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August 2014
Issue: November 1, 2009

INSPIRATION: COMPOSITING BRINGS TO LIFE INDY'S HISTORY

By: Miguel Oldenburg
 As a senior Flame artist at Mantra Design (www.mantradesign.tv), I’ve worked with ABC for years creating spots for the Indianapolis 500 national broadcast. But this year’s 2009 Indianapolis 500 Opening Tease required a different type of motivation than the usual fast-paced, in-your-face opener. This year’s piece was used to commemorate the Indy 500’s Centennial Era Celebration and Mantra Design was tasked with creating something that would incorporate memorable scenes from Indy’s history.

In order to show viewers the evolution of Indy racing, we took advantage of the Indy 500 museum’s vintage cars, bringing them back to life on a track used for Formula One. As the entire focus for us was to make the piece authentic, taking viewers right back to the ‘20s and ‘30s, I pushed Autodesk Flame to its full potential to make sure the compositing reflected the environment of the original eras. I took my inspiration from a very complete and comprehensive study of archival racing footage. As an Indy fan myself, I was inspired by the small but significant touches that made the difference between Indy’s past and present. Through compositing, I re-created the old wooden viewing stands and brick track that existed during that time and replaced the sky, grass and walls in each shot to make it look like the cars were running on the early year’s Indy track. 

The compositing work was an absolute thrill for myself and the Mantra team. I think one of the highest compliments I have received about the piece is that people think the majority of it is archival footage, when in fact, I used heavy compositing work to completely re-create certain eras and landmark moments for the piece.