Stardust Directs Cinematic Journey for the Ford 2011 Mustang

May 10, 2010 12:55 am

Tags: Autodesk, Maya, motion graphics, Stardust

Directed by Stardust's Jake Banks, TV and Cinema Spot for Team Detroit Fuses Seductive Camera Work and Aggressive Type Treatments


Santa Monica, CA - May 3, 2010 - Bi-coastal creative production studio Stardust was tapped by ad agency Team Detroit to launch the new Ford 2011 Mustang with a gorgeously cinematic spot for TV and cinema. Stardust's Jake Banks directed the live-action commercial, titled "_PG." The spot highlights the 2011 Mustang's speed, bold lines and fuel efficiency through seductive camera work, motion type and an authentic aesthetic. The :30 version aired Wed., April 28th during American Idol on FOX, while the :60 premiered in cinemas on April 30th.


Banks and his team at Stardust were chosen to produce "_PG" because their ability to shoot, edit, animate and rock the visual effects gave them the upper hand over the competition.

Said Team Detroit Executive Vice President, Group Creative Director Eric McClellan, "Jake and Stardust have made an arresting cinematic spot about an American icon. It's pretty hard to impress Mustang people -- there's already so much love for this car -- but when they see this, they're like 'Šthat's so cool.' Mustang has always been an object of desire and deserves to be treated that way. Jake gave us a look that is both connected to the car's roots and makes it surprisingly new. The special sauce is the way the spot's gorgeous visuals also punch out an important piece of news -- 31 MPG, 305 horse power in a V6 engine -- and do so in a totally organic way. The collaboration between Ford, Team Detroit and Stardust has dropped something kick ass into the conversation."


Set to the soulful rock Band of Skulls track "Light Of The Morning," the spot follows the 2011 Mustang through one of its habitats, the urban jungle. Shots of the car captured in motion, from rooftops and even as a reflection in a Chinese restaurant window, are interchanged with views of the city environment. CG type accented by gleaming light effects reinforces the Mustang's "31 MPG" and its "Primal" and "Untamed" qualities. Close-up shots of the car's interior reveal the Mustang's customization options, such as the available Navigation System. The spot continues to play with light. Reflections off skyscraper facades, flashes from the Mustang's grill and hubcaps, and the blinding sun as the car exits a tunnel give the commercial a lazy Sunday feel and compliments the spot's earthy color palette.


"My goal was to capture the car as if it were a character we're following through a story and to maintain a sense of rawness and authenticity to the footage," said Banks. "Our concept was to capture the car, as opposed to construct a series of shots. Team Detroit didn't want another slick and glossy clichéd car spot and were willing to push it creatively, which made working with the brand team so fulfilling. The group that was pulled together, from the agency, to my DP, editor, VFX and animation team, music and sound folks, to the stunt drivers and type shoot crew -- everyone was amazing and shared in the same creative vision."


Banks spent four days in March filming in various parts of San Francisco, a location chosen for its ability to embody the urban vibe of any city. The picture car shoot involved three 35mm ARRI cameras operating simultaneously. These were attached to a Russian Arm on a pursuit vehicle, on a motorcycle chase car, with a wide-lens camera planted on rooftops to capture the footage below. A Stardust team of 15 worked on the spot over the course of a month and a half, with a lot of time spent in pre-production and upfront during the concepting phase.


To give the typography a unique look, Banks opted for an old fashioned type shoot, capturing natural light effects using multiple lenses on 35mm film and then warping and deforming the effects along with digital type in the 3D package Autodesk Maya. "_PG" was finished on the 2011 Autodesk Flame.

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Stardust's "_PG." spot for the 2011 Ford Mustang

About Stardust Studios

Stardust is a visually driven production company with offices in Santa Monica and New York that specializes in design, motion graphics and live-action. Its collective of designers, illustrators, animators, VFX artists, directors and filmmakers continually redefine creativity for commercial, on-air, music video and experiential projects. Led by Founder and Creative Director Jake Banks, Stardust is characterized by an authentic voice and willingness to experiment. The studio has worked with the globe's top ad agencies and brands on projects for HP, Nike, Sony, AT&T, Honda, Shell, Nissan, Ford, IBM, Nokia, Adidas, BMW, NYSE, LG and Microsoft, among many others. For more information, please visit or call Paul Abatemarco at 1-310-399-6047, or Mike Eastwood at 1-212-334-7300.


Client: Ford Mustang
Title: _PG
Length: 60-seconds
Airdate: 4/28 TV; 4/30 cinemas

Agency: Team Detroit, Inc.
EVP, Chief Creative Officer: Toby Barlow
EVP, Group Creative Director: Eric McClellan
Creatives: Adam Hull, Nick Flora, Ron Schlessinger, Arty Tan
Producer: Bob Rashid

Production Company: Stardust / Santa Monica, CA
Director: Jake Banks
Executive Producer: Paul Abatemarco
Head of Production: Josh Libitsky
Line Producer: Paul Ure
Director of Photography: Max Malkin

Design & Animation Company: Stardust / Santa Monica, CA
Post / Editorial Producer: Alex More
Designers: Neil Tsai, Gretchen Nash, Bill Bak, Ling Feng, Juliette Park,
Angela Ko
Compositors: Alan Latteri, Chris Howard
Animators: Jason Lowe, Giancarlo Rondani, Joseph Andrade, Kevin Ta, James Yi

Type/Element shoot: Stokes-Kohne Associates Inc.

Editorial Company: Cut + Run
Editor: Frank Effron
Post / Editorial Producer: Alex More

Telecine: New Hat
Colorist: Beau Leon

Music Search Company: Agoraphone
Music Supervisor: Dawn Sutter-Madell & Jasmine Flott
Song: Band of Skulls "Light Of The Morning"

Sound Design & Mix: 740 Sound Design
Executive Producer: Scott Ganary
Sound Designer : Andrew Tracy
Sound Designer : Eddie Kim
Mixer : Mike Franklin

Vehicle Drivers: Brent Fletcher, Kelly Hine

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Article Comments

deemarie ( posted at 5:50AM Tue, 11 May 2010

Thanks so much for posting this article. Everyone who knows me, also knows how much I hate watching commercials ... Yet, I was glued to the TV when I first saw this one air. Not just because I own a 2007 silver Mustang (ok, I'm sure that was part of the reason), but also because of the sheer beauty of the commerical.

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