Virtual Environments Make A Bold Statement
March 6, 2018

Virtual Environments Make A Bold Statement

Bold, bright and brilliant as ever, Somesuch’s Kim Gehrig returned to Framestore with her signature directorial style for “Meet Me in the Gap,” the head-spinning artistic campaign from Gap for spring 2018.

Combining a unique human zoetrope setup with sharp product framing and a striking grade from Simon Bourne, the film earns its place in a long run of memorable Gap campaigns; behind-the-scenes, it would also work the merits of Framestore’s comprehensive global pipeline to the max. 

Gehrig’s concept for the spot called for the creation of a human inverse zoetrope, of sorts: a centralized camera capturing multiple models in static pose, shot at speed to create the illusion of movement. Eager to shoot the piece in camera, Gehrig worked with Framestore VFX Supervisor Ben Cronin and Nuke Artist Christian Baker in London to mastermind the setup, with a reference in play to a vintage Cartoon Network ident. Baker carefully built a flexible 3D environment to previsualize the studio shoot, with the ability to shift the distances and angles between the array of models cast. 

A one-day test shoot swiftly followed, to determine the outcome of the Nuke setup and perfect the camera animation curves. Director of Photography Andre Chemetoff and the motion-capture team chose to incorporate a flash amidst the camera’s spinning, to create a precise cut through the motion blur – allowing the models (and Gap’s spring collection) to shine.

The job then jumped the Atlantic to shoot in New York, where VFX Supervisor Matt Pascuzzi and shoot supervisor Luca Pelegatta were on the ground to supervise the full set in action. With the ability to provide quick composites and tests, the supervisors were instrumental in keeping the methodology on track; London’s Nuke setup, too, came into crucial play once more in determining the safe fit of the zoetrope top-shot into frame.

Moving into postproduction, now moving out of Chicago, Framestore’s focus was on upholding the Gap aesthetic, fashioning the clean and colorful spaces that have made the retailers’ ads iconic. The grade, worked on by Bourne in London and both physically and virtually attended by Gehrig and the agency creatives, amped up the piece’s filmic credentials. Having been shot on Alexa, Bourne sought to bring a “painterly” quality to the piece, while upholding the true colors of the products featured. A technical grade was followed by a second, more creative run-through, with attention paid to the individual frames to strike the right focus and balance against the motion blur. The work built on existing working partnerships between Bourne, Gehrig and Chemetoff, which quickly helped to distill the essence of the campaign into the visuals.

Says Cronin of the job: “We love these kinds of solutions. There’s nothing better than helping Kim get the picture she wants, be it pre- or postproduction. From early meetings to previs to test shoots, through to shoot and final delivery, Framestore was present globally to cover every base.”