Intelligence Gathered

Bradley Munkowitz and Navarro Parker on the GFX they created for Sony’s Skyfall-inspired spot.

Daniel Craig is agent 007 in a new international spot that’s part of Sony’s ‘Intelligence Gathered’ campaign. In the spot, a mysterious woman uses several Sony devices to track an unidentified man as he storms past armed guards and high-tech security systems on his way to the dark control room where she no doubt presumed she was safe. Just as his identity is confirmed on her laptop, James Bond enters the room and calmly takes a seat, asking “Looking for someone?”

Wieden+Kennedy Portland collaborated with RSA Films London and MPC Los Angeles to make the “Mouse and Cat” spot, which features several Sony products, including the company’s BRAVIA screens and Xperia T smart phone. Graphic content that appears on the many video screens in the spot was created using Maxon’s CINEMA 4D, Adobe After Effects, Nuke and Flame by a small team of artists led by designer/director Bradley (GMUNK) Munkowitz. (Watch the spot here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsEf53Z7F3c&feature=youtu.be.)

Munkowitz (http://work.gmunk.com), who is perhaps best known for leading a team of GFX artists who crafted more than 12 minutes of holographic content for Tron: Legacy, was brought onto the project by Wieden+Kennedy. Joining him was Emmy award-winning motion graphic designer and animator, Navarro Parker (http://vimeo.com/navparker), whose credits include The Avengers, Iron Man and Transformers.

The two worked together at MPC (http://www.moving-picture.com) in Los Angeles, and eventually brought on animator/designer Joseph Chan (http://www.josephychan.com), who had worked with Munkowitz on Tron: Legacy. “I worked with Chanimal [Joseph] before on Tron, and a couple of other projects, he’s an easy-going guy and a wonderful designer and illustrator,” Munkowitz recalls. “He animated all of the UI details, making sure to representing the computer with a dark, sinister vibe.”

A passion for screens

Though this “Super Bowl-level” ad was complex and included “a lot of layers of people to please,” Munkowitz and his team enjoyed a great deal of creative freedom as they worked on it for nearly three months. Guided by concepts and general references from MPC’s creative director, Paul O’Shea, Munkowitz and Parker had the freedom to innovate and craft an array of concepts, which they pitched to him as they went.

 “We knew what the bar was for this, and MPC wasn’t just going to hire two freelancers and let them run the job as creative directors, so we would always go through Paul,” Munkowitz recalls. “But once he saw the enthusiasm we brought to the project, he gave us a lot of freedom to just run with things.”

Parker, who describes himself as having “a passion for screens,” knows exactly what it takes to create the kind of graphic content seen in the Sony spot. Over the past five years he has worked on interfaces for more than ten films. In “Mouse and Cat,” the most striking example of Parker’s 3D work is the facial reconstruction. Guided by Munkowitz’s design sensibility, the reconstruction takes shape on screens in the control room as the high-tech equipment surrounding the mystery woman works to identify the intruder, Daniel Craig.

The making of a face

“A thermal snapshot appears and then construction starts on a face that slowly turns out to be Daniel Craig and you’re like, ‘Oh, shit! That’s James Bond,’” Parker says, explaining that he primarily relied on CINEMA 4D for the facial reconstruction graphics, which gradually evolved from a low-poly mesh to a high-poly mesh and, eventually, skin.

Parker started with a 3D scan of Craig’s head, which was provided by MPC London, which was producing visual effects for the new James Bond film, Skyfall. Using PolyFX, he was able to control each polygon of the model using standard MoGraph effectors. “I built a ton of animated texture maps in After Effects and used the shader effector to control the timing and direction of how the polygons transformed,” he explains.

To create the sense of the data organically resolving itself into the head, Parker built a series of thin cubes in a cloner that was controlled by a plain effector with a linear falloff. “As the cubes approached the 3D head, they would grow to full size, and as they continued past the head, they would shrink to zero,” he explains.

“Then, I put that cloner and the 3D head model into a boolean object, so when the cubes raced past the head, the boolean would form a negative space of where the head would be.” He then exported the animation from C4D as an OBJ sequence and imported it into After Effect using the Plexus plug-in (http://aescripts.com/plexus). Parker used Plexus to form the connected web of lines and nodes that animate across the head. All of these rendered layers were then given to Munkowitz who crafted the very dense and elaborate reconstruction imagery.

Mapping the intruder’s whereabouts

Early in the spot, the mystery woman uses her smart phone to pinpoint the location of the intruder. She watches the screen as a wide shot of the city quickly hones down to a red dot that is right outside the door to her building. Munkowitz wanted to do a point cloud representation of the city, but flying to London to take LIDAR scans of the Fishmonger’s Hall building featured in the ad wasn’t in the budget.

Instead, MPC’s 3D department modeled Fishmonger’s Hall and the surrounding London area helped them track and model other elements in the scene. Parker used Thinking Particle’s PMatterWaves node to project particles onto the surface geometry from various light sources, allowing him to control where the stationary particles were sprayed onto the city scene. “I put a spotlights aiming at the front, side and top so I could get a volumetric representation of the city from each X, Y, and Z axis,” Parker explains. “Wherever the light didn't shine, no particles would be created, and this replicated the LIDAR look perfectly.”

The goal was to make the phone appear to be generating data from the geometry in real time, says Munkowitz. “Nav rendered out a bunch of assets for us to work with, and I, again, took it into After Effects and put it together,” Munkowitz explains. “That’s the nice thing about how we work together; he gives me all the raw assets I need to construct a compelling final image.”

These days, the duo is working together on the sci-fi thriller, Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise. “GMUNK and I have got a great rhythm going here,” Parker says. “It’s a great mix of film editors, composers, post viz artists and sound effects mixers all in the same space. If we want to show the director something, we just say, ‘Hey, Joe [Kosinski], look at this.’”

TV SPOT – “Mouse & Cat”

CLIENT                                    

Sony

SYNOPSIS OF SPOT

James Bond breaks into villain’s lair. Villain uses Sony technology to try and better him.

FORMAT

:60/:30/2 x :15

CLIENT CONTACT

Harumi Asai

LAUNCH DATE

Sept/Oct 2012

USAGE

One year from first airdate. Worldwide, National TV, Internet and Non-Broadcast.

W+K PORTLAND

Creative Directors

Chris Mitton / Danielle Flagg

Copywriter

Charlie Gschwend

Art Director

Jimm Lasser

Producer

Jessica Staples

Production Assistant

Kirsten Acheson

Account Team

Trish Adams / Toby Hussey / Suzy Hart

Business Affairs Manager

Teresa Lutz

Traffic

Brian Cook

Executive Creative Directors

Mark Fitzloff / Susan Hoffman

Agency Executive Producer

Ben Grylewicz

PRODUCTION

Production Company

RSA London

Director

Baillie Walsh

Executive Producer

Kai Hsiung

Line Producer

Carla Poole

Director of Photography

John Mathieson

EDITORIAL

Editorial Company

Rock Paper Scissors

Editor

Angus Wall

Assistant Editor:

Austyn Daines

Post Executive Producer

CL Weaver

Post Producer

Justin Kumpata / Cristina Matracia

VFX

VFX Company

MPC Los Angeles

VFX Exec Producer

Asher Edwards

VFX Producer

Megan Kennedy

VFX Supervisors

Paul O’Shea / Bill McNamara

VFX artists

Stefan Smith / Alex Kolasinski / Elad Offer / Lisa Ryan /Jason Heinze / Jessie Amadio / Nikki Mull / Jacob Oomen / Mike Wynd / Yas Koyama

Motion Graphics:

Bradley Munkovitz / Navarro Parker / Joseph Chan

Telecine:

Mark Gethin

MUSIC + SOUND DESIGN

Sound Design Company

Mit Out Sound

Sound Designer

Ren Klyce

Sound Design Exec Producer

Misa Kageyama

Music composer

Guy Farley

Usage

It’s an original piece of music. Music Sales owns the publishing, Sony owns the master.  Sony can use the music worldwide in perpetuity only in the context of the campaign. If they want to use this music for another campaign, we would have to go to Music Sales for permission.

MIX

Mix Company

Eleven

Mixer

Jeff Payne

Producer

Caroline O’Sullivan


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

 

 


November 24, 2012

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