Ghost Team

Layer Media Uses C4D for Promo Parody, Ghost Recon: Future Intern

It’s hard to imagine what a humorous take on Ubisoft’s new third-person shooter game, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier might look like. And you won’t have to because San Francisco-based film and video producer, Brennan Ieyoub, has already done that. The custom video is called Ghost Recon: Future Intern and he made it for IGN (Imagine Games Network) as a way to promote the Tom Clancy game prior to its release earlier this year. (Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbYgX5FMYWg)

 


Ieyoub gave the remote-controlled car seen on the table a “military-grade look” by tearing it apart, adding a few exposed wires and rigging a webcam.

 

Ieyoub, who worked for IGN for seven years before starting his own production company, Layer Media (http://layer-media.com), in 2011, had two weeks to create the video in which a soldier straight out of the game gets a job as an intern at IGN. In addition to coming up with the concept and writing the script, he also did all of the 2D and 3D motion graphics using Maxon’s Cinema 4D and Adobe After Effects.

The goal was to create a funny parody that stayed true to the game while bringing in a bit of IGN’s office culture. “IGN has a very fun-loving atmosphere and this sales video really reflects that,” Ieyoub says, adding that this is one of several projects he has worked on for the company since going freelance.

 


Coffee cups were modeled in Cinema 4D and joined with the drone model to create a makeshift, high-tech coffee caddy. Lighting off to the left side of the frame was added in C4D to accentuate the appearance of the drone overhead.

 

With such a tight deadline to meet, Ieyoub spent just one long day shooting footage for the video. The task was made easier by the fact that Ubisoft has just finished producing a live-action short film to promote the game, so Ieyoub was able to use some of the film’s high-quality props and costumes that were still lying around the office. “It was so cool that they let us go over there and pick up a giant box of stuff to use for the video,” he recalls. “That’s why the character looks so great.”

The Rise of Online Video

Ieyoub was about 11 or 12 years old when he figured out what a director did and who Steven Spielberg was, and he’s wanted to work in film and video production ever since. His break came at 19, when he got a summer internship in the editorial department of Sony Pictures. Digital filmmaking was on the rise at the time, and Ieyoub’s fluency with computers helped him parlay his intern stint into a full-time job.

 


The Future Intern's visor was rotoscoped to create the red, glowing glass. HUD elements tracking his face create the illusion that we are seeing from his point of view.

 

When his internship ended and he was offered a job, he took it without hesitation and spent the next two years working on the Sony lot as a staff editor handling everything from small edits on feature films to editing television and airline versions of films. After that, he went freelance and worked on several films: Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Stuck on You and Collateral.

 


The title screen was pulled from an actual Ghost Recon: Future Soldier trailer and updated with new text. Effects were added to match the distorted style of the source material.

 

All the while, he was also an avid gamer. So when he saw that cutting rooms were shrinking all over Los Angeles in response to the digital age, he hired on with IGN as one of the company’s first video producers. During his time there, Ieyoub helped create the IGN YouTube channel and turn IGN.com into one of the Web’s most popular video destinations. “Everything from production to distribution is changing so rapidly, it’s an amazing time to be in this business,” he says, adding that working at IGN gave him “a front-row seat from which to watch platforms like YouTube and Netflix disrupt the space.”

Currently, Layer Media is working on a developer diary series for the video game, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (http://www.thebureau-game.com), published by 2K Games. “We love working in the game arena and collaborating with 2K Games on creating content,” Ieyoub says. “It’s been an amazing experience.”

A Student of C4D

Because he considers himself to be a “student of Cinema 4D” with much more to learn, Ieyoub wasn’t planning on using the software to create the visual effects for the video. He changed his mind, though, when a few things went wrong on shoot day, most notably the scene in which the helicopter flies over the shoulder of the Future Intern. The plan was to use his smart phone to fly a Parrot AR.Drone quadricopter into the shot and over the actor’s shoulder.

 


Ieyoub used glow effects and an optical flare to turn Oakley sunglasses into the intern's high-tech visor.

 

But even though Ieyoub had practiced quite a bit in his living room, come shoot day the drone took off and flew straight up into the ceiling before crashing to the floor in pieces. “I was like ‘Oh my God! I’m going to have to somehow do this effect with C4D now,” he recalls, laughing. After finding a free model of a Parrot AR.Drone online, he “Frankensteined together” a Parrot AR.Drone model with a toy mechanical claw model to create the drone UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle).

 




Ieyoub used proxy geometry and physics for the scene in which UPS boxes stack neatly on workers' desks.

 

Cinema 4D also came in handy when Ieyoub needed to create some effects to make the scene in which the UPS boxes stack up on people's desks look more comical and dramatic. After first trying to make the scene work by having a production assistant stand off camera and throw boxes onto the desks from off camera, he decided to use C4D to model the boxes. "And then I used proxy geometry and physics to shoot boxes out of an emitter and land in a stack in a cool, funny way," he explains.

 


Using the POV of the flying drone, the Future Intern is able to identify targets for dropping the team's afternoon coffee.

 

Ieyoub attributes much of his success using Cinema 4D for this project to the many helpful tutorials he was able to find online on YouTube. And, as an experienced After Effects user, he was grateful for the smooth integration between the two software packages, which allowed him to share a camera and jump back and forth quickly and easily. “I’m sure there are smarter ways I could have done things, he says. “But at the end of the day, I thought it turned out really well and the people at Ubisoft were really happy with it, too.”

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Meleah Maynard is a Minneapolis-based writer and editor. Contact her at her website: www.slowdog.com

 

 

 


October 14, 2013

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