Leo Burnett Shanghai, Black & Cameron, and Fin Design + Effects bring time to a standstill in this visually exquisite campaign for Cadillac, to promote its new model: the CT6 sedan.
The film captures a lavish party in extreme slow-motion, with the exception of one man. Removing his bowtie, he strides past the frozen revellers to exit the party. The ending shot sees him driving his Cadillac across the frozen East River towards the iconic New York skyline – rejecting fulfilment and stagnation in favour of a bolder future.
The beautifully-executed freeze frame scenes were achieved through a combination of techniques. 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 production company, Black & Cameron, to execute the technically demanding campaign.
Billy Becket, Executive Producer at Fin, comments: “Tao is very open to experimentation so the concept evolved through our conversations on how to combine technical feasibility with his ambitious vision. Collaborating with both Tao and Black & Cameron in such a hands-on way was especially important, given the extremely challenging production timeline.”
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 travelled to New York from Shanghai to previsualise 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 visualised the car in the shots.
'Freeze' - 'Making Of'
Kosta Lagis, CG Supervisor at Fin, who headed up the on-location team, comments: “Rendering in Redshift allowed us to process shots so much quicker and more smoothly. 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.”
Director Tao Wright comments: "It's about time we finally made truly global work here in China. 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.