Toronto-based visual effects studio Dashing recently delivered a new five-spot Hyundai campaign via agency Innocean Worldwide. The campaign shows off the inner-engineering of Hyundai’s vehicles as the cars cruise around a massive interior test track.
Each spot features a Hyundai vehicle cruising through a surreally lit postmodern test facility as intricate graphics showing off the automobiles’ machinations spring onto the screen. “Veloster” displays the car’s dual-clutch eco-shift system as it travels through a sheet of liquid light. “Sonata” shows off the car’s hybrid technology as it travels thousands of miles, and “Tucson” examines the inner workings of the SUV’s suspension as it glides over a bumpy road. The vehicles travel towards a light and emerge from a suburban garage door, as the narrator summarizes the journey, “Just one of the engineering advances we’ve brought from our test facility to yours.”
“It was inspiring to contribute to something conceptually strong – thanks to Innocean – that needed to be real and functional, without seeming too technical, sci-fi or overly designed, as many car spots can be,” noted Dashing founder and creative director Robert Moggach. “Innocean brought together an impressive team to design the foundation of this world we were creating. Production designer John Beard (Brazil, Last Temptation of Christ) and director of photography Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi, Tron, Benjamin Button) confidently set the tone early on. Dashing was responsible for creating the entire world around these cars. Having a truly filmic foundation meant the CG needed to match that natural, cinematic energy.”
Dashing was originally approached by Innocean to develop CG tutorials to aid in conveying Innocean’s creative ideas to the client. “Gary Westgate (creative director) spearheaded the creative for this project and knowing there was going to be a heavy visual effects component, he wanted us involved early on to guarantee the concepts were taking advantage of the creative tools we had to offer and achievable within a demanding schedule,” said Moggach. “From concept and design, to fully photo-real CGI production and compositing finesse, they trusted our input and wanted to collaborate proactively.”
Dashing employs an agile approach to VFX, working remotely with skilled artists around the world. “There’s a lot of hype about this new paradigm of VFX production, but the reality is there hasn’t been a real working example in advertising and certainly not at this scale,” explained Moggach. “Small teams of creative experts truly can deliver incredible results if you give them the right tools. This project distilled the fact that exceptional, creative visual effects depend on the individual artists, the digital craftsmen – not a big established brand.”
Faced with a tight timeframe on such a large project, Dashing had to streamline the process. Previs and storyboarding took place simultaneously in studio and on location and continued during the seven-day shoot. “We had dedicated tracking and previs teams on set. Editor Chris Van Dyke (School) was with us as well. Because we shot digitally, we were able to have edits approved and tracking and rotoscoping started within days and even hours of the shoot,” said Moggach. “The team was assembled from artists worldwide based on their individual expertise, and as needed, we brought them to the production to guarantee a smooth collaboration. From plates to delivery, we delivered almost 100 shots of full CGI environments, design and animation in eight weeks.”
“As an artist-driven company, we believe that the best work comes from senior artists at the top of their game – give them the best possible tools, and set them loose,” said Moggach. “With this as a foundation and a progressive infrastructure in place we can rapidly scale up for a project like this, and then scale right down to pursue the next creative goal.”