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Red Produce A Crowd of 1.2 Million For Tennents

Posted by: Bubble & Squeak

Date added: Thu 22 Jul 2004

Red Post production has just completed VFX work on Tennents Lager 90 second Cinema commercial.

Red Produce A Crowd of 1.2 Million For Tennents

Client: Tennents
Production Co: MTP
Director: Martin Wedderburn
Producer: Simon Mallinson
VFX: Chris Mortimer
VFX Producer: Rebekah Hay
Compositors: Chris Mortimer, Gary Brown
Matte artists: Alex Guri Chris Major

Dubbed the 'Big Gig' the spot follows groups of young people as they head toward an impromptu concert headlined by the band 'Franz Ferdinand'. The groups turn into crowds, the crowds get bigger, until a massive audience of over 1.2 million is revealed at the end of the film.

The challenge for Red's head of VFX Chris Mortimer was to plan the execution of the various shots in the script given that budgetary requirements had limited the production to 100 extras. This meant as many as 20 passes were required for some shots. The sheer quantity of passes required eventually negated the use of film and it was decided to go the HD route. The band actually performed to only 100 people.

To add to that, the whole film had a 10-day shoot scheduled in 4 cities (Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen) and all at night. The tight shooting schedule allowed only the most minimal lighting and greenscreen deployment.

This provided tricky conditions for multiple pass compositing, but there was at least the bonus of having no film weave to contend with. Red overcame the biggest of the issues with many long hours of rotoscoping used to separate the passes of crowd from the background in order to build up the layers.

Two of the final shots were helicopter top shots. These required a crowd that seemed to be the 1.2million people who have attended T in the Park gigs over the years. The only practical option was to generate the crowds in 3D. Red worked in close collaboration with Redvision who have their own proprietary crowd replication software called 'Legion'.

The shots were filmed with a reference group spread around the frame. Lamps were used as tracking references. Tracking was done at Red using Boujou bullet. The tracking data was exported in Maya format to be used by the 3D team.

Final master grading was done in Inferno* with Chris Mortimer

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