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Framestore CFC Works Audi A6 Spot

(June 10, 2004)

'Illusions', a new spot for the Audi A6, is worth a second glance. Or two. Indeed, the more times you see 'Illusions', the more the sophisticated visual trickery concealed beneath its serene surface becomes apparent.

The spot features an Audi A6 traversing a cityscape that seems at first to be quite normal mundane, even. But gradually the eye tunes in to the strangeness warps and transformations of the streets and buildings that create impossible paths and spaces, optical puzzles that challenge the eye and the mind.

Maze before

Shot in Sao Paulo, the 40-second spot was conceived by Dean Wei and Joseph Ernst at BBH, and directed by Anthony Atanasio for Amarillo Films. With Framestore CFC's help, they have created a series of brilliant and audacious visual conundrums, based around M.C. Escher's famously baffling art.

Maze after

Framestore CFC's VFX Supervisor, Ben Cronin, is keen to pay tribute to the talent that went in to the project. "You're dealing with perception, which is different for everyone. With two very smart creatives and a brilliant director involved, there was plenty of scope for discussion."

Of the two weeks spent in Sao Paulo, the first was taken up with location scouting and the meticulous planning and groundwork necessary for the creation of the shots. "I'd already been down to the South Bank," recalls Cronin, "Just to get a feel for the sort of material we were after. It was a little intimidating." Anthony Atanasio had already worked up preliminary sketches in Photoshop, and continued to come up with ideas even as they flew out to Brazil. Indeed, it was an in-flight magazine image of Sao Paulo's Pacaembu Stadium that gave him the location for the spot's closing shots and final illusion.

Despite the predictable unpredictability of life on location the torrential rainstorm that interrupted the shoot every day between 4pm and 6pm, for instance the team's careful planning paid off, and Cronin was able to bring back all the elements he needed for an intense three weeks of Inferno work. 

Cronin's location work involved multiple passes with carefully calculated camera positions and lenses. The 'Maze' shot (2), whilst using a real intersection as a starting point, was actually achieved largely in an empty car park that had been carefully marked out with sandbags and tape to show the drivers where to go. The 'Stadium' shot (6) required many different passes throughout the day, to give Cronin every available lighting situation. It also features a flock of pigeons that was filmed as a separate element. Drawn together on the ground by generous distribution of birdseed, the pigeons were unwilling to fly up in a satisfactory manner until Atanasio personally stepped in and shooed them off.

Cronin worked on a Flame while in Sao Paulo, then on the Inferno back in the UK. The task Cronin and his team faced was the extremely tricky one of reconciling essentially contradictory visual information so that it appeared to be resolved. This involved at least two perspectives and, in the 'Double Bridge' shot (4), gravity working in different directions.

Additional work on the backgrounds was achieved by Stephane Allender, who also worked on Inferno with Avtar Bains. Stephanie Mills and Sharon Lock worked in Commotion on the roto splining.

Agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Creatives Dean Wei, Joseph Ernst
Creative Director Russell Ramsey
TV Producer Bradley Woodus
Production Company Amarillo Films
Director Anthony Atanasio
Producer Tom Shard

For Framestore CFC
VFX Supervisor Ben Cronin
Inferno Artists Ben Cronin, Stephane Allender, Avtar Bains
2D Sharon Lock, Stephanie Mills
Post Production Producer Lottie Cooper

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Related Keywords:Framestore CFC, Audi spot

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