Mercedes Benz with Nadav Kander

On Location: Mercedes E-Class with Nadav Kander

The Mercedes E-Class with Nadav Kander for Antoni  – a fascinating project creating an extraordinary car campaign. Strong lines, clear colours and striking textures combine with abstract architecture, surreal volcanic landscapes and of course the sleek refined lines of the flagship convertible.

The concepts contained angular modern architectural elements, contrasting beautifully with rough organic texture of the volcanic rock. Initially the idea was to have a modular set built that could be moved around the platform. However, this had a number of logistical and timing difficulties and so our Berlin team offered to create the elements in CGI instead. We were able to work directly with the art director in the studio to experiment with the utmost flexibility. In this way, we could perfect the shape and angles to match the layouts perfectly before the shoot began, whilst adhering to Nadav Kander’s input of keeping everything as simple as possible.

Testing the layouts and trialling different options:

Scene overview in CGI

 

With the angles confirmed, the shoot began.

Fresh from his fascinating portrait of Donald Trump for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year cover, the Nadav Kander flew to Lanzarote to shoot backplates and HDR spheres.

Scouting for the perfect locations for HDR spheres in the volcanic island landscapes:

shooting an example HDR Sphere from Lanzarote

After Lanzarote, we took more backplates at this spectacular location on the Spanish coast. This was the view from the infinity pool – if you squint, you can just see Africa.

The crew assemble…

Only the topmost graduates of The Handsome Boy Modelling School can throw a towel off and jump in the pool with such verve and élan…

Perfect dive!

perfect dive

Our own modelling efforts are less professional.

Still, everyone looks better with a giant yellow head. You can just see the base of the cherrypicker beside the pool, to take the shot from a direct birds-eye view.

High up above in the cherrypicker

Up in the sky for the perfect angle

 

The Recom poolside cabana is fully equipped! Processing and checking everything will fit together perfectly.

As the car was top secret at the time,  it couldn’t be photographed on location, and was shot at a secret platform on a closed set with high security.  We lived for a few days in a gilded cage, not leaving the hotel with its three shooting platforms.

This was our work view for the week! We have to confess we much preferred the pool….

Super Secret Location

Once the car and backplates were safely captured, we began work on putting together the images. We set the car seamlessly in the volcanic landscapes, and refined the textures and shapes of the CGI architecture.

The results form a uniquely stylish car campaign – Check out the rest of this elegant series on our site.

Mercedes with Nadav Kander

Credits:

Client: Mercedes
Agency: Antoni
Photographer: Nadav Kander
Creative Director: Tillmann Gossner
Art Director: Patricia Scheder
Art Buyer: Valerie Opitz
Production: Seaquist
Representation: Olivia Gideon Thompson at We Folk
CGI Artists: Sebastian Schierwater / Recom Berlin
Post Artists: Jonathan Clarke, Jonas Disch, Stephanie O’Connor, Jonas Braukmann / Recom Berlin

BMW with Andreas Hempel

BMW i3S with Andreas Hempel – On Location

The i3S is the sportier brother of BMW’s electric compact car. For the launch, BMW wanted a strong real-life feeling – as if passers by had taken some snapshots.

Shot over eight days in the streets of San Francisco, Andreas Hempel used natural light in urban situations, using a current model as a stand-in.

With the plan being to use as much natural light as possible, the preparation day started out rather worryingly…

BMW i3S - Recom Farmhouse On Set with Andreas Hempel

However the next morning was much improved and the team assembles for the first shot:

BMW i3S - Recom Farmhouse On Set with Andreas Hempel

Timelapse of setting up for the shot:

Lunch break, San Francisco style

BMW i3S - Recom Farmhouse On Set with Andreas Hempel

As each first day’s shooting is complete, with on-set support from our Stuttgart team, we prepare to work our magic!

Work begins…

BMW i3S - Recom Farmhouse On Set with Andreas Hempel

Reference photos for wheel reflections.

BMW i3S - Recom Farmhouse On Set with Andreas Hempel

More high-speed work

Getting on the the low down for the perfect angle…

BMW_i3s - Recom with Andreas_Hempel - Behind the Scenes I  BMW_i3s - Recom with Andreas_Hempel - Behind the Scenes 3

A complex setup to capture a spontaneous moment…

BMW_i3s - Recom with Andreas_Hempel - Behind the Scenes 5

Setting up the shot, preparing for the moment when the light is at the perfect angle

BMW i3S - Recom Farmhouse On Set with Andreas Hempel

And – there it is! We swapped in almost the entire front plus a few other distinctive parts of the new model in CGI, and intensified the dark, shadowy look. See the full series on our site here

Client: BMW
Agency: Serviceplan
Photographer: Andreas Hempel
Creative Directors: Jan Grothklags, Falk Pegelow, Mark Räke
Art Director: Christine Behrendt
CGI Artist: Andreas A. Maurer / Recom Farmhouse
Post Artists: Jonas Disch, Laura Kißner / Recom Farmhouse

Recom Fearhouse 1

Halloween: Behind the Scenes of Recom Fearhouse

Inspired by the 80s horror movies we love, and particularly by The Evil Dead, we decided it was time for us to star in our own Night of Terror. Of course we’ll need the right vintage of car, complete with wood-effect side panels.

Image one: The Axeman
Join us as we willingly enter our own world of fear in the Making-of video!

Now we’ll drive together from our small-town American home to a cabin in the woods…what could possibly go wrong?

Image 2: The Cabin
We built our movie-inspired sets in CGI using Maya. We were striving for a cinematic feel to the scene, so the environment is all-important – it becomes a character in the story that we’re telling.

Recom Fearhouse - Cabin CGI 1

With the layout of the shot decided, we added textures, and began work on the lighting.

Recom Fearhouse - Cabin CGI 4

For lighting direction we found a lot of inspiration from the photographer Gregory Crewdson. The exquisite lighting of his elaborately staged photographs, many of them taken at night, create a mood that connects the viewer to the story he is trying to tell.

We lit and rendered the scene in Vray and rendered volumetric fog for the desired atmospheric effect.

Recom Fearhouse - Cabin CGI 6

With final adjustments in Photoshop, the scene is set.

Recom Fearhouse: Cabin in the woods

What will happen to us here? Will we stay together, sensibly turning our finely tuned monitors into security cameras, and using our Wacom styluses to defend ourselves? Or will we inevitably become separated in the forest? …Stay tuned….

Aaaand….Credits:

Recom Fearhouse Credits

Hublot Lang Lang finished scene

Hublot with Sandro Baebler

Swiss luxury watch brand Hublot assigned Sandro Baebler to shoot a portrait of one of their ambassadors, Chinese superstar pianist Lang Lang.

Sandro’s portrait session had unforgettable musical accompaniment, which can also be seen on his Facebook page here.

After his work with the musician in a studio the photographer asked us to add a specific Manhattan skyline view as a background.

Sandro suggested the perfect place – a rooftop bar with spectacular views. Our New York team organised the permit and set out to shoot the night time scene. As the location did not allow the use of tripods we had to shoot at a high ISO setting, but by stitching together many exposures we were able to make a handheld ultra high resolution panorama.

The initial stitched panorama:

Hublot Lang Lang source panorama

Our studio in London created the piano, room elements and flooring in CGI and merged them skilfully and seamlessly with the panorama and the portrait to create an atmospheric night-time cityscape.

See how the image was built up in the Making-Of video here:

The final campaign image with added product photography, as used on billboards and in magazines worldwide.

Hublot Lang Lang advert

See the final result on our site here.

Credits:
Client: Hublot
Photographer: Sandro Baebler

CGI Artist: Adam Jones / Recom Farmhouse
Post Artist: Maria Luisa Calosso / Recom Farmhouse

Recom Farmhouse is on InstagramFacebook and Twitter!

More work at recomfarmhouse.com

Stuff we Love – unconventional landscapes.

Here are three photographers whose landscape work we’ve enjoyed recently for its originality and unusual approach…

Arito Nishiki

Arito Nishiki

In Northern Japan, Arito Nishiki photographs the wild weather on this ever-changing coast, capturing the vivid movement and the winter darkness. This series is named after a village that slipped into the sea due to the relentless erosion from the force of nature.  Immerse yourself in his world here.


Martin Venezky and Barbara Levine: Horizon

Martin Venezky and Barbara Levine

Martin Venezky and Barbara Levine

A beautifully balanced collage concept, perfectly executed to give a time-spanning cinematic appeal, both with their stuttering zoetrope construction and flashes of vintage film colour. More of these atmospheric visual vignettes here, and a fascinating insight into their creation.


Toshio Shibata

Toshio Shibata

Toshio Shibata

A considered approach that produces quietly and beautifully detailed images of landscape – especially water – and the infrastructure that contains and guides it.

“Infrastructure….can be found anywhere and addressed at any time – a silent object that allows for one-sided interpretation”.

Take in his pictures of unstoppable forces and immovable objects here and look over his gorgeous catalogue of published work here.

Mercedes billboard

Grow Up Campaign for Mercedes Benz with Alice Moitié – In Context

Grow Up” is the most extensive content creation in Mercedes-Benz’s history.  Produced by Antoni, it’s a groundbreaking campaign centred around five short films. With young stars like rapper A$AP Rocky, the films tell a story that completely revolutionises the image of Mercedes-Benz, with the car becoming a natural ally for millennials in their journey to adulthood.

“Our competition isn’t ads, they’re real films, real TV shows. Stealing four minutes from the time people would be watching their favourite show on Netflix is a tall order, so we tried to be honest with ourselves with what people might actually be interested in.”  – Veit Moller, Creative Director (LBB editorial interview) 

For the accompanying stills, we worked closely with CD Veit Moeller and young photographer Alice Moitié  – printing and re-scanning, adding grain to create a strongly analogue film look, with CGI elements helping with the practical aspects of a worldwide campaign.

Flipping through the print catalogue:
 


 

The campaign’s media locations are as bold and eyecatching as the rest of the execution, with colossal end-of-wall murals featuring single shots montages from the campaign, and big bold statement cubes in high traffic areas.

 

 

The shots were also a big success across digital media, showcased on the innovative website and shared widely on social networks.

Ipad Mercedes

The campaign has drawn wide praise for its radical approach

“Mercedes-Benz’s Most Ambitious Marketing Project Yet Is All About What It Means to Grow Up Tackling the evolution of luxury … and, well, life” – Adweek (Ad of the Day) 

“Mercedes-Benz’s Biggest Content Campaign to Date May Make You Think Really Deeply About Your Life”- Ad Age (Editor’s Pick – Creativity) 

“It’s hard to make a good car ad these days. Audiences are bored of the slick fare they are usually offered, and yet most clients still really, really want that shot of the beautiful new vehicle driving around the cliff edge. In this new set of films, those scenic shots are there …nestled in among a set of stories that are intriguing, and at times a little darn bleak….These new films make a welcome addition to the car-ad-as-short-film genre and sure beat the average shiny car spot.” – Creative Review

Also featured by Hypebeast, Campaign and High Snobiety.

Client: Mercedes Benz
Agency: Antoni
Creative Director: Veit Moeller
Photographer: Alice Moitié
Post Artists: Jonas Braukmann, Thomas Saalfrank, Julia Ackermann, Daniel Mattes, June Lee, Stephanie O’Connor / Recom Farmhouse
Art Buyers: Emanuel Mugrauer, Valerie Opitz, Marjorie Jorrot
Production: Iconoclast Germany

See our selection of the campaign images on recomfarmhouse.com

Mercedes - Grow Up wit hAlice Moitié

Victimhood with Jonas Lord

It’s always one of our favourite experiences when someone turns up out of the blue with a really extraordinary project for us to work on – makes our mouse hands itch to start!  – and this series, inspired by Dutch and Flemish paintings, was a truly inspiring collaboration.

Jonas Lord explores the culture of victimhood in various metaphorical visuals with staged surreal scenarios. Post Artists Pepê Alram and Maria Calosso at our London studio helped Jonas with the series – this was a great combination, with the team working very smoothly together in a real synchrony of vision and ideas.

Jonas describes the series in his artist statement below:

“The series begins with an image of baby tigers – the symbol of the east – on a chopping board about to be consumed by rapid westernisation”

Photographer: Jonas Lord Post Artist: Pepe Alram, Maria Luisa Calosso

“It then speeds up with an image of a woman’s body devoured by wolves on a dinner table speaking about consumerist scrutiny of the female form in our culture.”

Photographer: Jonas Lord Post Artist: Pepe Alram, Maria Luisa Calosso

“In one of the photos, a tied up woman is calmly staring at the camera–she’s chosen to be in the position of an objectified woman. It’s not to victim blame but to comment on how society grooms certain people to consciously take part in their own victimisation.

We desperately snap Instagram pictures of ourselves from the best angles in hopes to be admired which ties us up to the desperate daily dose of admiration.

In this photo, the men are also reduced to faceless stereotypes who turn into animals as they step on the chess board.”

Photographer: Jonas Lord Post Artist: Pepe Alram, Maria Luisa Calosso

See how this image came together from the elements of its composition in this quick “Making of” video:

 

“We desperately try to adhere to whatever beauty standards are on trend,  which I explored in the pic with two teenage girls awkwardly posing while shaving their body hair. I juxtaposed them with sheep in the foreground the inspiration for which came from a feminist protest in 1969 where protesters dressed up a sheep as Miss America.”

Photographer: Jonas Lord Post Artist: Pepe Alram, Maria Luisa Calosso

Do retouchers dream of electric sheep? How we did it…

 

“Through these visual metaphors I was looking for ways to explore the manifold nature of victimhood. Do we choose to be victims? Are we groomed to be victims?”

Photographer: Jonas Lord Post Artist: Pepe Alram, Maria Luisa Calosso

We’re delighted that Jonas Lord approached us with his fascinating series and we’re stoked to work with this amazing new talent.

Credits:

Photographer: Jonas Lord
Post Artists: Pepê Alram, Maria Luisa Calosso, Kate Brown / Recom Farmhouse

Victimhood on recomfarmhouse.com

Photographer: Nick Meek CGI Artists: Kristian Turner Post Artist: Maria Luisa Calosso

Tokyo Maserati Bora with Nick Meek

Our friend Nick Meek approached our London team with this evocative night shot from Tokyo.

Tokyo Night Garage - Nick Meek

He took it a while ago and always loved it, but kept feeling it needed something extra. He began to wonder what it would look like if the rolling gate was opened  – just enough to reveal something special.

Researching vintage cars, he found an unusual and elegant 1970s supercar with a plum paint and golden trim to the scene, and asked us if we could add it to the scene.

Excited about this extraordinary request we reached into our magic bag of CGI tricks, lifted the  door and settled on parking this sweet Maserati Bora inside the garage. See the process in the video here:

After a successful collaboration process, we’re all happy with the atmospheric result.

Photographer: Nick Meek CGI Artists: Kristian Turner Post Artist: Maria Luisa Calosso

 

Red Car, Red Room

We were so happy with how the Maserati turned out that we wanted to work with it some more. A CGI group challenge, themed on “Red Car, Red Room” was the perfect place to take the car out of the garage and reveal it in all its glory. Take a closer look at the exotic and gorgeous Maserati Bora in detail here.

Maserati Bora CGI

Crop detail of the gold trim:

Maserati Bora CGI (crop)

 

Software:
Autodesk Maya
Chaos Group V-Ray
Adobe Photoshop

Credits: Tokyo Garage
Photographer: Nick Meek
CGI Artist: Kristian Turner / Recom Farmhouse
Post Artist: Maria Luisa Calosso, Kate Brown / Recom Farmhouse

Credits: Red Car Red Room
CGI Artist: Kristian Turner / Recom Farmhouse
Post Artist: Pêpe Alram / Recom Farmhouse

100% – Porsche Panamera

We relished the challenge of creating this CGI Porsche Panamera in the rain for a campaign from Kemper Kommmunikation with photographer Erik Chmil.

Here’s a look into how we made it. There’s a selection of 100% crops to zoom in on the details, and a video where you can feast your eyes on the perfectly rendered raindrops on the CGI Porsche.

We used Autodesk VRED to make the car. This execution, with its intricate raindrops, was particularly interesting. The finished image (above) is packed with finely observed details.

As always, the CGI process is grounded in observations of reality. CGI artist Ivo Stanev spent time studying the interaction between the raindrops and the surface of the car. The water acts like hundreds of tiny lenses and we found the best way to light them was to use high resolution HDRI spheres.

crop4_lights

Due to their hemisphere shape, formed as the round drops hit a flat surface, the raindrops catch light from the many sources in a night scene like this- street lamps, headlights, windows and so on.  This is what makes them sparkle.

crop2_lights

Mapping techniques:
To do this, we used high-resolution rain textures with displacement mapping. However, because we wanted to be flexible it was important to react quickly to changes, so we used both triplanar and UV mapping (the process of projecting a 2D image to a 3D model’s surface for texture mapping )

Working with triplanar mapping gives us flexibility because we can easily change the form of the raindrops,  especially as the CGI modelled Porsche has High Density Geometry. A good example is the windshield, where UV mapping allowed is to model windscreen wipers with a specific movement. For the rest of the car we used triplanar mapping for flexibility.

It was important for us to show the effect of the wind, changing the shape of the raindrops as they move along the surface of the car’s body.

crop1_roof

Also some elements are not as simple to add as you might imagine! We wanted moving, blurred windscreen wipers of course…so we carefully painted where and how the raindrops moved, depending on the motion of the windscreen wipers.

crop1_screen

The rendering took a lot of time as well – we used full Global Illumination with a lot of samples…and of course only one HDRI sphere wasn’t enough, so we had to use two or three of them.

We are really pleased with the end result – the painstaking work paid off beautifully.

16-09_2015_porsche-aviator_mot33b_07a_korn

Fly though the details in our video here…

Client: Porsche
Agency: Kemper Kommmunikation
Photographer: Erik Chmil
Creative Director: Nadine Kubis
Post-Artist: Thomas Fritz / Recom Stuttgart
CGI Artist: Eugen Albrandt / Recom Stuttgart
CGI Artist: Ivo Stanev / Recom Stuttgart

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.