The Making Of: CEI “Raster In The Community” Broadcast Commercial
Feb 4, 2014
It was amazing to see our latest spot for our good friends at CEI air during half time of Super Bowl XLVIII. Perhaps more amazing is all the time and talent that was poured into the project to make it happen.
First, here’s the spot:
This visual effects breakdown shows how it all came together:
Here are the details:
Raster was Modeled in Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya, and animated in Maya. Rendering was accomplished with Maxwell Render, running on an IBM Flex System.
A mix of motion capture and traditional keyframe animation were used to bring Raster to life. Motion capture was used to capture the energetic jumping and cheering of the Carolina Hurricanes shots, keyframe animation was used to bring out the subtlety of Raster’s motions during the Durham Bulls shots, and the shot of Raster playing the triangle for the NC Symphony was a combination of both. The motion capture was achieved using a Microsoft Kinect paired with a laptop running iPi Motion Capture.
In regard to the logistics of placing Raster at local sporing events… it wasn’t really feasible to film during a game or to hire hundreds of extras, so digital crowd replication was used. In preproduction, thorough location scouting and storyboarding allowed us to figure out the camera angles that would best give us the illusion of sold-out crowds. During the shoot, a group of 10-15 extras were filmed in each section from a locked off camera, changing wardrobe and position between each move. Those individual plates were composited together in post.
To seamlessly integrate Raster into the live action plates, we took extremely detailed lighting and set references during the shooting of both the Carolina Hurricanes and Durham Bulls shoot. To reconstruct the on-set lighting in the CG environment, we shot panoramic, high dynamic range (HDR) photographs of each camera setup using a fisheye lens. The photos were stitched together into a seamless 360 degree image which was then mapped onto a sphere that surrounded the 3D model of Raster. The high dynamic range of the image reproduced the complex lighting from the set, as well as allowed all of Raster’s shiny surfaces to reflect the real-world environment. Color and lens distortion charts were also shot to aid in the final composite.
Stock footage was provided by NC Symphony for that scene. Since no on-set lighting reference was possible, Raster’s lighting was recreated by hand. The original video wasn’t filmed with framing of an 8 foot tall robot in mind, so the shot had to be modified slightly. An upwards tilt was added to a dolly across some of of the strings players, but because the player’s bows exited the top of the original frame, the bows had to be digitally painted back where they crossed the edge.
And the team that made it happen:
Derick Childress – Senior Motion Graphics Designer
Simon Lavit – Senior Motion Graphics Designer
Brian Pace – Art Director
Camp Suntichotinun – Editor
Ann Whitehurst – Senior Writer
Alex Davis – Composer/Sound Design
Dan Schneider – Composer/Sound Designer
Jamie Ousterout – Account Manager
Lindsey Helmick – Assistant Project Manager
Watching TV as a kid, I used to run to the bathroom during the shows so I could make it back for the commercials. Those days launched me down a path that included layout and writing for the college paper; communications strategy for political campaigns; marketing strategy and graphic design for Gensler (a global design and architecture firm); and the implementation of new programming, animation and design techniques for Centerline. Today I specialize in content marketing strategy and building digital deliverables to execute those strategies. But it’s about more than just creating killer digital content. At Centerline, we help clients succeed in the digital marketplace using a three-pronged approach: strategic (message creation, brand strategy), tactical (design, development), and analytical (measurement and adaptation). This experience-tested approach allows me to build campaigns that are both well-designed and effective for clients like IBM, GE and National Instruments.