SYDNEY — The Monkeys Melbourne, In The Thicket and Alt recently teamed up to create a new campaign for Asahi that takes viewers on a journey through landscapes built around surreal Japanese iconography. The shoot for the Enter Asahi spot took place at Sydney’s Fox Studios, with In The Thicket’s Marco Prestini directing and Genevieve Triquet executive producing. Alt was brought on to help realize the creative vison through visual effects.
The Alt team worked with Prestini to help design and build the complex ‘one-shot’ look in which the camera is constantly moving forward, past robotic geishas, sword-weilding warriors and a gigantic CG squid. The final spot seamlessly blends CG set extensions and live action plates.
“VFX supervisor Dave Edwards, and all the team at Alt, together with my EP Genevieve, have been there since the very beginning, and their creative input and expertise were key in every step of the way,” notes Prestini. “Everything we did on-set was the result of weeks of endless back and forth on technical previz, a process that required pretty much everyone’s input on a daily basis and that was incredibly inspiring for me to be part of.”
Alt’s Edwards adds, “Production designer Michael Iacono designed sets in 3D, with five huge sets built for the shoot. The team then worked out camera speeds for timings based on these five sets and seven plates. DOP Stefan Duscio would suggest rigs and mounts, which our team were able to then test in previs to see if it would work with the set. During previs, we worked out that we couldn’t get the resolution and the required frame rate to shoot the high frame rate samurais, so we had to use Alexa LF. Of course, that also helped Marco, who wanted minimal lens distortion as it allowed wide field of view without the distortion of normal anamorphic lenses.”
One complex scene involves a character battling a gigantic underwater squid, which was done via a process known as ‘dry for wet’ – a film technique in which smoke, colored filters, and/or lighting effects are used to simulate a character being underwater while filming on a dry stage. The team at Alt did a rough animation of the squid to help drive the actions of talent and the stunt team on the day of the shoot, before spending the final weeks perfecting the look of the photo-real monster.
Alt relied on Adobe Photoshop for concept design/matte painting. Previs, modelling, texturing and animation was done in Autodesk Maya. All of the effects, lighting and look development was done in SideFX Houdini. The studio’s compositing pipeline is built around Foundry’s Nuke. The final online was completed in Flame, and After Effects was used for graphics.
The Butchery performed the final edit.