Honda, Hot to Cold

  • Agency W+K London;
  • Production Company RSA Films;
  • Director Johnny Hardstaff;

Honda undergoes rigorous testing in new W+K campaign directed by Johnny Hardstaff

The 30” TVC shows the Honda Civic tested in temperatures from 80 degrees to -30. Conceived by creatives, Chris Lapham and Aaron McGurk, the vehicle was placed in extreme conditions including an industrial freezer to test its resilience. MPC stitched together over 400 takes shot on a motion control rig, as well developing the pre-vis and augmenting the scene with a CG snowman and conifers. 

Director Johnny Hardstaff said “Sometimes it’s smart to do stupid things. The stop motion/motion control shoot was arduous to say the least. 

The volume of data that we generated on-set was insane. The things that could go very wrong were many, but predictably the result is fascinating. I love projects like these that test and expand the processes and the technologies that we all use every day. Adam Crocker, Carsten Keller and his team more than met the challenge head-on and along the way invented some very clever things, MPC turning insanely complex into deceptively simple in no time at all.”

Once the Honda was frozen to sub-zero temperatures it was shot over a five-hour sequence, using 200 takes on a motion control rig. Separately, the production team dumped snow over their set, watching it melt and again filming 200 takes of the process. 

The biggest challenge came in the form of working out a way of stitching together the takes to achieve the ‘in camera’ melt/freeze, which would have taken an editor countless hours.

The MPC team, led by Adam Crocker, developed a technique using 'expressions' within Autodesk's powerful Flame software that enabled them to navigate intuitively through the 400 + motion control takes, giving the director and creative team full creative control over the rate at which the car and floor were melting/freezing at any given point in the sequence.

The 3D team enhanced the scenes, augmenting the snow-covered environment by turning the skeleton into a snowman and the cactus into conifers. The vulture and owl were composited from separate plates.


  • Agency W+K London
  • Production Company RSA Films
  • Director Johnny Hardstaff
  • Agency Producer Sally Miller
  • Creatives Chris Lapham & Aaron McGurk
  • Production Company Producer Scott Horan
  • Editor Simon Willcox @ Loaded Dice & John Smith @ Whitehouse Post
  • VFX Supervisor Adam Crocker
  • CG Supervisor Carsten Keller & Tushar Kewlani
  • VFX Producer Dionne Archibald
  • Grade MPC
  • Colourist George K
  • VFX Team Dan Cowley, Grant White, Mark Robinson, Tom van Dop, Georgios Kyparissous, Gian-Luigi Granieri, Gerard Dunleavy, Arttu Koskela, Ajai V, Minju S, Pritesh Krishnappa Kotian, Sivakumar R & Anupam Kumar

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