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Method Brings More Soul to Kia Motors America Spot


Method artists create a world of dancing robot armies and hamsters for Kia Soul

Method Brings More Soul to Kia Motors America Spot

Renowned visual effects company Method Studios completed work on a new commercial, “Share Some Soul,” developed by  Kia Motors America (KMA)’s advertising agency of record, David&Goliath, introducing the significantly refreshed 2012 Kia Soul. The VFX-heavy spot debuted during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards. Featuring the wildly popular hamsters from previous Kia commercials, the new spot also features two sets of robot armies engaging in a fantastic dance battle to LMFAO’s ubiquitous club smash “Party Rock Anthem.” Working with acclaimed director Mark Romanek, Method Studios took Anonymous Content’s designs and created the dancing robot armies as well as the spot’s desolate environment.

In addition to taking on the challenge of creating an all-CG world with all-CG characters, Method had to complete the job in a very tight time frame. “The scope and ambition of this spot was definitely challenging considering the extensive amount of CG required in a short time,” said VFX Supervisor Nordin Rahhali. “There were a lot of full CG shots as well as plenty of character animation and motion capture.”
Method’s extensive experience with CG creatures and photorealistic fur was crucial to the succcess of the spot. Dancers in practical suits were filmed for the hamster scenes. The hamsters’ heads, hats and hands were all replaced and recreated in CG. A two-person team created the fur and handled all the lighting and rendering for the hamsters, which is a testament to the efficency of the Method creature pipeline.
Motion capture was used to create the robot armies’ dance moves, which were further refined to make the dancers look more robotic. Most of the environment was comprised of digital matte paintings projected within Nuke to allow for limited camera movements.
The spot was rendered in Maya through Renderman. Lighting was done through Maya as well. Effects were completed in Houdini. The hamsters were rendered in Houdini and Mantra. Compositing was done in Nuke, with a few shots composited in Flame. Tracking was completed in Synth Eyes and 3D Equalizer (everything shot on-set was captured using two camera and 6-8 matchmove artists worked on the spot). Texturing was done in MARI. Company 3 co-founder/colorist Stefan Sonnenfeld and fellow colorist Dave Hussey performed color grading for the spot.
The team was thrilled to work with Romanek. "It was exciting working with Mark,” offered Rahhali. “He had a lot of ideas and he gave us a lot of great feedback. We faced many challenges, but it was gratifying to successfully collaborate with him on this project.”
Senior VFX Supervisor Dan Glass added, “you couldn’t ask for anything more out of a VFX-heavy project. Aliens, robots, dancing hamsters – there’s something for everyone. I hope we get to do a sequel.” 
Title: Share Some Soul
Client: Kia
Agency: David&Goliath
Chief Creative Officer: David Angelo
Executive Creative Director: Colin Jeffery
Creative Director: Steve Yee
Senior Copywriters: Greg Buri, JC Abbruzzi
Senior Art Directors: Basil Cowieson, Tim Delger
Executive Producer, Managing Director: Carol Lombard
Executive Producer: Paul Albanese
Producer: Jennifer Mersis
Production Company: Anonymous Content
Director: Mark Romanek
Snr VFX supervisor/Anonymous Content: Brad Parker
Director of Photography: Jeff Cutter
EP/Production: SueEllen Clair
Line Producer: Suzie Greene Tedesco
Choreographers: Rich+Tone
PreViz: Pixel Liberation Front
Motion Capture: House of Moves
Editing House: Union Editorial
Editors: Jim Haygood
Executive Producer: Megan Dahlman
Telecine: Company 3
Colorist: Stefan Sonnenfeld
Colorist: Dave Hussey
Sound Designer:  Brian Emrich
Audio Mix:  Eleven
Mixer:  Jeff Payne
Editorial: Union Editorial
Editor: James Haygood
Visual Effects: Method Studios
Senior VFX Supervisor/Creative Director: Dan Glass
VP,Production/Senior Executive Producer: Gabby Gourrier
Head of Production: Stephanie Gilgar
VFXSupervisor: Nordin Rahhali
VFXProducer: Mike Wigart
CG Supervisor: Charles Abou Aad
CG Supervisor (Hamsters): Andy Boyd
Animation Supervisor: Mike Warner
Compositing Supervisor: Chris Bankoff
Lighting Lead: Matthew Maude
Flame Lead: Noah Caddis

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Method Studios Los Angeles, Mon, 19 Mar 2012 22:07:06 GMT