in the limited space on set.”
On Set Previs
Doing previs on set this way helped the DP and director set up shots while shooting and quickly try things out for the next day - or next hour – looking for the most efficient way possible to shoot. Having the editor there was essential, and meant the director, agency and client could approve the work the same day and a few days later have final edits on set. They could also upload footage every night and start getting it processed
Rob assembled the team from artists worldwide based on their individual expertise. “As needed we brought them to the production to guarantee a smooth collaboration. To work together we used online tools like 37signals, Google Docs, email, chat and GoToMeeting."
|Virtually the only practical parts of the spots are the cars and some reflections. In Rob’s view the style of the spot relied mainly on the lighting on set designed by the DP Claudio Miranda following his work on TRON. “He designed a lighting rig with Kino Flo lamps that gave the shoot its look. He has built that rig before but never on that scale. The rig could also be raised and lowered depending on the car being shot. That high-tech feel is due to him, though we did re-create all of those lights in CGI," said Rob.
“We didn’t need to do any full CG car replacements, but mainly used the car models we created for reflection enhancement and some hold-out mattes,” Rob said. “The commercials have to be about live action cars, and we dealt with environmental work later. When dealing with clients, the focus is on their car. As we worked within a tight shooting schedule and a demanding work schedule, it made sense to give the client what they wanted, beautiful sheet metal. We shot the cars and built the sequence and story out of those shots and were able to get approvals quickly because the car looks great and the story makes sense.”
|When it came to building their car models, the car surveys on set were critical because, due to the tight schedule they actually received little data from Hyundai. The technical graphics were created from scratch. “John Beard, the production designer, had some strong concepts about the design,” Rob said. “He worked with our artists to build that design. We started very early on with concept design and wanted it to be a functional design that wasn’t too sci-fi or over the top with interfaces that didn’t make sense or weren’t functional. In fact, trying to make something more real made it more unique.
“We modelled in Maya, textured in Mari and used V-Ray proxy for lighting. Compositing was all done in Nuke and Flame. The camera work was nearly all real. There might have been one or two shoots that we enhanced. Great energy came into the spot because we could use real cameras, real cars and real dollies. It makes it more believable.”
One of the more interesting graphic effects is the ‘wind’ blowing over the Elantra from a turbine moving directly ahead of the car in its straight path. They used brute force tracking, taking advantage of the fact that the new position of the car as it moved would be close to the previous one, following the fluidic nature of the car and enhancing those lines with the smoke they created. Again, the 3D reveal of the dual clutch design was a standard 3D track of a car moving in linear line. The need to do so much tracking demanded a variety of approaches including Boujou, Syntheyes, PFTrack, plus some hand tacking and working by eye.
Production designer John Beard also designed the huge test facility. Rob explained, “We built a modular design that was 50 metres wide to 1 km square. It was built in such a way that it could slide in and out, up and down in different pieces so that we could create different scales within one model. He had architectural references, but major benefit was that our CG supervisor, Sebastian Bilbao, comes from a long line of architects, bringing his own love of architecture to the project.
As for the clean white light each cars travels toward on its way out of the test facility – “It’s just a big white light,” Rob said. “We built the walls surrounding the door but just opened the door in the studio and drove out.” www.dashing.tv