|Issue: January 1, 2008
SWAY BRINGS LIFE TO 'AFTER PARTY'
CITY, CA - Sway Studio (www.swaystudio.com)
recently added life and spirit to Chandon Sparkling Wine’s latest commercial, After
Party, out of agency Dentsu America. By
combining detailed character animation with high dynamic range imaging (HDRI)
and their own photogrammetry techniques, Sway helped to capture a private
moment between two characters, evolving from a Chandon bottle’s wire cage and
foil, as they share a secret dance among CG candles, chilled bottles of Chandon
and sparkling city lights.
directed a professional live action tango duo to create the performance that
was used for the wire characters. Because the dancers became so intertwined,
Sway opted to use motion capture techniques, instead of multi-camera video
reference. To provide the correct quality of movement, Sway used the motion
capture data applied to the wire characters as a reference to animate the hero
wire characters in 3D space.
wire characters were moving in 3D via motion capture, Sway owner and creative
director Mark Glaser, who also served as the spot’s director, shot action
coverage as if he had a virtual camera crew and dancers on stage. “It was
important to me that the characters were shot using techniques that would be
used if I were shooting real dancers,” Glaser notes. “I didn’t want live action
plate shots of a life size camera trying to capture angles looking into the
dancers’ miniature world. To help immerse the audience in that world, I wanted
the camera to dance with the characters and move at their scale as if we had a
six-inch tall film crew.” Glaser
says the challenge throughout the project was to evoke passion and emotion from
characters made simply from foil and wire.
By taking the motion capture data and reworking the dance
moves to fit the wire figures, Sway was able to bring out the passionate
interaction that gave them life. Because the characters are essentially stick
figures without faces, all acting had to come through via body language. “The
camera was used as much as possible to enhance the performance, such as when
the female character was spun out into a perfectly framed pose,” Glaser says.
“Working with choreographer JoAnn Jansen and the dancers to rehearse bold dance
moves that would translate clearly with these characters was instrumental to
the process as well.”
complete freedom in shooting the dance sequence, Sway recreated the entire
interior location, including the champagne bottles, table candles and twinkling
city lights, using their own photoreal CG, HDRI, compositing and photogrammetry
techniques. The end result is a spot that is almost entirely computer generated
as only seven of the 24 shots contain live action. The
studio used Nuke for compositing, Scratch for color grading, V-Ray for lighting
and rendering, and After Effects for logo treatment. Autodesk 3DS Max 9 was
used as the primary animation tool while Lumonix Puppetshop was used for final
character rigging and animation.