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HomeIndustry SectorCommercialsChicago's Optimus Uses FilmLight's Baselight to Craft an American Icon

Chicago’s Optimus Uses FilmLight’s Baselight to Craft an American Icon


Optimus uses FilmLight's Baselight as part of its workflow for commercials, including this ad for American Family Insurance.
A new campaign for American Family Insurance evokes the company’s association with heartland values through finely crafted images of factory workers, motorcycle riders, newborn babies and kids diving into swimming pools. Conceived by Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago, the campaign involved a seven-day shoot in Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan. Post work was completed at Optimus, Chicago, through a workflow anchored by FilmLight‘s Baselight color grading system.

Principal photography was recorded with an Arri Alexa camera, with some scenes captured on 35mm film. At Optimus, original production elements initially went through a dailies color pass, performed by Ken Wald on a Baselight Transfer system. “It worked beautifully,” recalled Optimus associate colorist Joel Signer. “We applied dailies color and made DNXHD files for editorial. We were getting camera elements every day and were able to turn them around at faster than real time so that our editor, Mike Berg, could immediately begin cutting.”

After the spot was cut and conformed, it was moved to a Baselight EIGHT system for final grading. “We performed the grade with the agency’s creative team in attendance, and they were able to see everything in the context of the cut,” Signer explained. “To be able to watch the cut in the grading suite is one of the great benefits of Baselight. We’ve been using this workflow for three years and our clients have gotten very used to working this way. They appreciate it very much. They don’t have to wait for us to switch reels or worry about what format was used to record the material.”

From a creative perspective, the post team’s goal was to bring out the iconic quality of the imagery. “Every shot is a hero shot,” Signer said. “Our job was to make it all look great.”

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