Category Archives: THE MAKING OF

Infiniti with Nick Meek – Behind the Scenes

Having recently established a new look for Infiniti, Nick Meek was asked once again by CP+B to apply his distinctive high key style to five more models of their fleet.

Infiniti QX70

We were delighted to work once again on the post-production throughout the shoot, both on location and in the studio. See the full series on our site here.

This was a shoot of epic proportions!

  • 3 months
  • 3 productions
  • 27 major exterior shots
  • 50 detail shots
  • 6 different models
  • Crew of 18

The Southern California locations included urban LA environments, desert highways, bridges, as well as an airport and a racetrack. With one of our retouchers constantly on set, we were able to jump start the post production. First pass amends could be in place before sending files to the agency, with feedback from Nick and the clients on set already incorporated.

The production convoy sets off to the desert:

The car travels in the finest style of course.

 

Gear and preparation:

Nick’s camera mounted to the end of the rig and ready to shoot.

So many measures to work against the fierce desert sun! This flexible arm keeps the camera in shade and and can also be used to block flare.

It’s a long walk back once the rig is set up – this is at its maximum extension.

The captures go directly to Kate’s workstation. We use walkie-talkies to keep in touch, so post-production can begin smoothly and directly from the image capture.

This exterior station is a convenient direct point for the client signing off elements such as the angle of the car. Left to right: CD Doug Kohnen of CP+B, Kara Hughes of Infiniti, Nick Meek.

Nick inspects some images in the workstation.

At other locations, a smaller portable sun shelter is useful.

Nick goes handheld and low angle for detail shots.

Setting up the ‘Lizard‘ to capture HDR spheres for reference, so we have a full record of the background in case of any later alterations – this means that if we need to change any details we have an accurate record for reflections and lighting on the car.

Capturing some city skyscrapers with the Lizard for use as backup for the city location, in case they were needed.


Life on the set

Tunnel vision can set in on these long shoots…

But the epic skies and open desert are stunning.

Hats are a necessity when working long hours in the blasting desert sunshine.

 

Clouds drift by as we wait for the perfect light

Even in the desert, the production team have to be vigilant – when the weather comes in, it happens fast! Approaching storms mean everything has to go under cover at very short notice.

 

Here it comes!

However the show must go on – no storm can stop Nick from continuing to work! Even in these conditions, he was able to capture great results. These were the shooting conditions:

…and this is the final result!

The precipitation did have some unexpected and spectacular side effects…

In between all the hard work during these long days on the road there were always moments of fun, where we got to play with an array of toys the crew had brought along (e-skateboards, mini motorcycle, remote controlled cars etc), and as we were being baked by the hot desert sun, we got to listen to some fine tunes by the motorhome band, while being spoiled by some amazing catered foods – Many thanks to Will Taylor of Ink and Oranges for their work on production!

Recom kept standards high with Kate coming first in her Go-Kart team.

The rig came in handy as a gigantic “selfie stick” to capture the crew, though no cable release was long enough to operate the camera!

Left to right:

Not shown:

All in all a very productive and delightful job. It was great to work once again with Nick Meek, the production was a big success and the same team is currently in the US working on the next Infiniti project.

Infiniti QX70

See the full series on our site here.

Mustang with Uli Heckmann

A quick peek on-set, and behind the scenes with the photographer –  shooting with Uli Heckmann, for the launch of the new Mustang 2018 with GTB (formerly Team Detroit) and JB5 Productions.

The car wasn’t yet available for shooting, so we took shots of  last year’s model as a stand-in to refer to, and then added this year’s car in CGI during post-production.

We always seem to be up ladders – shooting the models, and background separately. The stand-in car helps to get the lighting as realistic as possible.
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The final shot with all elements combined, including CGI car swapped in.

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Setting up the camera at the bridge – shooting HDR domes along the bridge with the Lizard to make a 360 light capture for the CGI car.

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Final shot using the lighting captures for perfect realism on the CGI car

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Stumptown brewery location. We shot all around this area, exploring different locations, areas and different talent options.

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Final shot – This was put together from a number of different elements from the day’s shooting. 

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Audi A5 and S5 Coupé

New work for Audi, a dark and dramatic concept with a technical look in a virtual world, to emphasise the high level of intelligence in the cars’ systems.

Working with photographer Markus Wendler, we built a futuristic architectural vision to set the cars in, underscored by abstract, rhythmic patterns of pixels, dissolving and coalescing.

Enjoy a trip behind the scenes in our video, from initial research, via glimpses into the technical elements to fly-throughs of the individual images. Or delve into further details below….

Once the concepts were decided, Markus Wendler travelled to China for the photography, centred around Zaha Hadid’s spectacular Opera House in Guangzhou…very poignant to be working so closely with her complex and beautiful shapes at the time of her death. Because of the organic forms of the building – inspired by the pebbles of its riverside location – it would have been very hard to figure out distances and shapes afterwards. So while Markus began shooting the backplates, his assistant Kolja Schoepe  was making invaluable PhotoScan captures, so our CGI artists could recreate the location digitally. He used the latest Canon EOS 5DS R for this and the results were very impressive – the best we have seen yet with PhotoScan.

Photoscan - Zaha Hadid

Meanwhile, as well as shooting the settings, Markus was working on the composition. This was quite a challenge as the angles for the cars had already been determined. With experience and care, he was able to successfully combine the wider angle backgrounds with the long lenses used for the cars.

Richard Jenkinson, CGI Artist at Recom Berlin, explains how we handled the creation of the geometry and distribution of the pixels in 3D:

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“After the point clouds were created using Photoscan, we imported them into Maya to make the initial models. Then we worked on grid patterns – enjoyable but surprisingly challenging to keep convincing.”

Proximity
“When we’d made the grid patterns to represent pixels, we made a build up for each area. This allows the retoucher to add or remove density where required. Then…rinse and repeat, eleven times.”

1. Initial pixel distribution for the ‘Tunnel’ image:
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2: Another pixel distribution, for the ‘Circle’ image:scene2_pixelonly_-127

Markus joined us again in the studio in Berlin, to fine tune the cars and perfect their lighting and placement within the sets.

Jonas Braukmann, CGI Director at Recom Berlin, filled in further detail on moving from the three-dimensional model to the two-dimensional finished product. As a big project with eleven images, this demanded maximised flexibility so we could work closely with the creatives at Kolle Rebbe on individual areas within each one.

“We needed control over pixel density in certain areas, to keep the illusion of natural flowing pixels, whilst keeping realistic vanishing points. The ‘rule of proximity’ was a big challenge – we needed different density levels and subdivided pixel layers in different levels of order and randomness.”

The catalogue, the first for the new Audi A5 coupé and S5 coupé design, is now in use throughout Germany.

Audi Catalogue

Final Images.
The elegant shape of the catalogue demanded super-wide panoramic versions to form extra long images for the double page spreads inside.

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Client: AUDI AG Agency: Kolle Rebbe Creative Director: Jörg Dittmann Art Director: Marcus Kubicke Photographer: Markus Wendler CGI Director: Jonas Braukmann CGI Artist: Eugen Albrandt, Richard Jenkinson Post Artist: Jonas Braukmann, Jonathan Clarke, June Lee Art Buyer: Kathrin Grün

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Credits:

Agency: Kolle Rebbe
Creative Director: Jörge Dittmann
Art Director: Markus Kubicke
Photographer:  Markus Wendler
Producer: Tim Michel
CGI Director: Jonas Braukmann / Recom Berlin
CGI artists: Eugen Albrant, Richard Jenkinson / Recom Stuttgart & Recom Berlin
Post Artists: Jonas Braukmann, Jonathan Clarke, June Lee / Recom Berlin
Art Buyer: Katrin Grün

Making of: Lamborghini Aventador with Marc Trautmann

Marc Trautmann came to us with an idea for a creative collaboration between CGI, photography, and architecture. The astonishing sculpted form of the Lamborghini Aventador would be set in deconstructed architectural elements, inspired by Daniel Libeskind, with both the car and the setting realised entirely in CGI.

“The concept of the personal CGI work was to create power and dynamics by dissolving conventional spatial structures.”

We loved the idea of creating an environment that would mesh perfectly with the extravagantly powerful style of the car, the challenge of making such an impossible setting look believable, and of course the collaboration between three creative disciplines.

1.Sketching out ideas

The first stage is to sketch out the initial concepts – no matter how technological the execution, there’s still nothing like breaking out the sharpies and sketchpads for free experimentation and collaboration in the early stages.

Initial sketches

 

2. Moodboard: structure, architecture, light.

When we are planning a deconstructed architectural enviroment, it’s vital to find reference for the elements so that they are completely convincing. We looked for abstract shattered planes and shards to inspire ideas, but also for reference of how light would move and react between the shapes. And we sought out architecture – both imagined and built – that was close to our vision, to see how it is structured in reality.

Moodboard_architecture and structure

3. Architectural session 

Marc worked with Franken Architekten to construct and then deconstruct a setting around the car. Originally created in architectural CAD, they were exported as .dwg files for us to work with in Maya.

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4. Initial tests with the car

Once the initial concept is drafted, we began to refine the ideas in Maya. We experimented with different directions and angles and light sources within the architectural setting.

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Once we were happy with the angles and the placement of the car, we crafted preliminary passes on lighting and mood.

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5. Materials.

The next stage is to look in detail at the textures of concrete, steel and glass – once again, we make moodboards of real-world examples.

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For the detailed observations to make the renders perfectly convincing, we used material references from Marc Trautmann – the concrete floor of his studio had the perfect worn industrial texture we were after.

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With the textures in place, we worked with Marc in developing the background further. Together, we sketched out where texture and lighting should be refined and perfected.

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6. Last adjustments
We tested colour and mood  variants, fine-tuning the lighting and perfecting the dynamism and balance between the structures of the car and of the deconstructed setting. High resolution rendering in Vray shows how the details are coming together here.

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7. The final artwork – three images of an extraordinary car in an extraordinary space.

Concept & Creative Director: Marc Trautmann Architecture: Franken Architelten CGI Artists: Kristian Turner, Anna Toropova / Recom Farmhouse Post Artists: Kate Brown, Riikka Eiro / Recom Farmhouse

Concept & Creative Director: Marc Trautmann Architecture: Franken Architelten CGI Artists: Kristian Turner, Anna Toropova / Recom Farmhouse Post Artists: Kate Brown, Riikka Eiro / Recom Farmhouse

Concept & Creative Director: Marc Trautmann Architecture: Franken Architelten CGI Artists: Kristian Turner, Anna Toropova / Recom Farmhouse Post Artists: Kate Brown, Riikka Eiro / Recom Farmhouse

Fly through the modelling and see how we built up the image, in our behind the scenes movie here!

See the full series on our site here

Concept & Creative Director: Marc Trautmann at Schierke
Architecture: Franken Architekten
CGI Artists: Kristian Turner, Anna Toropova / Recom Farmhouse
Post Artists: Kate Brown, Riikka Eiro / Recom Farmhouse

Making of : Kronenbourg 1664 campaign

The latest Kronenbourg 1664 campaign for French advertising agency Herezie has been a great creative challenge. Working closely with the agency from pitch, through studio and location photography to CGI and post production, we were briefed to extend the iconic 1664 ribbon beyond the confines of the bottles label. The creatives at Herezie wanted us to push the boundaries of possibility, playing with perspective and scale in order to create a perfect red cross. Hence, we crafted pink flamingos flying over real beaches, a string of buoys floating on the Mediterranean Sea, a luxurious rooftop bar overlooking the Seine River with laser beams lighting up the city’s night sky which, together with the beer, continue the red ribbons of the 1664 logo.

Recom Farmhouse 1664 advertisign campaign with Alessandra Kila

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Making of : THE DURRELLS for ITV

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This is the first project we have been doing for New York based French photographer Jean-Yves Lemoigne and we’re pretty stoked about it because we’ve been wanting to work with him for a while – check out his work!

For this advertising campaign featuring the new ITV show The Durrells he first traveled to Corfu to capture the landscape and then to London to shoot the actors and animals in the studio. Our part was to combine all the different elements to make them look like they were shot all together. Jean-Yves and creative director Anton Ezer came to our London studio to brief post artist Kate Brown on the mood and the different selects for the actors and animals.

Have a look at the making-of below to see how Kate has worked her magic to bring together these wonderful images. A task made a lot easier by Jean-Yves who shot the separate elements very skilfully, making sure that lighting and perspectives matched perfectly.

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Making of : FULL CGI LANDSCAPE for AUDI QUATTRO

This is the biggest out of home campaign Hamburg agency Kolle Rebbe has ever produced and it was also our most complex CGI production ever!

For Audi we created a full CGI winter landscape spiralling within itself: road, trees, rocks, snow, clouds and sky all curl around into a perspective that would have been impossible to photograph. In these scenes the cars, also created in CGI, are speeding on a snowy road next to ski runs with real competing athletes.

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Audi Quattro Winter Campaign (detail)

With a total of 52 motives distributed in 180 ski areas in Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and France, the teams in Berlin, Stuttgart and London joined forces to produce these mind twisting visuals under extreme time pressure. The heavy geometry of the landscapes required us to create a new pipeline to handle the different assets and be able to sculpt, texture and light the scenes in real time.

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Making of : Exogenesis by Alessandra Kila

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Alessandra Kila is a photographer and close friend of ours. She pops in and out of the studio nearly every week and when she asked us to help her with her new series of images, we were as usual very happy to collaborate on her fantastical voyage to another planet as her work is just unlike anything else. And it’s stunning!

In this series called Exogenesis (or Life Outside of Earth) Alessandra ventures to unfamiliar territories looking for life forms beyond our planet. In her pictures the carefully constructed sets are overturned by the surprise of the unexpected. Alessandra is indeed an avid collector of oddities. All of the organic matter encountered in her still life comes from places she travels to – from the Atlas mountain of Morocco to the slate quarries of Snowdonia.

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When she goes on a trip she always takes with her empty boxes and rucksacks that she then fills with stones, rusted metal wires, seeds, flowers and everything else she stumbles upon. She then re-assembles everything in her studio creating new juxtapositions which are both evocative and surreal.

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We helped her in creating the lush colours of these fantastical worlds by refining the strong tonalities of her pictures and by blending together the many layers that form these not-so-still still life photographs.
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Making of : IN THE GARDEN by Clemens Ascher

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Clemens Ascher’s latest series “IN THE GARDEN” depicts scenes from an indoor garden complex.
The world he represents appears to be entirely artificial, a plastic utopia carefully designed to deliver happiness and comfort to its inhabitants. The bright and saturated colours in these pictures are seemingly trying to compensate for the void in which these people live.

We have helped our friend Clemens in constructing this dystopian vision by adding some CG elements to his pictures. Together we discussed the set prior to his shoot and we came to the conclusion that models, plastic plants, carpets and placeholders for walls were going to be photographed, whilst windows, final walls and all other architectural elements would be created in CG.

Photographer: Clemens Ascher Fashion Stylist: Alice Whiting

Hair Stylist: Craig McAtear CGI Director: Kristian Turner / Recom Farmhouse 
CGI Artist:  Florian Einfalt / Recom Farmhouse Post Artist: Pepe Alram, Kate Brown, Andrea Tosello / Recom Farmhouse

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Making of : Balloons Series

CGI director Thorsten Jasper Weese and CGI artist Inez Budzyńska in the Stuttgart studio have had some fun playing with a CG hot air balloon. The balloon itself was originally created for another series of images but only featured in the distance. They loved the look of it so much they decided to re-purpose it as the hero in its own little story. They came up with the idea of making it appear in ordinary urban settings as if the shots were taken through a window. They wanted to create a dreamy effect where the ordinary and plausible would be combined with the uncommon and improbable.
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