Tag Archives: Lexus

Logan uses CG to showcase the luxury of the Lexus ES series

Logan, a creative studio with offices in Los Angeles and New York, worked on the new Lexus ES series “A Product of Mastery” campaign with agency Team One. The goal was to showcase the interior craftsmanship and amenities of this luxury sedan with detailed animations. Viewers are at first given just a glimpse of these features as the spot builds toward a reveal of the sedan’s design.

The campaign was created entirely in CG. “When we first saw Team One’s creative brief, we realized we would be able to control the environments, lighting and the overall mood better by using CG, which allowed us to make the campaign stand apart aesthetically and dramatically compared to shooting the products practically. From day one, our team and Team One were aligned on everything and they were an incredible partner throughout the entire process,” says Logan executive producer Paul Abatemarco.

The three spots in the campaign totaled 23 shots, highlighting things like the car’s high-end Mark Levinson sound system. They also reveal the craftsmanship of the driver seat’s reverse ventilation as infinite bars of light while in another spot, the sedan’s wide-view high-definition monitor is unveiled through a vivid use of color and shape.

Autodesk Maya was Logan’s main CG tool, but for the speaker spot they also called on Side Effects Houdini and Cinema 4D. All previs was done in Maya.

Editing was done on Adobe Premiere and they color graded in Resolve in their certified-Dolby Color Studio.

 According to Waka Ichinose and Sakona Kong, co-creative leads on the project, “We had a lot of visual ideas, and there was a lot of exploration on the design side of things. But finding the balance between the beautiful, abstract imagery and then clearly conveying the meaning of each product so that the viewers were intrigued and ultimately excited was a challenge. But it was also really fun and ultimately very satisfying to solve.”

Quick Chat: Wildchild editor Richard Cooperman

By Randi Altman

As a young man, Wildchild editor Richard Cooperman loved watching movies, so much so that he decided to study film at Toronto’s Ryerson University, where he focused on direction and shot composition. It wasn’t until he was interning at a post house, which housed a music video company, that he became fascinated with the creative process of editing. “Watching directors edit… I was amazed how selecting a shot, its length and placement could evoke so many different emotions,” explains Cooperman.

He called editing his first project “a joyous, rewarding experience” and from that moment on he knew he had found his calling. “I would go on to edit hundreds of music videos and collaborate with major artists. That same sense of style, design, rhythm and experimentation would carry me over into the commercial world.”

Cooperman cut this spot for Thierry Mugler.

Cooperman is known for his distinctive storytelling style, whether it’s high-end fashion and beauty work, music videos or car commercials. We decided to throw some questions at Cooperman to find out more.

How has editing changed since you started in the business?
As far as technology, I’ve seen it go from tape to Avid to Final Cut and now to Premiere. I think the biggest change for editors is the increasing amount of footage we look through since production companies started shooting digital over film. What was once five to seven hours of dailies can now be 10 to 30 hours. That, coupled with tighter deadlines, has made the selecting process more challenging.

You have a diverse resume, working in music videos, fashion and car spots. Can you talk about how you approach each? Do you have a favorite type of project to work on?
My first step is always about organization. Watching and selecting, while not the sexiest part of the process, might be the most important. It’s like the painter, assembling all the colors on the palette. Even though I do work in different genres, I don’t tend to categorize the music videos/commercials I work on as fashion/beauty or automotive, but find a commonality between them — a visual/audio assault on the senses.

Lexus

Lexus

Two great examples of this can be found in spots for the Lexus IS brand (via Team One) that I had the pleasure of working on. The launch video Changing Lanes, directed by Melina Matsoukas (AICE winner for Best Editing), sees the IS as powerful, raw and sexy. Images of the car intercut with rapid, multilayered fashion/art/music video imagery are combined with aggressive title design and intense sound design. In Crowd, directed by Jonas Åkerlund, we see the IS car elegantly romanced in a succession of edits that seductively brings together the young hero lovers. Each edit is designed to intensely separate them from the crowd as they bask in a glowing light of beauty and luxury.

One of the many benefits of working in music videos was the opportunity to collaborate with so many visionary and talented music video directors that crossed over into commercials, bringing their unique styles and sensibilities. Such was the case with the ethereal Thierry Mugler Alien perfume ad, directed by Floria Sigismondi. This one depicts the awakening of a sun goddess.

Dove

Fashion and beauty sensibility can be applied to many brands, as in my recent collaboration with director Karina Taira on the latest campaign for Dove Chocolates out of BBDO. Shot on location in Chile, Taira captured stunning landscape visuals coupled with beautiful photography of a woman enjoying the most sensual chocolate experience.

How early do you like to get involved in the project?
I like to get involved as early on in the creative process as possible to hear everyone’s thoughts and ideas. This way I can start thinking about a mood and how music and sound design will shape the piece.

What’s your ideal collaboration with a director/client?
The ideal is to have a strong collaborative relationship with the director. To build a shorthand and to forge a trusting relationship. It’s been the basis of most of my creative projects.

What is your editing system of choice? Do you work on different systems?
I started on Avid, but I am always looking for ways to enhance the process, so I learned Final Cut, which proved to have many helpful tools for my style of editing. Recently, I started editing on Adobe Premiere, which is quite similar to Final Cut.

Favorite plug-ins?
My favorite tool is not a plug-in, but the composite mode, which can be found in Final Cut Pro and Premiere. It lets you quickly see different composites of the same shot without any rendering or keying. I use it a lot to create multi-layered graphical imagery.

Do you have any tips/advice for some young editors starting out in the business?
Being from Canada, I always say be polite! (Laughs). In all seriousness, stay true to your style and point of view. It is the reason they are choosing to work with you. Develop your own voice and constantly strive to push and learn new techniques. Watch a lot of films. Classic films. You will find they craft scenes in unexpected ways. It still inspires me. Always strive for excellence!

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You can check out Cooperman’s reel here.

Quick Chat: The Hit House’s Sally House on new Lexus spots

LA-based The Hit House created and produced original music and sound design for the new Lexus NX campaign via Team One Advertising. The Corner Shop produced and Wilfrid Brimo directed. Jump Editorial’s Richard Cooperman provided the cut.

The What You Get Out of It spot features a man in a parking garage, opening a large shipping container. Suddenly people start appearing and entering the container with random items, such as a bike, luggage and a dog. The man then closes the doors and they fall away, revealing a white Lexus filled with all the people and their stuff. They drive away together.

The other commercial in this campaign, which promotes the Lexus’ NX Hybrid, F Sport and Turbo car,  is called Moving. The Hit House (@HitHouseMusic) describes the music they created as industrial and contemporary.

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ArsenalFX provides VFX for two new Lexus spots via Team One

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.

1 IS Say Nothing

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.”