Nature is not just something in the distance - nature, that's you and me. Bram van Alphen directed a dreamlike and intimate film with top model Doutzen Kroes, where the beauty of nature and humanity merge into one.
Advertising agency Selmore approached The Ambassadors in September 2011 with this exciting new idea. A young woman (Kroes) would close her eyes, and as a tear slowly rolls down her cheek, flora would sprout up like a river in its riverbed. As her tears are rolling down over her chest a lively world of plants, flowers and butterflies emerges. She is holding a baby.
A wonderful concept with beautiful imagery and symbolism, but with many challenges as well.
Apart from the 3D animation and rendering there was one main challenge for which they had to find a solution: tracking. To attach the flora to her body they would need a very solid track, which meant they would have to cover her body with tracking markers. Tracking markers usually suffer from three main obstacles: retouching, extreme lighting and depth of field, so they came up with the idea of using infrared light.
The idea is to shoot two images at the same time. The first one being the normal image and the second one being an infrared image. By using an invisible ink that absorbs infrared light they were able to create tracking markers that are only visible on the infrared image and are invisible on the normal image. The tracking would be performed on top of the infrared images and later applied to the normal image.
A Phantom camera had to be used as both the human eye and most normal cameras are blind to infrared light. Together with Phantom camera operator Flip Bleekrode and Grip/Stereo specialist Luc Hoeijmakers, The Ambassadors worked out the technical details by placing both cameras in a stereo rig and aligning them so they would shoot the exact same image. It took several attempts to find the right mixture of inks, infrared lights and filters. Since they were working in the dark they couldn't see the light themselves except on the monitor so they had to calculate the frequencies in nanometers to carefully align the transmission and response peaks of both the camera, the ink, the filters and the lights.
Back at the studio the first tracking tests on the infrared images were very positive and it was clear that they had found the right solution to their initial problem.
The final product was even better than they had imagined.
Click the link to view the work http://bit.ly/ycwAaW