JWT Atlanta, MPC NY and Raf Wathion push the boundaries of innovation in Pennzoil's new campaign

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Last Updated: May 9, 2014 4:32 am GMT
(May 9, 2014) Today Pennzoil is launching a new campaign called “Born from Natural Gas” for a first-of-its-kind motor oil made from natural gas, Pennzoil Platinum with PurePlus Technology - the first true innovation in the category in over 35 years. To debut the product, JWT Atlanta wanted to create something just as innovative as the product itself. The result is a first-of-its-kind TV commercial shot on gaseous vapor clouds. The project took almost a year to produce due to the technical and engineering side of pulling off a commercial, live in-camera, of this magnitude.



The hero spot called "Complete Protection" features a Maserati driving through a series of 3D animations projected onto moving gaseous vapor clouds. After the car collects the projected icons, it merges with a gas projected Maserati, as if the body and soul of the car are coming together and achieving complete protection.





To bring the spot to life, JWT Atlanta teamed up with MPC NY, Skunk LA and director Raf Wathion. The creation was full of challenges including synchronizing naturally forming elements and choreographing a live performance of a moving automobile, an uncontrollable vapor cloud and projected animation, all in-camera, all in a certain window of time, in a pitch black environment. The projection served as the only light source for the shoot.



The campaign, anchored by a 30-second hero spot, “Complete Protection,” also includes a 30-second fully CG “Gas to Bottle” spot directed by David Estis at MPC Creative - a stunningly beautiful visual journey through abstract particles that follows the curves forming the Pennzoil bottle. The integrated campaign will continue to roll out more ideas throughout the year under the tagline Motor oil Reimagined.




MPC NY worked hand-in-hand with Skunk Director Raf Wathion and JWT Atlanta to bring a fresh approach to showcase the Pennzoil Platinum synthetic oil in a visually new way. Inspired by the inherent innovation behind the product, JWT enlisted MPC to explore the concept of projecting 3D animation onto real vapor, tightly choreographed with live-action elements and captured in camera using motion control.

The all-new campaign, anchored by a 30-second spot, “Complete Protection,” also includes a 30-second fully CG “Gas to Bottle” spot directed by David Estis at MPC Creative - a stunningly beautiful visual journey through abstract particles that follows the curves that form the Pennzoil bottle.



Creative Director David Estis and VFX Supervisor Ashley Bernes led the MPC team at every stage of campaign creation; collaborating with Wathion through concept development, previz and into post to achieve an entirely in-camera approach. “The team at MPC has been very excited to create ‘Complete Protection’ since the first images appeared on vapor during the early live-action tests. The subtle nuances of the projected image on a real vapor cloud has a visual richness that is difficult to achieve with particle simulation, and the interaction between the car, projection, and cloud would have been next to impossible without an in-camera approach,” explains Estis.

The innovative and challenging nature of the visual approach drew on a wide range of MPC’s disciplines, with JWT, MPC and Skunk collaborating closely to explore new techniques. Executive Producer Tim Dillon notes: “We are often being brought into the equation much earlier - to develop detailed previz and define the visual techniques well before the shoot. We're now using projection and other interactive systems as part of our filmmaking toolkit.”


Go Behind The Scenes of the Pennzoil TV Commercial

Production Approach
MPC took a multi-tiered process mixing previz, test shooting, and projection to breathe life into every shot. Ahead of the shoot, MPC created CG elements which included the pistons, fuel nozzle and a completely CG Maserati Ghibli to match the live-action counterpart. A previz was created and used on set to ensure the projection and live-action car performance aligned. “During the previz, we started experimenting with camera moves, contrast levels, and different speeds,” noted Bernes. “And really, we all developed the narrative from there.”

The shoot took place over three days in Los Angeles at a vacant Firestone factory; the vast space presented a series of challenges. Due to the amount of windows, the team resolved to shoot at night to allow optimal light control. The extensive number of steel columns created another obstacle, which made precision-driving the true star of the shoot. Likewise, the scale of the space affected air currents, which meant vapor control became irrespective to test shooting, as each space presented variations.



MPC and Skunk used motion control cameras to capture dynamic, repeatable camera movement for the live-action car choreographed together with the practical vapor clouds. The camera team built a specialized bespoke rig for the projector to move alongside the Milo motion control system. The MPC team used the motion control data to align pre-rendered content with physical camera moves, allowing the animated projected content to appear at correct angles when seen on the vapor in-camera.



The vapor columns were the most difficult elements to create, but with the help of an incredibly talented special effects team, each shot was designed in a way that allowed for maximum control and quick reset times. Movable fog rigs and fans were placed in precise locations and controlled remotely to contribute to the highly complex shots. Projecting the CG animation onto vapor in the same physical location as the live-action car performance meant the lighting conditions needed to be balanced between the ambient and the powerful projectors being used for the CG content.




The footage was then brought into the compositing pipeline, where the 2D team, led by Evan Schoonmaker, enhanced the projected elements and vapor clouds, removed smoke rigging, and crafted a visually arresting transition from the live action plates to an entirely CG pack shot. The grade, completed by Colorist Mark Gethin, helped to elevate each detail and conjure a beautifully dramatic mood throughout the campaign.

Complete Protection behind the scenes video - http://bit.ly/1fVHD5a
Complete Protection spot - http://bit.ly/1i0I1mT


CREDITS
Complete Protection


Pennzoil TV Commercial: Complete Protection

CLIENT: Shell
Global Brand Director: Chris Hayek

AGENCY: JWT Atlanta
Chief Creative Officer: Perry Fair
Creative Director: Jeremy Jones
Creative Director: Dustin Tamilio
Senior Copywriter: Troy Leyenaar
Senior Producer: Chrissy Lucas
Group Account Director: Chris Hooper
Account Director: Erin McGivney
Senior Planner: James Robbins
Account Supervisor: Dan McGuire
Planning Director: Michael Dezso

MEDIA AGENCY: MediaCom

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Skunk LA
Director: Raf Wathion
Line Producer: Fred Vrancken
Executive Producer: Shelly Townsend
Director of Photography: Nicolas Karakatsanis

VFX: MPC NY
Creative Director: David Estis
Executive Producer: Tim Dillon
Senior Producer: John Skeffington
VFX Supervisor: Ashley Bernes
2D Lead: Evan Schoonmaker
VFX Team: Sang Lee, Gigi Ng, Carl Fong, Jonathan McKee, Kevin Lu, Chris Bernier, Ty Coyle, Andrew Montague, Philip Sierzega

GRADE: MPC LA
Colorist: Mark Gethin

EDITORIAL: Martin Leroy at Whitehouse Post

SOUND DESIGN: Gus Koven at Stimmung

AUDIO MIX: Scott Persson at Sound Lounge

ORIGINAL COMPOSITION: Atticus Ross



CREDITS
Gas to Bottle


Pennzoil TV Commercial: "Gas To Bottle" PurePlus Technology


A shot from "Gas To Bottle" PurePlus Technology


CLIENT: Shell
Global Brand Director: Chris Hayek

AGENCY: JWT Atlanta
Chief Creative Officer: Perry Fair
Creative Director: Jeremy Jones
Creative Director: Dustin Tamilio
Senior Copywriter: Troy Leyenaar
Senior Producer: Chrissy Lucas
Group Account Director: Chris Hooper
Account Director: Erin McGivney
Senior Planner: James Robbins
Account Supervisor: Dan McGuire
Planning Director: Michael Dezso

MEDIA AGENCY: MediaCom

Production Company: Skunk LA
Director: Raf Wathion
Line Producer: Fred Vrancken
Executive Producer: Shelly Townsend
Director of Photography: Nicolas Karakatsanis

VFX: MPC NY
Director: David Estis
Executive Producer: Tim Dillon
Senior Producer: John Skeffington
VFX Leads: Ashley Bernes, Liam Griffin
VFX Team: Alex Harding, Susie Hong, Mitch Deoudes, Andres Weber, Carlos Ancalmo

GRADE: MPC LA
Colorist: Mark Gethin

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