(San Francisco, CA - November 2, 2005) Leading postproduction company Spy Post was recently contracted by global creative agency ATTIK to contribute their design and VFX talents to a new spot for the 2006 Scion xA.
Directed by ATTIK's co-founder and Scion account creative director Simon Needham, the spot entitled "Phantom" provides a visually compelling look at the xA, integrating a highly stylized fusion of live-action and visual effects. Spy Post coordinated visual effects from Gun Shop - which created some of the 3D animation effects - and their lead visual effects supervisor, Alaina Goetz. The spot debuted nationwide on October 31st.
Cut by Mad River Post's Bob Jenkins to a custom track created by Tony Shimkin at Face The Music, the spot incorporates an impressive array of lighting and particle line effects to accentuate the contours and features of the xA. The opening xA logo animation transitions into one of the car's spinning wheels. Flashing strobe lights and jump cuts then highlight the car's exterior styling from various angles filmed in-studio, followed by a driving sequence of the xA cruising through a tunnel. A close-up of the Scion badge on the front grille spins and morphs into the steering wheel, segueing into interior shots of the dash - including the stereo with changing lights and the iPOD plug-in feature - as well as its unique, customizable shift knob and race-inspired sport pedals. The final part of the spot employs rapid transition effects, which highlight exterior design features of the xA along with driving footage. As it comes to rest in the studio with flares and lights that flash in sync with the music, the spot ends with the animated Scion logo and the tagline, "what moves you."
Goetz, who also served as the spot's lead compositor and designer for Spy Post, worked closely with Needham to execute his ideas. Goetz conducted extensive research on lighting effects using various sparks in Flame to create artificial lens flares, as well as custom designed 3D particle line animation to match references supplied by the director. To complement Goetz's efforts, Stacy Nimmo provided additional 2D using After Effects.
"Without the hard work and attention to detail that Spy Post committed to this project, as well as the creative talents that Alaina brought to the table, we wouldn't have achieved such a high quality end result," Needham commented.
"The challenge with this project was to create a unique look that hadn't been done before," explained Goetz. "We needed to make the car animate and behave in a different way, which is why we used the pops and flashes. We used a variety of techniques to execute the lighting and flares so it was important for the graphic elements to be integrated into the live-action footage."
Goetz provided on-set VFX supervision for the three-day shoot in Vancouver, which involved two DPs working simultaneously with three cameras. On location, a sawed-off car was filmed for interior shots and then matched into the footage as a composite. A Russian Arm rig was used for the live-action shoot in the tunnel and several lighting rigs were utilized in the studio.
The xA opening logo animation and the sequence of the camera moving around the gearshift were designed and animated in 3D in Maya using a pre-existing 3D model of the gearshift. For the particle line effects that track with the car, a 3D model of the xA was used to match the position and perspective of the lines that were composited into the scene in Flame. Flame was also used for lighting enhancement, cleanup, rig removal and stabilization of the live-action car footage shot in the tunnel.
The compositing work was done in tandem with telecine at Spy Post with colorist Chris Martin, which enabled the director and the client to easily transfer individual shots in different ways throughout the course of the project. It also gave the client the ability to grab different color and lighting passes instantaneously for compositing.
Along with :30 and :20 versions of the finished spot for broadcast, Spy Post also finished a :60 version for cinematic release, which is due out by year's end.
"I've worked with Attik before so we had already established a good working relationship," concludes Goetz. "Simon was very hands-on in the process and we expanded upon the concept as we moved along the process. We utilized numerous visual references and bounced ideas off of each other. The creative process was extremely open and enjoyable."
Spot Title/Airdate: "Phantom":30 and :20/Oct. 31, 2005; "Phantom" :60/Dec. 21, 2005
Ad Agency: ATTIK/San Francisco, CA
Creative Director: Simon Needham
Production Company: Millennium Pictures/Santa Monica, CA
Director: Simon Needham
DP: Daniel Ardilley
Executive Producer: Jeanne Mattiussi
Line Producer: Tony Mosa
Editorial Company: Mad River Post/San Francisco, CA
Editor: Bob Jenkins
VFX Company: Spy Post/San Francisco, CA
Designer/Lead Compositor: Alaina Goetz
Maya 3D/After Effects Artist: Stacy Nimmo
Producer: Lori Joseph
Postproduction Company: Spy Post/San Francisco, CA
Colorist: Chris Martin
Online Editor: Alaina Goetz
Music Company: Face The Music/Santa Monica, CA
Composer: Tony Shimkin
Executive Producer: Mishawn Williams
Sound Design Company: Face The Music/Santa Monica, CA
Sound Designer: Michael Schmidt
Audio Post Company: Eleven Sound/Santa Monica, CA
Mixer: Jeff Fuller
Spy Post is located at 577 2nd Street, Suite 103, San Francisco, CA 94107
T: 415.621.7791. F: 415.621.7792