Santa Monica – VFX house ArsenalFX, which specializes in high-end commercial finishing, has produced visual effects for two new national Lexus spots out of agency Team One and shot by The Bandito Brothers.
“Shift,” which broke during the weekend after Thanksgiving, and “Say Nothing,” which aired for the first time on November 15 will initially be airing during in-game sports presentations.
In the “Shift” spot, we see the dashboard inside a silver Lexus GS performance sedan, as the driver pushes the start engine button, and speeds down a dark road at night illuminated by white lights blurring past. The driver shifts, then shifts, and then shifts again, through all eight speeds of a transmission.
The “Shift” spot (http://arsenalfx.gosimian.com/v2/sp/r/N1/1/s3NLvOMlzwJn1pwWOLTgwQ/ZGFuQGFzYnVyeXByLmNvbQ) involved ArsenalFX digitally removing vehicle front and rear sensors, and dirt, as well as some light spec removal on the vehicle itself. The entire conform of the spot consisted of variable speed alterations and motion estimation warps. Light effects were added by ArsenalFX to simulate the outer lights on interior shots. Road vibrations and vehicle movement were also simulated by Arsenal FX on all exterior road shots.
In addition, interior speed and RPM gauges were also reconstructed and redesigned by Arsenal FX (www.arsenalfx.tv) for proper speed manipulation. Rotoscoping and tracking was also used in various shots. To tie the full spot together, each shot had to be repo’d and resized for optimum viewing. A 2:35 letterbox was added by Arsenal FX for the final touch. They called on Flame for this one.
In the “Say Nothing” spot, we see a white Lexus IS sport sedan speeding around the curves of a racetrack under a cloudy sky, snow capped mountains in the background (http://arsenalfx.gosimian.com/v2/sp/r/N1/1/e6sT88zBQVMI9G7N0uDIHQ/ZGFuQGFzYnVyeXByLmNvbQ).
This spot required ArsenalFX to clean up a good deal of ground seen on the race track, as the road whips past the speeding car. This work spanned crane shots, curving roads, and camera zooms. Conventional 2D tracking techniques would not have been able to provide this outcome without extensive hand tracking and an odd-looking perspective.
In order to accomplish this road cleanup, ArsenalFX used 3D tracking software (Boujou) to create a 3D camera that would match the live action camera which was used to shoot the original footage. These sequences were then brought into a 3D program (Maya) where the ground was modeled as geometry. Simply using a flat plane was not enough — ArsenalFX needed to match the curvature of the ground. This was all exported as an FBX and imported into Flame.
Once inside Flame, the ArsenalFX team painted numerous clean still frames of the race track. These were then projected onto the ground geometry and tracked in, via the 3D camera. Ultimately, a seamless and camera corrected fix resulted in a faster process, and in superior quality of the finished picture.
They also used Nuke in conjunction with Flame, said ArsenalFX’s Casey Conroy, “We harnessed Nuke’s powerful composting capabilities to clean up and enhance the Lexus IS. We also used it to track and composite background enhancement per client notes. It was an excellent complement to the Flames. Nuke expedited the turnaround and delivery of the spot.”