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Spain's ImasBlue Goes from the Usual to the Exceptional with Estrella Damm and DaVinci Resolve

There's no denying that the summer season brings waves of both heat and nostalgia. An irrefutable eagerness to experience the outdoors with friends and family, accompanied with cooking, playing and reminiscing of a summer love that's come and gone.

Whatever the hindsight, or occasion, what's a summertime get together without cold beers and quality food?

Estrella Damm is one of Spain's most popular beers, and like other global and national beer giants, they coincide each summer awakening with the launch of a fresh marketing campaign. For this year's campaign, called "La Campana del Verano," Estrella Damm teamed up with chef Ferran AdriÓ and his Michelin three star restaurant El Bulli in Catalonia, Spain. As a tribute to the restaurant's final season, they created their own summer nostalgia while playing on Estrella's tagline, "Usual things are sometimes exceptional."

 

Villarrosas, Estrella Damm's agency, chose ImasBlue to fuel the creative process of "La Campana del Verano."  One of the largest post production companies in Spain, ImasBlue had formed just months earlier as the result of the merger of post houses Molinare and Infinia. With offices in both Barcelona and Madrid, ImasBlue specializes in picture and sound for commercials, film and television. Their services span everything from color correction and image and sound editing, to VFX, motion graphics and sound design. Recent projects at ImasBlue include commercials for CocaCola, Volkswagen, and Audi, as well as "Road to Nowhere," an indie romance thriller directed by Monte Hellman.

Manuel Artola is the director of post production at ImasBlue. He supervises all of the projects, as well as the general workflow of their post production house. Prior to the merger, Artola played an integral role at the former Infinia, working primarily on films like Juan Antonio Bayona's successful Spanish/Mexican horror film "The Orphanage."

For "La Campana del Verano," Artola worked alongside esteemed Catalan commercial director Isabel Coixel. "Estrella Damm's agency Villarrosas came to us with a specific idea - they wanted to develop a long commercial spot with a cinematic tone," said Artola.  "A commercial that could be cut down, however it needed to tell a story... if played in its entirely, it could also very well be a short film."  Together with Coixel and the agency, Artola drove the post production process with a goal to make a commercial that could be a movie in HD format.

With the help of DaVinci Resolve, ImasBlue post team and the commercial's director, Coixel, were able to successfully craft the cinematic story of a young chef reminiscing of his savory summer memories at ElBulli. His visions show him relaxing with friends, learning to cook, and finding love (while enjoying the occasional Estrella Damm, of course).

The Brewing Begins

With an early summer 2011 launch date, the shoot for "La Campana del Verano" took place between May 19 and June 8, 2011. The commercial was filmed in HD on-site at ElBulli in Catalonia, and in the region of Costa Brava. Artola and Coixel's team of 70 people utilized two RED One cameras, an ARRI Alexa and a Canon 5D Mark II at 25 and 100 frames per second. The footage was cut over the course of 22 days using Final Cut Pro.

To mold an authentic storyline, the actors filmed alongside ElBulli's actual culinary students, and were "instructed" by ElBulli's very own chef, Ferran AdriÓ. "Filming at ElBulli with AdriÓ made the story more authentic," Artola said. "The nature scenes looked fantastic, especially after we started the color grading process."

For coloring and finishing, Artola worked with two colorists, Jordi Murillo and Moncho, who worked at Infinia before the merger. Moncho in particular had the opportunity to grade an assortment of commercials and films while employed at the former Infinia, including projects for their Audi, BMW and Volkswagen accounts.

For "La Campana del Verano," Moncho's Resolve was installed on a Linux system, which was accompanied by an Impresario Control Panel.

To effectively construct the cinematic tone for "La Campana del Verano," Moncho applied DaVinci Resolve's secondary color correction controls for curve grading, leveraging the tools to change luminance value and adjust the associated saturation.

"I really love using Custom Curves for luminance," Moncho explained. He added, "For this particular project, I was able to go in, desaturate the imagery, and fill with the color of my choice to enhance the cinematic qualities. This worked especially well for the scenes at the Balearic Islands."

Moncho is also a fan of Resolve's Gallery Display, where stills and memories are stored for referencing, or recalling previous grades. He comments, "The Gallery Display is always helpful, especially when you are trying to achieve a certain effect.  It gives me the option to return to the primary matrix and recover grades that are of better interest."

The campaign, finalized in June, took about 18 hours to grade/finish. Just over three minutes in length, it was broadcast throughout the summer on Antena 3, as well as other national Spanish television stations. The video is also available for viewing on the Estrella Damm website and YouTube.

Anything But Usual

The last memory of the young chef's summer at ElBulli depicts a sit down with chef AdriÓ. Together, they savor the natural flavors of Estrella Damm and share a very ordinary dish of fried eggs. The eggs receive a nod of approval from AdriÓ, a cherished culinary compliment that reinforces Estrella Damms tagline that "Usual things are sometimes exceptional."

"What could appear to be an ordinary color grading tool, can actually do extraordinary things," Artola said. 

Moncho adds, "For me, the Resolve is by far the best color corrector on the market. It's fast, agile and intuitive. Many colorists encounter image and workflow challenges and issues... Resolve gives me the tools I need to quickly enhance the image... that's something truly extraordinary."

To watch the full commercial for Estrella Damm's "La Campana del Verano," please visit http://www.estrelladamm.com/en/music/summer-2011.html


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Related Keywords:Blackmagic Design, Resolve, ImasBlue, post house, Final Cut Pro, RED One camera, ARRI Alexa, Canon 5D Mark II, video editing

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