Christopher Webb illuminates BMW i8 with in-camera VFX


Christopher Webb captured the essence of the BMW i8 with the mood film

Last Updated: January 10, 2015 1:05 am GMT
i8 Illumination. This 60-second film was realized entirely with in-camera visual effects without any computer-generated imagery.

(January 10, 2015) Webb shot i8 Illumination at his visual effects studio in Brooklyn, New York. He and his team developed optical mechanics, specialty camera motion rigs, and animated lighting units designed to evoke the power and momentum of the i8 while it remained completely stationary.

“My team and I wanted to express our love of handmade visuals, which are at the core of our work with creative directors and production companies,” said Webb. “I feel that images created in-camera really speak to viewers and awaken the creative spirit.”

Webb and his crew spent about two weeks creating mechanical rigs and lighting effects projected onto movable screens. They also constructed large-scale moving LED units to sculpt animated light around the vehicle and send light into custom optics in front of the camera. “We wanted to create a sense of atmosphere and motion,” Webb explained, “though we had no sets and the car never moved.”

Webb captured both moving and still images of the i8 on a Red Dragon 6K camera. A Canon 5D III was used for long exposure effects. Lenses included older Nikon specialty lenses. Camera motion was achieved with gliders and nodal heads built by MYT Works and a motorized P+S Technik Skater. The team also built custom rigs in-house and used motion control systems from eMotimo and Kessler, and animation was captured with Dragonframe stop motion software.

“We storyboarded and did extensive testing prior, but kept a freedom to our process,” explained Webb. “Once we found our light and action, we all worked together to improve the performance.” Editor Jessica Schoen completed the final edit with original music by Thomas Porter.

Webb concluded, “It was wonderful to create a film featuring the BMW i8. It has a unique design aesthetic that is truly inspiring. I’m grateful for the opportunity to do this work using in-camera visual effects, and hope that it inspires others.”

Illumination on BMW USA YouTube:

Illumination and Behind-the-Scenes video on Christopher Webb Films page:

Illumination on Vimeo:

Behind-the-Scenes video on Vimeo:


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