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One Small Sweat for Man


Framestore recently collaborated with BBH, Biscuit London, Blink and Caviar Content to create an out-of-this-world ad campaign that promotes a competition from Axe where consumers can win a trip into space.

The campaign launched with an action movie-style spot, “Fireman,” where a hero fireman saves a beautiful lady from a burning building only to be upstaged by an average Joe dressed as an astronaut. The mission statement comes in “Buzz,” which sees Buzz Aldrin tell Axe fans how to win this astronomical trip of a lifetime. The third spot, entitled “Earth,” is a completely CG commercial, directed in-house at Framestore, which shows the Axe pack rocketing through space on its way to earth.

“Fireman” was shot in Barcelona and directed through Biscuit London by Tim Godsall. Framestore created fire effects for the spot. Led by VFX supervisor Chris Redding and CG supervisor Dragos Stefan, the in-camera inferno was enhanced with a VFX fireball that blasts through a door in a cloud of exploding debris.

Redding created the fireball in Flame using elements from effects rolls before embedding the effect with smoke, dust and fragments of door splinters. “Our main challenge here was in getting the scale of the fire right,” explained Redding. “It had to be big enough to be dramatic but tempered enough to be realistic and not destroy the heroic fireman.”

Framestore’s Simon Bourne was responsible for color grading the spot. “We didn’t just want yellow warmth from the fire to wash over everything. We felt additional colors and contrast would create a real cinematic richness, much like Back Draft.” Once the grade had been set, Bourne did a transatlantic remote grade with Godsall in Framestore’s New York office.

“Earth” was directed by Framestore’s Redding, Mark Beardall and technical director, Rob Harrington. Together, they created an entire galaxy, complete with asteroid belts, planets and comets. Working to the brief of creating a faster-paced version of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Redding mapped out a basic animatic in Flame before handing over to Rob Harrington who used Maya to model CG pack variants and planetary elements. These were then laid out in hi-res over the animatic. Mary Swinnerton developed the meteors, which were rendered in CG. Flame was used to create the interstellar dust and to imbue the packs with a sense of motion that gave them more of a rocket-like feel. This was enhanced with parallax effects like trails and fast moving background elements. Although the spot only runs for 15-seconds, 64 iterations were required to cover pack and brand name variants – work which totaled nearly six minutes’ worth of hi-res animation.

The campaign also features Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, who lets us know that “The Axe Apollo Space Academy [AASA] is looking for regular people like you to go into space. If selected, you’ll be sent to our space camp in Florida for rigorous astronaut training. The top recruits will then be rocketed into sub-orbit in a SXC spacecraft.”

For “Buzz,” directed by Caviar Content’s Nick Jasenovec, Framestore, graded stock footage for consistency and the company’s motion graphics team designed and animated the AASA logo.

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Vicon Introduces Mobile Mocap at SIGGRAPH

Motion capture systems developer Vicon is previewing a futuristic new “Mobile Mocap” technology at SIGGRAPH 2011 in Vancouver. Moving mocap out of the lab and into the field, Vicon's Mobile Mocap system taps several new technologies, many years in the making. At the heart of Mobile Mocap is a very small lipstick-sized camera that enables less obtrusive, more accurate facial animation data. The new cameras capture 720p (1280X720) footage at 60 frames per second. In addition, a powerful processing unit synchronizes, stores, and wirelessly transmits the data, all in a tiny wearable design.

Beowulf and 3-D