November 23, 2009


Draftfcb in New York conceived the spot and The Mill shot it in just one day using an iPhone to create a realistic and viral look. Post production took place over a three-week period, which included creating hundreds of CG apples using Softimage software.

The Mill created a tracking rig for the iPhone. “It would have been impossible to track the iPhone camera without the rig,” notes The Mill’s 3D lead Vince Baertsoen. “We had to re-create a motion capture set up in the station. On set, we looked at places we could put cameras and determined how we could triangulate the rig. We used three Canon 5D Mark 2 static cameras to record everything in sync simultaneously.”

The rig was designed to clearly show the iPhone’s position and orientation in 3D space. The Canon cameras captured the iPhone’s movement from three varying perspectives. The rig had multiple LED lights attached to make the tracking points clearly visible in the subdued light.

Full HDRI images of the location were captured and a Spheron Camera was used to capture multiple 360-degree scans that provided exact survey data and lighting conditions of the whole subway platform and train. This data was used to accurately construct the virtual environment and used for everything from modeling to texturing and lighting. 3D Equalizer was used for tracking. The CGI was composited into the original live action using Flame.

“It was important to work at the native resolution of the iPhone and match the codec compression artifacts,” notes Angus Kneale, The Mill’s creative director and co-director on the project. “The apples were carefully integrated into the footage by emulating the dynamic range and white balance of the iPhone ultimately color matching the apples. Subtle details were added such as green color spill, shadows and reflections. The dynamic auto exposure changes of the iPhone also had to be matched. The tracking was given one last tweak in Flame locking the CGI into the live action.”  

The Mill’s Joint Head of 3D, Yann Mabille, co-directed the piece. Dan Roberts served as producer. Kneale, Mabille and Baertsoen edited the PSA.

The sound design and mix was performed by Evan Mangiamele and Philip Loeb at Sound Lounge in Manhattan.