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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J Konrad Schmidt: AV-Defekt

AV - Defekt Exhibition

In this compelling and haunting self-portrait, J. Konrad Schmidt strips away all concealment of a medical condition he has had from childhood, and uses it to make a powerfuly revealing piece of art, inviting the viewer quite literally into his head.

Go behind the scenes with us for the background, technical details, process, creative stages, close-up crops, installation and artist statement of this extraordinary project.

Project background

J. Konrad Schmidt is widely acclaimed for his sensuous female portraits, and especially for his work with unusual analogue formats and materials, such as ambrotypes.

He approached us about a collaboration for an upcoming exhibition for the BFF – a well known network of high class photographers, based mainly in Germany. The exhibition’s theme was ‘Reduction’.

Using his concepts of beauty and analogue processes, he wanted to interpret this theme of ‘Reduction’ in a wholly unexpected and very personal direction, questioning these ideas of elegance and perfection by the use of his own facial structure in the work.

“The picture reduces me to my illness… created from parts of my x-rays, which were made in the deep sleep of anaesthesia.”

Since he was born, he has had a medical condition that haunted him, a vascular disease that affects his left ear and cheek, in which the blood vessels grow uncontrollably.

It has an effect on his public persona – in most portraits for interviews, or videos, you’ll notice he sits with his right ear to the camera.

This full face portrait was made specifically for this project.

J Konrad Schmidt portrait

Because of his disease, he has to go to the hospital at regular intervals. Since there’s only one hospital in Germany that performs these treatments, the place and the doctors have become a part of his life. He is always under full anaesthetic for the procedure, and the entire process is recorded with X-rays.

Using these X-rays, he wanted to rebuild his face for this project.

“I am contradictory to my disability. Now I am the error in the system. The devil’s civilian. Resilient, eloquent and radical with itself.

Before the fall of the Berlin wall, my worried mother took me from doctor to doctor in Eastern Germany. After the Unification, across the united republic. At the age of 10, I began an endless tour through cold operating rooms at the Klinikum Benjamin Franklin in Berlin-Steglitz.
This is why I am showing this work under this title now in this city.
Together with Recom Berlin, I used digital image manipulation for a truer purpose – to create a striking image, not to strike an image by manipulating it.”


The process

• Mood Boards

We collaborated together on moodboards to begin work on the overall feel of the piece.

Moodboards

•Technical details

Getting hold of the images was a tricky process. The X-rays were in a medical format, JiveX, embedded into a .exe file, burned on a CD.

It’s intended only for the use of doctors, so the controls are designed for their needs. Dragging the mouse up and down and right to left gives you basic contrast and brightness functions. Despite (or perhaps because of) this unadorned functionality, the output and interface has its own aesthetic interest.

Output 3c

The only exportable file format is a PDF. So that’s what we did. Each of those thirty-three PDFs had between four and forty-four pages.

So often, there’s something new to discover in every project : – )

“You can’t open more than 400 documents in Photoshop. I didn’t know that, and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen this message.” Jonas Braukmann, Recom Berlin

400 documents warning

This video shows all pages from all pdfs exported into PSDs via a script, giving us four hundred and four images to work with.

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Cycling through all the exported files, this video shows clearly the progress of the injected X-ray viewing agent is injected, as it spreads into all the vessels that have grown out of control.

[vimeo 202090885 w=640 h=400]


• Stages in creation of the image

We talked a lot on the phone, about the moodboards and what we had in mind, and this was the first draft, to see if the idea could work.
Version 1:

AV-Defekt version 1

We were both immediately very happy with the first draft, but wanted to try further explorations of the idea. We decided to enhance his characteristics…the hairline, strong eyebrows and his ear and cheek.

Version 2:

AV-Defekt version 2

We also tried a more dimensional version, incorporating more of the portrait.
Version 3:

AV-Defekt version 3

Konrad liked the initial draft best, and was thinking about what what should come next, showing it to friends and family. Meanwhile, we made  made a rawer version, by stripping away all the hair details.

Version 4:

AV-Defekt version 4

We ended up using the very first version – sometimes things just fall into place straight way.

The first version already told the story, and showed what we wanted to show.
Everything in this version is made from the X-rays, stratified and superimposed to create Konrad’s face, emerging from these medical records.  Only the light in his pupils is from a photograph.


Final image

AV-Defekt version 5 - final

Close-up crops.

We included some lines and technical artefacts from the original X-ray files, to preserve a reference to their origin – a contrast to the soft and convoluted organic forms with their precision and linearity.

AV-Defekt crop 1

The probing intrusion of the injection shows clearly, too – this is what enables the doctors to see inside Konrad’s head.

AV-Defekt crop 2

Detail of the pupil highlight, the only part which isn’t shaped from the X-rays

AV-Defekt crop 3

 


Installation:

We scoured Ebay for a lightbox of the right size and appearance, to keep the reference to X-ray transparency display – a feeling of faintly institutional immediacy, as if you yourself were looking at them held up in a doctor’s surgery. The doctors who provided the material for the project found it fascinating to see.
The final presentation was at the Reduction exhibition in Berlin, part of European Month of Photography.

J Konrad Schmidt, Reduction Exhibition
J Konrad Schmidt, Reduction Exhibition
AV - Defekt Exhibition

Artist Statement

These, like all the quotes here, are extracts from a translation of the text which is  printed and displayed beside the transparency. The full text in German is available on J Konrad Schmidt’s site here.

“Reducing people to their disease – no matter what kind – is discrimination. …With me, people dare to say:

“I have to ask you something?”
“No, you do not! Because I know the question already! ”
– And then: Totally surprised faces …
If total strangers would simply say nothing, it would help a lot. Then I would not have to speak out here. So you beloved anonymous Philanthropists out there – this is for you”

Credits: Retouching: Jonas Braukmann, Recom Berlin
Photography and Art Direction: J Konrad Schmidt
Exhibition photographs: Matthias Krüger

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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1511_150407_MTR Aventador
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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.

Moodboard 2 - Materials

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.

Aventador16_12_KTT

 

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

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 our first project 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.

MakingOf_The_Durrells

And this is the mouse shot for the ad…so cute, we couldn’t resist from showing how posey he was!

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Below are the family portraits . . . with photobombing animals!

 

 

CREDITS

Client: ITV
Creative Director: Anton Ezer
Photographer: Jean-Yves Lemoigne
Production: Making Pictures
Post Artist: Kate Brown / Recom Farmhouse

Making of : Full CGI landscape for Audi Quattro

This is the biggest international 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

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.

 

Client: Audi Agency: Kolle Rebbe Creative Director: Jörg Dittmann Art Director: Benjamin Allwardt Project Manager: Amelie Pamp Art Buyer: Katja Sluyter Post Production Project Manager : Lars Wittmark CGI Directors: Christoph Bolten and Jonas Braukmann / Recom Farmhouse CGI Lead Artist: Kristian Turner / Recom Farmhouse CGI Artists: Richard Jenkinson, Florian Einfalt, Dariusz Makowski, Christian Schemer / Recom Farmhouse Post Artists: Pepê Alram, Kate Brown, Nele Ebner and Jonas Braukmann / Recom Farmhouse

Audi Quattro Winter Campaign

Client: Audi Agency: Kolle Rebbe Creative Director: Jörg Dittmann Art Director: Benjamin Allwardt Project Manager: Amelie Pamp Art Buyer: Katja Sluyter Post Production Project Manager : Lars Wittmark CGI Directors: Christoph Bolten and Jonas Braukmann / Recom Farmhouse CGI Lead Artist: Kristian Turner / Recom Farmhouse CGI Artists: Richard Jenkinson, Florian Einfalt, Dariusz Makowski, Christian Schemer / Recom Farmhouse Post Artists: Pepê Alram, Kate Brown, Nele Ebner and Jonas Braukmann / Recom Farmhouse

Audi Quattro Winter Campaign

 

Our CGI artists started with a simplified geometry of the spiral. Once the basic shape was achieved, this could then be sculpted in detail. In the meantime other artists were generating and rendering trees and moss.

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Simplified geometry to create the spiral landscape

A small team went to Poland another one went to Chamonix in France where thanks to our friends Nick and Martha, we found the perfect locations to photograph and scan cliffs and rocks with a drone.

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First 3D result of scanned rock

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First 3D result of scanned rock

Terrain Geometry

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CGI Trees

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Audi Quattro Winter Campaign

Client: Audi Agency: Kolle Rebbe Creative Director: Jörg Dittmann Art Director: Benjamin Allwardt Project Manager: Amelie Pamp Art Buyer: Katja Sluyter Post Production Project Manager : Lars Wittmark CGI Directors: Christoph Bolten and Jonas Braukmann / Recom Farmhouse CGI Lead Artist: Kristian Turner / Recom Farmhouse CGI Artists: Richard Jenkinson, Florian Einfalt, Dariusz Makowski, Christian Schemer / Recom Farmhouse Post Artists: Pepê Alram, Kate Brown, Nele Ebner and Jonas Braukmann / Recom Farmhouse

Audi Quattro Winter Campaign (detail)

Client: Audi Agency: Kolle Rebbe Creative Director: Jörg Dittmann Art Director: Benjamin Allwardt Project Manager: Amelie Pamp Art Buyer: Katja Sluyter Post Production Project Manager : Lars Wittmark CGI Directors: Christoph Bolten and Jonas Braukmann / Recom Farmhouse CGI Lead Artist: Kristian Turner / Recom Farmhouse CGI Artists: Richard Jenkinson, Florian Einfalt, Dariusz Makowski, Christian Schemer / Recom Farmhouse Post Artists: Pepê Alram, Kate Brown, Nele Ebner and Jonas Braukmann / Recom Farmhouse

Audi Quattro Winter Campaign (detail)

 

It has been a lot of intense work to produce all the visuals for this campaign, but nonetheless an amazing collaboration with the creatives at Kolle Rebbe! . . .  and the campaign is everywhere!

Client: Audi Agency: Kolle Rebbe Creative Director: Jörg Dittmann Art Director: Benjamin Allwardt Project Manager: Amelie Pamp Art Buyer: Katja Sluyter Post Production Project Manager : Lars Wittmark CGI Directors: Christoph Bolten and Jonas Braukmann / Recom Farmhouse CGI Lead Artist: Kristian Turner / Recom Farmhouse CGI Artists: Richard Jenkinson, Florian Einfalt, Dariusz Makowski, Christian Schemer / Recom Farmhouse Post Artists: Pepê Alram, Kate Brown, Nele Ebner and Jonas Braukmann / Recom Farmhouse
Audi_RFH-3

 

CREDITS:

Client: Audi
Agency: Kolle Rebbe
Creative Director: Jörg Dittmann
Art Director: Benjamin Allwardt and Marcus Kubicke
Project Manager: Amelie Pamp
Art Buyer: Katja Sluyter
Post Production Project Manager : Lars Wittmaak / Recom Stuttgart
CGI Directors: Christoph Bolten / Recom Farmhouse London and Jonas Braukmann / Recom Berlin
CGI Lead Artist: Kristian Turner / Recom Farmhouse London
CGI Artists: Richard Jenkinson / Recom Berlin; Florian Einfalt and Dariusz Makowski / Recom Farmhouse London; Ivo Stanev / Recom Stuttgart
Post Artists: Pepê Alram and Kate Brown / Recom Farmhouse London; Christian Schemer and Nele Ebner / Recom Stuttgart; Jonas Braukmann / Recom Berlin

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.

Photography and Concept: Alessandra Kila

Styling Assistant: Francesca Oletti

Post Artist: Pepe Alram, Kate Brown / Recom Farmhouse
Photography and Concept: Alessandra Kila

Styling Assistant: Francesca Oletti

Post Artist: Pepe Alram, Kate Brown / Recom Farmhouse
Photography and Concept: Alessandra Kila

Styling Assistant: Francesca Oletti

Post Artist: Pepe Alram, Kate Brown / Recom Farmhouse

Below you can find the making-of of one of the images together with some snaps from Alessandra’s studio.

 

 

 

CREDITS:

Concept and Photography: Alessandra Kila
Styling Assistant: Francesca Oletti
Retouching: Pepe Alram, Kate Brown / Recom Farmhouse

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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