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article imageDesign Shop A52 Helps Render Q45’s New Reality

By Roger Darnell     Aug 23, 2001 in Lifestyle
LOS ANGELES - West Hollywood-based visual effects and broadcast design company A52 recently detailed their visual effects work for Anonymous Content and director Andrew Douglas for TBWA/Chiat/Day LA’s new Infiniti Q45 campaign, which features the “Speed Effect,” “Rear View” and “Power of Speech” :30 spots which are currently airing nationwide. The first of the spots broke in April.
Approaching the task of communicating several dramatic new features of the latest Q45, TBWA/Chiat/Day’s creative team along with director/DP Andrew Douglas focused on telling simple stories in a refined setting, and chose various locations around Rotterdam and Amsterdam in the Netherlands as innovative architectural backdrops for each spot.
“Andrew’s magic is that he scales everything back to what he absolutely needs to tell a story,” observed A52’s project producer Darcy Leslie Parsons. “He lets you enjoy these very personal moments he’s sculpted.”
Douglas last teamed with A52 and visual effects supervisor/inferno artist Simon Brewster on Jeep’s 2000 “Hand” spot, which was recognized in the Visual Style category of the 2000 AICP awards show and also won the “Best of Show” 2000 Caddy Award (presented by the association of Detroit-area creative directors) and the Gold WorldMedal at The 2000 New York Festivals Television and Cinema Advertising Awards.
“Andrew’s past experience working with Simon paid huge dividends as each spot came together,” said TBWA/Chiat/Day’s project senior producer Sybil Hadfield. “Andrew knows exactly what he wants in terms of look and feel, and Simon is a master at rendering that very precisely. He is meticulous about the effects integrating seamlessly with the original photography.”
In “Speed Effect,” a new Q45 stands motionless while smoke, leaves, wind and rain create speed tunnels around it. A52’s CGI team, led by Denis Gauthier, used Houdini and Renderman to create steam that was blended with 2D elements, while Brewster removed reflections and composited-in rain effects and a group of girls walking around the car.
“Rear View” presents a Q45 entering a parking garage backwards and reversing up the spiral ramp and into a rooftop parking space to illustrate its new rear-view monitor feature. A52’s team provided additional color-grading, composited-in video monitors, added a floor to the parking garage and adjusted the placement of vehicles within key shots.
Finally, in “Power of Speech,” a man uses voice commands to stop the rain, halt traffic and to adjust temperature and sound system controls inside his new Q45. A52’s work included compositing rain into the opening scene, adding vehicles into the major traffic scene and stopping traffic. A52 artists also enhanced multiple scenes by adding additional architecture plates that had been shot on location in Rotterdam. A moving tracking shot at the end of the commercial was also enhanced with additional traffic lights, color grading and architecture plates.
Each of the three spots ends with the same end tag: Viewers see a quick series of angles on the Q45 powering through various landscapes, leading to a freeze-frame of the star vehicle in which the text “The New Q” scrolls across until the Q45 speeds on through frame and the scene fades to black. “Accelerating the future” then burns into black to join the highlighted Infiniti logo.
TBWA/Chiat/Day creative directors Chris Graves and Eric Grunbaum worked with Simon Brewster to create the campaign’s end tags. “The Q45 combines a lot of performance with elegance and styling; the spots were very elegant and sophisticated, but they needed a performance portion to them,” Graves explained. “The end tag was a performance signature to all of the work that repeated throughout the whole campaign. Simon helped to make them very dynamic.”
In addition to Chris Graves, Eric Grunbaum (who also served as copywriter) and Sybil Hadfield, the creative team for TBWA/Chiat/Day also included art director Jason Stinsmuehlen.
A52’s project team was led by managing director and executive producer Liz Roewe and producer Darcy Leslie Parsons, and also included Simon Brewster, on-set visual effects supervisor Michael Gibson, 3D animators Denis Gauthier, Jeff Willette and Westley Sarokin and online editor Scott Johnson. Evan Jacobs from Vision Crew Unlimited shot various water plates for the campaign.
Production was overseen by Anonymous Content’s executive producer Andy Traines and head of production Cassie Hulen and also included producers Suzanne Hargrove and Matthew Jones, art director Bruce McCloskey and production designer Clive Howard. The editorial team from Santa Monica’s Mad River consisted of executive producer Chris Donovan, producer Monette Dubin and editors Michael Elliot (Zena Sfier, assistant editor) and Brad Wetmore (Inome Callahan, assistant editor).
All music compositions produced for this 2002 Q45 launch are original and licensed exclusively for the launch of the campaign, including an original composition by the renowned Icelandic composer Bix for "Speed Effect." "Adore" by I:Cube was licensed for "Rear View" and the spot "Power of Speech" featured a combination of original music also from Bix and the track entitled "Yachts" by Coco Steel and Lovebomb. Sarah Sciotto, executive producer at Ten Music, provided the research services and represented the respective artists.
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