The captivating film sees Audi’s iconic R8 model giving birth to the new sleek RS 3 Sportback in a futuristic and atmospheric birthing chamber. The Mill team of VFX artists carefully crafted the cars and environment entirely in CG over the course of just nine weeks to help create a powerful, mechanical and organic spot.
Proctor and BBH collaborated with Creative Consultant Rupert Sanders on the project. “On a film that pushes the boundaries such as this, it was fantastic to have Rupert on board. His experience and vision really helped refine the narrative and look, and he was the perfect sounding-board, challenging our decision making throughout the process,” Proctor says.
The Mill’s in-house VFX concept design team were involved at every stage of the project from concept to the final execution designing all the environments and look frames involved in creating the 100% photoreal film.
Lead 3D Artist Mike Chapman comments, “Every single component of each car was precisely crafted in 3D. Working in a fully CG environment allowed us to be flexible with our camera positions and framing, but also meant that everything in the chamber environment had to be designed in meticulous detail.
Chapman notes that one of the main challenges of the whole job was the fine line they were treading between the mechanical and organic: Some of the animation tests they tried were a bit “too grotesque and uncomfortable to watch, and some just too clinical and lacked impact,” he says.
Mill Colorist Matthew Osborne added to the dark, intense, atmospheric tone of the film in the grade, working to ensure that the images flowed seamlessly and retained as much detail as possible.
Proctor says, “I had great confidence from the start that our CG team could make both cars and the environment look 100% photoreal, and even by Mill standards, I think the team nailed it.
“It's hard not to make both cars look amazing. They are both incredibly well designed with an iconic shape. The aim was to create an environment, which looked like a slick machine, making the room part of the story as though almost nursing the car,” he adds.
It’s so important that the audience feel the animalistic power and life emanating from the R8. The trap, Proctor says, in fully CG jobs sometimes is that they can feel too clinical or cold, but the animation here makes the spot so much more emotive and there’s real power in its darkness. “I’m proud of how we managed to convey the narrative, which treads the line between violent and clinical and organic. The strong creative idea and quality of the execution really takes this away from being a normal piece of work to a much braver place,” he says.
Mill+ Executive Director Stephen Venning notes that once in a while, a project comes along like this that really inspires everyone involved. One that will really highlights The Mill’s expertise in CGI, but brings the added layer of the Mill+ team’s ability to create a really strong, almost dark narrative. “‘Birth’ for me is an outstandingly brave concept and required Andrew and the VFX team to push the boundaries of believability,” Cenning says.