October 16, 2008

Gripping Stuff

London - Grip is a new spot highlighting a feature available throughout the Audi range, namely the Quattro cars' road-handling system. The spot was created by BBH and directed by Dom & Nic for Outsider, with the VFX and Telecine handled by Framestore.
The spot is part of a campaign which encompasses TV, digital panels, giant screens, and print. Grip,which uses the line "Independent grip, intelligently applied," draws parallels between the Quattro technology and the way the human hand can adjust to grip different objects. Grip features a human hand gripping a range of objects including a frog, a hammer, crumpling paper, a sponge, an egg, soap, a cricket ball, and a goldfish. After presenting these images in full-screen for a while, the screen splits, showing the wrists doing different activities simultaneously, as well as revolving. Finally, the spot closes with the screen splitting into four different images of spinning forearms, each gripping something different. These images are each replaced with the underside of an Audi, its wheels revolving.
VFX Supervision for Grip was handled by Inferno artist, Ben Cronin, who attended the two-day shoot at Black Island Studios in London and did all of the spot's postproduction work. "It's an astonishingly simple idea," he remarks, "and one that really didn't require major VFX to make it work. The elements I brought to the table were all invisible complements, really -- stabilizing the images, warping edges, adding grads to the background. In fact, Dom and Nic's approach was almost to make something retro -- that looked like it might have been done all in camera and combined optically."

Cronin's biggest single challenge during post was the creation of the spinning wheels on the underside of the Audi. A car had been winched up in the air and filmed, but for technical reasons they couldn't get the wheels all spinning together. So Cronin had to create 3D tires in Flame -- no simple task. "The sad thing," he notes ruefully, "is that it's a detail that's easy to miss on a small TV screen." With a sympathetic grade from senior colorist, Dave Ludlam, the spot conveys its message with elegant simplicity, proving yet again that the lightest of postproduction touches are often the most effective.
PRODUCER Jane Bessey
PRODUCER John Madsen
VFX Framestore
TELECINE Framestore