Santa Monica-based production company King & Country (K&C) recently produced a :30 TV commercial for Motel 6 and ad agency The Richards Group. The VFX-intensive spot, entitled “Room to Room,” highlights Motel 6’s nationwide renovations through a seamless room-to-room journey.
Led by Efrain Montanez, director and partner at K&C, the crew shot on location at a Motel 6 in Carson, Calif. and at Universal Studios in Hollywood, which afforded them space for large room builds, as well as turntable and motion control rigs for a multitude of setups. From a production perspective, the challenge was capturing dynamic, expansive camera moves, such as the 360-degree shots, while maintaining a cohesive look.
“It was important that the renovations not appear intrusive to potential travelers staying at Motel 6s across the country,” said Montanez. “This was where our ‘in-the-nick-of-time’ gags came into place. The characters are oblivious to the changes as the camera catches them happening right before they interact with the rooms, so we don’t give the impression that renovations are ongoing.”
In addition, to ensure that the end tag fit into the spot, K&C also created a dollhouse lock-up showing a cross-section of four rooms with guests tucking in for the night for Motel 6, which the client will use for other branding needs in the campaign.
Montanez credits K&C’s strong relationship with The Richards Group for facilitating open communication and a smooth collaboration.
“We have a great creative flow and established trust with their team,” said Montanez. “They came to us early on, which enabled us to have an extensive previs process and anticipate any surprises that might arise before and during the shoot. Pre-production was vital to the success of this spot and we were able to plan every detail. Using previs cameras, we programmed the motion control rigs during the shoot and modeled everything to scale, which allowed us to work efficiently on set.”