In the slick spot for the Cadillac campaign, Leo Burnett Shanghai, Black & Cameron, and Fin Design + Effects bring time to a standstill in a film promoting the CT6 sedan.
The film captures a party in extreme slow-motion, with the exception of one man. Removing his bowtie, he strides past the frozen revelers to exit the party. The ending shot sees him driving his Cadillac across the frozen East River towards the iconic New York skyline.
According to a release:
The actors were shot at 1000 frames per second by a phantom camera attached to a bolt arm: a high-speed mechanical robot. This technique was combined with shots of the actors standing still filmed at a normal speed, overall creating a slow-motion effect.
The highly skilled artists at Fin Design + Effects worked closely with director Tao Wright of the production company, Black & Cameron, to execute the technically demanding campaign.
“Tao is very open to experimentation so the concept evolved through our conversations on how to combine technical feasibility with his ambitious vision,” said Billy Becket, Executive Producer at Fin. “Collaborating with both Tao and Black & Cameron in such a hands-on way was especially important, given the extremely challenging production timeline.”
Making of film
Fin’s close attention to detail in the post production helped to create a convincingly exquisite world in the commercial. This included extensive crowd work in 3D: Fin created a fully packed-out hall and buzzing party scene using only 20 actors on set. The champagne spray, which kicks off the revelry, was expanded in 3D and a fluid effect added, to give it the necessary dramatic visual impact.
Fin masterfully added suspended aerial elements, such as confetti and snow, that enhance the slow-motion look. The boutique design and VFX house also enhanced the icy aesthetic on the river, created the entire CT6 in CG in these shots, and finessed details such as clothing and hair in 2D.
In order to meet the tight deadline, part of the Fin team traveled to New York from Shanghai to pre-visualize the commercial on location simultaneously with the shoot. Through a process of highly efficient interactive sessions, the team lensed shots for a variety of camera angles and lenses, allowing the director to give immediate feedback and make adjustments. Fin’s artists on the ground tracked footage of the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Island, and East River whilst it was being captured by the team at Black & Cameron from a drone overhead and visualized the car in the shots.
“Rendering in Redshift allowed us to process shots so much quicker and more smoothly,” said Kosta Lagis, CG Supervisor at Fin, who headed up the on-location team. “You could see exactly what they were going to look like in a matter of minutes, which was a great way of setting up lighting and the mood of the shots. Tao is a creative force of nature. He was on a quest for something aesthetically impressive, so we worked together to determine what could be achieved technically and what required a more practical approach. This project really called for quick decision-making and an instinctive understanding of what was going to work creatively.”
“It’s about time we finally made truly global work here in China,” said Director Tao Wright. “Thanks to Fin’s expertise, we were able to think so much bigger with this campaign, and it’s an exciting taste of the huge creative potential here.”
The campaign is now live online.
Advertiser: Shanghai GM
Brand: Cadillac CT6
Agency: Leo Burnett Shanghai
Production Company: Black & Cameron
Director: Tao Wright
Post Production: Fin Design + Effects
Executive Producer: Billy Becket
CG Supervisor: Kosta Lagis