Stink director Adam Berg recently teamed up with MPC for a video game trailer to help launch “Assassins Creed IV, Black Flag.” The 90-second film, conceived by Sid Lee, will be released in cinemas and on television through multiple markets, promoting the hugely popular game to a global audience.
The spot blends epic live action with complex VFX techniques spanning a range of disciplines. The project called for impressive set builds, including a to-scale ship and a 3,000 cubic meter water tank, as well as a cast of around 100 stunt men.
MPC’s team, led by VFX artist Franck Lambertz, collaborated on planning for the three day shoot and then completed the subsequent VFX over a four week schedule. Led by Berg, the plan was to capture as much of the action in camera and then integrate VFX.
This is the second collaboration between Lambertz and Berg in 2013, following the VFX-fuelled Samsung spot “King Of TV City.”
“Adam was fantastic to work with. He really understands VFX,” said Lambertz. “Adam chose us to help him create a gritty, yet realistic spot that keeps the authenticity of the game intact. The interaction of the live action footage between the CG and 2D environments is paramount in this film, and we have a high level of detail taking place in both the foreground, mid-ground and in the distance as we pan-up through the ship. The gamers really know their stuff, and they’ll have their eyes peeled for any mistakes or incorrect details.”
During pre-production, MPC created a full 3D pre-vis of the ship and the concurrent camera move. This then allowed Berg more freedom to direct his mammoth cast on set.
The opening scene of an eerie underwater environment was filmed in a tank, purpose built on set. The floating men were captured on five different plates, which were then composited together before the scene was enhanced with light effects, debris and bubbles. The hull of the boat was created in CG and can be seen as the camera transitions upwards.
The remaining high-action scenes above water were achieved with a mix of in-camera action, along with integrated shot and 2D elements. The intensity of the action required separate plates, using greenscreen and the practical set, which were then composited together. Matte painting was used throughout for set extensions and boat environments, while the addition of CG fog and smoke elements give the impression that the camera is in the thick of the action.
MPC’s 3D team, led by Fabian Frank used Side Effects Software‘s Houdini to create the realistic particle and water effects from scratch. This was a new tool set for the London team, which employed the software for the huge amount of 3D simulated effects in the film.
The final, wide shot was created by MPC’s in-house concept artists who used matte painting to create the stunning scene, complete with burning ships, palm trees and a cloud-filled sky.
For the music Stink approached Creaminal, a Paris based agency that represents a wide roster of labels and artists. The company came up with New York-based musician Son Lux who had recently scored music for the 2012 film Looper.