Behind the Work in association withThe Immortal Awards
How MG Gives You the Ride of Your Life in Colourful SUV Campaign
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Beirut, Lebanon
The Talkies’ senior producer Shady Amir on the collaboration with DDB Cairo and directors Hamba and Doss, which speeds through the streets of Egypt, writes LBB’s Nisna Mahtani

Is it a sports car? Is it an SUV? According to MG Motors, its HS car is both. Collaborating with DDB Cairo and Egypt’s directing duo Hamba and Doss, The Talkies created a campaign for the motoring brand which leaves the viewers questioning how a car can possibly be two things in one.

As the car’s owner hands his keys over to his mother, the campaign begins with three women calmly driving through the streets of Cairo on a leisurely journey around the city. That is until they spot a red ‘Super Sport’ button and everything gets a little crazy. What they thought was a button for the radio turns out to be the activation of the car’s sports mode, which has them whizzing through the streets, dodging vehicles and jumping off ramps into the distance. Set to Surfin’ Bird by The Trashmen, the 1963 classic song sets the tone for the ad and lets the 1.5 turbo engine do the talking.

The Talkies’ senior producer, Shady Amir says, “When we got the MG brief, we were very excited, the brief was very nice and extremely challenging from a technical and production level, especially since the directors/ECD, Hamba And Doss, wanted to shoot everything in real and limit the CGI as much as possible, especially for the car action scenes.”

Shooting in downtown Cairo gave the spot an authentic feel but it wasn’t without its challenges, Shady says, “The pre-production process was a very long one, these kind of jobs needs the proper prep time especially when you decide to shoot on the ground.” Once they’d found the right location, it was s process of location visits, checking angles, working with the stunt team to hone the technical aspects and coordinating with the camera department to ensure everything went to plan.

Shady says that the directors were key to ensuring that the shoot went smoothly., “A factor worth mentioning which was a key element in the success of this job is our directors, they are extremely talented, detail-oriented and know exactly what they want to the smallest detail, and that for production is heaven on earth! It makes everything run smoothly and makes the prep phase and the shoot very smooth,” says Shady.

With four parallel units on the ground, two main units, a social media unit and one for CGI, it’s safe to say that preparation was necessary. “After the technical scouts, we started having multiple meetings with the post-production company handling the CGI work, discussing the best way to execute what we need and trying to keep it as real as possible while coordinating with the stunt team,” Shady explains. “We had a rehearsal the day before the shoot to test the camera movement and the car scenes, which was a major factor in speeding up the shoot day.”

Logistics meant that 12 side streets, two crossroads, a major street and one bridge needed total locking off before filming could commence. With support from the local authorities, the team were able to divert pedestrians and traffic, allowing the shoot to move forward smoothly. “It was a challenging idea and with the help of our director and the support of the agency DDB Cairo, the shoot went great,” says Shady.

When it came time for the post production process, it took two months to ensure the spot achieved the look and feel the team set out to achieve. “We worked and worked on every detail, Hamba and Doss worked on every little detail, and with the support of the great team at [VFX and animation company] Monkeys, it became a pleasant journey,” says Shady.

Shady says, “The process was a long one but like I said before the key element was the attention to every little detail and we had the best crew on board, from our directors to an extremely supportive agency and a super fun client who believed in everything we were doing, all these elements made the film come out the way it did.”

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