Added by on 2015-03-19

Making of Audi Mechanics Zombies by Time Based Arts

The Audi Commercial “Mechanics” was directed by Sebastian Strasser. Miarmy was the primary tool for all the crowd simulation. Vfx done by Time Based Arts.

Time Based Arts team spent a month in the preparation and planning of the shoot to ensure that we would be able to deliver the best results as well as address the ever evolving ideas.

The spot was shot in the Mojave desert outside Los Angeles over a four day period and was as much fun to shot as it looks. There were up to 80 extras on set plus 12 trained stuntmen coordinated by Hollywood legend Pat Romano.

Audi Commercial “Mechanics” – Zombies

We were delighted to test ourselves with some big vfx setups, most notably having to create fully interactive crowd simulations in cgi. We set about researching techniques and approaches to the best way to cover the shots. The ultimate test was the shot where we see the crowd first crash together and create the wave. We shot from a moving camera rig pulling the stuntman on a rubber mat at 20mph. This allowed the stuntmen to have a controlled performance by using a springboard and crash mat for their action which makes up the live foreground moment in the shot.

It was very challenging populating the shot with full cgi characters immediately behind and amongst live action actors knowing this is where the cgi would be under most scrutiny. It was a long process with many levels of discussion and improvement but we were really happy with the results.

The final wide shot also proved to be a big challenge as the predetermined location for the shot did not provide the helicopter footage we were looking for. This meant having to execute the move at a remote secondary warehouse location and rebuild the edge of town environment completely from scratch. In this wide shot 90% of the image was created before we even addressed the 10,000 digital extras.

There is a huge amount of hidden work throughout the commercial from walls smashing to the interior and exterior design in cgi of the Audi service centre.

Take a look at the following behind the scenes vfx breakdown that gives some insight into how it all came together.

Client: Audi
Title: “Mechanics”
Agency: Thjink Berlin GmbH
Executive Creative Director: Stefan Schulte
Creative Director: Siyamak Seyedasgari
Account: Nicole Bierwolf, Hendrik Heine
Director: Sebastian Strasser
Production Company: RadicalMedia Berlin
Executive Producer: Christoph Petzenhauser
Producers: Kathy Rhodes, Yan Schoenefeld
Director of Photography: Roman Vasyanov
Casting: Julia Kim (U.S.), Francesca Green (U.K.)
Editor: Paul Hardcastle, Trim Editing
Colorist: George K, MPC London
Score: Robert Cairns

Time Based Arts
VFX Supervisor / Flame – James Allen
VFX Supervisor / Flame – Sheldon Gardner
Flame – Stephen Grasso, Luke Todd, David Birkill, Thiago Dantas
Smoke – Mike Aveling
Concept Art – Sylvie Minois
Flare / Nuke – Matt Shires
Nuke – Aleksei Chernogorod, Andre Dias, Leandro Vazquez, Ralf Briscoe, Ewan Callister
CGI: Mike Battcock, James Mann, Chris Wood, Kristoffer Andersson, Poul Resen Steenstrup, Sam Osborne, Ben Cantor, Graeme Turnbull, Jeroen Hooghoudt, Sam Osborne, Jason Sproates, Sandra Guarda, Peanut (3D Camera tracking)
Line Producer: Chris Aliano
Exec Producers: James Allen, Mike Skrgatic.

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