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Week 2: Concept refinement, filming and look dev

After speaking with our mentors at the Mill, we realized that the tag line "the car of tomorrow, today" didn't really fit the retro look of the Savannah Theatre. In order to advertise a car from the future "today", it would make more sense to pick a location with newer buildings. We looked into different possible locations and our team mate Elizabeth took photos of the places when she went to the downtown area of Savannah for reference. The possible new locations were the SCAD MOA area, the Jepson Telfair Museum, Bradley Hall and the Grove in the City Market.

Although we found new locations, the Savannah Theatre was still our favorite. Determined to make the first location work, we decided to change our tag line and concept to "timeless". With this new concept, it makes more sense for a contemporary ferrari car to appear out of a portal in front of an 80's movie theater and changing the tag line wasn't an issue as it is not a crucial requirement for the commercial.


Savannah Theatre reference photography


Filming

With our location locked, our team agreed to meet on Friday January 17 early in the morning to film our live action plates for shot #2 and shot #3. After returning from the filming location, we checked our footage and noticed that the plates were very overexposed and had a lot of noise, which would pose a problem in the future. We tried to shoot on Saturday at around 5 PM but due to the large number of tourists and the fast changing lighting we decided to postpone it. We then agreed to shoot again on Sunday at 8 AM and this time it was a success. The weather was overcast which is something that we were aiming for and there wasn't anyone around.


We shot our plates with Canon 5D Mark III. We also used the Samsung 360 to take HDR pictures of the environment. In case the 360 images didn't work, we also took multiple exposure pictures of a chrome ball with the Canon as a back up. We all contributed to the filming, taking turns with the camera and making sure the composition of the shots was going to work.


Shot #2 plate

Shot #3 plate

HDR

Lorena was in charge of taking the HDR pictures with the Samsung 360 in multiple exposures the day of the filming. Later, Elizabeth and I merged all the photos into the HDR below.


New pre-visualization

We made a new animatic with a more dynamic camera move for shot #1. We completely agreed with our mentors on how we needed more dynamic shots in our commercial and fortunately, our team mate, Elizabeth, asked her animator friend Zach to create some camera moves for us and the results were exactly what we hoped for. The other two shots are also a bit different from the previous animatics and were done by Elizabeth.

Some inspiration for the shot composition and the camera movements are from the following commercials we found.


Car Look Dev

To look dev the car shaders accurately, we created a look dev light rig with the HDR we took with the Samsung 360 camera. We used spheres first to create the shaders and we later applied them to the car model. Once we assigned the shaders to the car model, we made sure to make the necessary changes to the shaders to achieve more accurate results. Since there were so many shaders we decided to divide them between the three lighters/compositors (Elizabeth, Lorena and me) and we all ended up doing seven shaders each. I was in charge of the glass for the headlights, the brake disc, the brake caliper, the headlight and taillight's chrome, the tires and the whole interior of the car (except the emblem on the steering wheel, which Lorena made). Below, you will find a quilt with all the shaders, the hypershade network for the aiSkyDome and a screen capture of the 3D look dev light rig.

Here is a video with all the shaders and the reference photo right next to them that Elizabeth put together for us.

Here is a turntable of the car with all the shaders and textures that the whole lighting/compositing members put together.


Textures

Apart from creating the shaders, we also made some textures for the logo emblems, the plate and

the brake calipers. I was in charge of the brake calipers so I created a texture for them using Photoshop. Below you can find the hypershade network for the caliper, the color map I created, the rendered texture on the caliper model and the reference I used.


Troubleshooting

While putting together all the shaders in the car model, we noticed that the red glass for the tailights wasn't acting as it was supposed too. We first thought it was a problem with the transmission parameters of the shader, but we later realised that the problem was the dome we were using for the HDR. The dome was a normal sphere and wasn't illuminating as much as an aiSkyDome does. Once we switched to the arnold dome, we achieved to get the light from the HDR to actually illuminate the scene and to affect the glass shaders.


Final thoughts

This week was a very hard and busy week for all of us. We had to shoot two times but we believe we got some good options on our second day of filming. We also worked on the car look dev, which was challenging due to the number of shaders it requires, but it was challenging and fun in its own way. Overall, I'm very proud of my team and how far we have come. Filming together gave me a chance to get to know my team mates better and I think we are all more comfortable with each other now. I also started doing some camera tracking tests today and they are going quite well so far. I can't wait to get started on the CG integration!


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