Drive follows a diverse group of competitors participating in a
cross-country road race - all hoping to win its $32 million prize. The open
shows live action of cast members in photoreal, stylized CG vehicles.
The sequence was created by
Picture Mill creative director William Lebeda and was art directed by Brad
Berling. It begins with a rapid pan across the windshield of the Dodge
Challenger, driven by cast members Nathan Fillion and Kristin Lehman, and then
crosses to a mid-70's Firebird, occupied by Mercea Monroe and driver Riley
The camera then swoops under the
vehicle and pans up inside the Impala, driven by Kevin Alejandro and J.D. Pardo,
who look out the window to reveal cast member Emma Stone in the back seat of
her father's Taurus. The camera pans through the back window, turns over, around
and into the large windshield of an LR3, driven by Rochelle Aytes and Taryn
Manning. It then moves down to a spinning hubcap and transitions into the
driver's seat of a minivan, occupied by Melanie Lynskey.
Finally, the view moves to the
rear of the minivan, which sports a metallic Drive logo. The shot widens out and elevates, showing the cars
speeding off under a freeway sign that reveals the names of executive producers
Tim Minear and Ben Queen.
Art director Brad Berling
estimates that only two seconds could be spent on each character. "All these magical transitions were going
to have to be very quick and the choreography very fast and expressive in order
for this to work," he notes.
A huge emphasis was placed on
previz, working out timings and camera moves for each shot, character and
vehicle modeling, color design, texture mapping, and background element design.
In addition, primitive shaded views of the characters were placed in the
vehicle models for positioning purposes.
The Drive cast was assembled for a live action shoot, directed by
Picture Mill's Lebeda. Seated in green screen chairs and shot in HD, each actor
had to instantly communicate their character's attitude. A telescopic
Technocrane was used during the shoot and camera moves were later fed into
2d3's Bijou for 3D match moving. Maya was used for animation.
The sequence took two months to
produce. Additional Picture Mill credits included executive producer Ty Van
Huisen; designer Ken Pelletier; 3D modeler/animators Bryan Thombs, Jon Block
and Scott Signorel; 2D compositor Josh Novak; and producer Christina Hwang.