McLaren, A Black Swan
MPC and Dom & Nic push the boundaries of VFX with full CG spot for McLaren
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Directed by 4Creative’s Neil Gorringe the 60” spot launches All4, Channel 4’s new digital service which saw the new All 4 brand identity replace the 4oD brand across all platforms.
MPC created the spot with extensive VFX - developing five separate environments from scratch, giving Alan Carr 360-degree vision and providing an alternative transport method for newsreader Jon Snow.
John Allison and Chris Bovill, Heads of 4Creative said: “We are continually bombarded with depressing, post-apocalypitic, dystopian visions of the future where we are hunted by machines or probed by aliens. So we wanted to launch Channel 4’s new on demand platform with a refreshing antithesis; as long as you stick with Channel 4 the future will be a liberating, progressively-minded and hilarious romp into oblivion. The only downside is that Spencer will still be around to hit on your girlfriend.”
Watch the VFX Breakdown here
Led by VFX Supervisor Michael Gregory and 3D Supervisor Greg McKneally, the team spent over 12 weeks creating the multiple environments, including the opening tunnel sequence which was designed and created completely in CG. With a long finger that has evolved from years of swiping, the actress was filmed in a specially built 4m x 4m LED tunnel, with graphics fed in and projected onto her. The beats of the light were then matched with animated lighting in CG to seamlessly integrate her into her world. Greg McKneally said, "The beginning and end of the spot take us into an abstracted tunnel through time. Following Neil's suggestion to play with the viewer's sense of perspective, we created a constantly shifting environment of geometric forms, filled with atmosphere and light. It was one of the more challenging sequences in the spot, but great fun to design."
Alan Carr and his set were given complete makeovers, taking his show into the 22nd Century complete with hover board steps, intelligent camera drones, tentacles and an entirely new look for his head. Michael Gregory explains, “Neil had a brilliantly kooky vision for Alan Carr’s sequence. We started by filming him against green screen wearing a prosthetic head, minus the eyes. We then shot multiple takes of Alan’s eyes with various movements. Back in the studio we projected these into the shot plate.
This meant that in the final spot, the extra eyes we see on his head are all actually his own. The crowd was the biggest challenge; we had 20 extras on set and had to make up a crowd of 3000. The audience is all real people duplicated and built up in the 3D environment. There were a number of complex shots in the spot, not to mention the huge amount of VFX- in Jon Snow’s scene the only thing that isn’t completely CG is his disembodied head!”
MPC’s team of concept artists designed multiple looks for the Grand National sequence, including adaptations of the horse and helmet based on armour suits used in high-impact sports and costumes worn in action films such as Robocop. The following royal wedding sequence features actors filmed on green screen and an environment that is a combination of matte painting and CG. Two intelligent drones types were designed – type I, being the more experienced of the two swoops in at the close of the spot to capture the money shot of the smoke trails over the palace. Spaceships and buildings were concepted and designed from scratch for the scene, while the backdrop for Jon’s sequence was based reference photography from high vantage points in London, before being augmented with a futuristic twist.