Through rain and shine

A 30-second spot conceived by RPA’s creative team and directed by Brand New School (BNS) director Ben Go offers a refreshing, eye-catching take on traditional commercials showing vehicles being driven.

The agency’s creative brief called for Go and his colleagues to use the storytelling framework of a five-day weather forecast to demonstrate the driving capabilities of the 2011 Honda CR-V, under different conditions.

“Another important part of the idea was to tease viewers with mysterious, giant type, that’s only partially visible in the sky, while the CR-V drives from one set of weather conditions to the next,” Go explained. “In the end, we reveal that the type is part of the weather forecast graphics.”

“This time of year, people all over the country are sitting there looking at some pretty miserable weather forecasts. We wanted to take them inside the world of one of these forecasts and literally show that the CR-V can handle whatever nature offers – a timely and pertinent message,” said Jason Sperling, SVP, Group Creative Director at RPA. “BNS created a beautiful blend of real environment and graphic forecast elements. And did it on a production calendar not much longer than a five-day forecast.”

For this project, Ben Go and his colleagues, including director of photography Bill Bennett, planned out a very ambitious single-day live-action shoot in and around California’s Santa Ynez Airport.

“We really wanted to grab the audience’s attention instantly with the beauty and sophistication of the spot,” explained Go. “To achieve that, we opted for a look that’s both real and graphic, both stylized and photoreal… a good mixture of fact and fantasy. On location, we wet down the road, and had practical snow on it as well… then we composited partly realistic and partly graphic rain and snow in the finished shots. The sunny environment in the original plate we shot was also replaced with different CG environments to match the different weather conditions.”

On location, the BNS team used the ARRI Alexa digital camera system to capture HD source footage. Also, a crane car called The Edge System from Performance Filmworks allowed the crew to capture the moving vehicle from various angles as it appeared in different situations at and near the picturesque airport.

For BNS VFX supervisor Vadim Turchin and many studio artists, the first steps in post were to track the live-action scenes and rotoscope the background and the CR-V. A matte painting was created for the background, which was projected onto 3D geometry in Maya. All the elements were then put together in After Effects, along with additional plates, particle effects, and initial colour correction. Final colour was handled in Autodesk Flame.

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Project Name: Honda CR-V “Forecast”
Length: :30
Debut Date: Feb. 6, 2011 (during Super Bowl XLV)
Film Location: In and around Santa Ynez Airport, Santa Ynez, California.
Main Project Tools: ARRI Alexa digital camera system; Autodesk Maya; Adobe After Effects; Autodesk Flame.
Client: American Honda Motor Co., Inc. – Regional Marketing
Advertising Agency: RPA
Chief Creative Officer: David Smith
Group Creative Director: Joe Baratelli
Group Creative Director: Jason Sperling
Senior Art Director: Hobart Birmingham
Copywriter : Perrin Anderson
Executive Producer: Gary Paticoff
Producer: Phung Vo
Production Company: Brand New School LA
Director & Editor: Ben Go
Director of Photography: Bill Bennett
Executive Producer: Jason Cohon
Line Producer: Jane Van Dyke
Production Supervisor: Kenia Gutierrez
VFX Supervisor: Vadim Turchin
VFX Producer: Amy Russo, Josh Wakefield
Production Designer: Jeff Higinbotham
Matte Painters: Andrew Park, Eric Urquhart
Designers: Tiffany Dantin, Kris Wong, Ken Quemel, Patrick Hruby, Sakona Kong, Wakako Ichinose, Ugo Nonis
3D Animators: John Sadler, Emil Nilsson, Ryan Kirkwood
Compositors: Ergin Kuke, Ryan Kirkwood
Flame Artist: Matt Lydecker
1st A.D.: Jey Wada
Production Coordinator: Italia Piefederici
Assistant Editor: Brenden Mendez
Music Track: Mr. Little Jeans – “Rescue Song (RAC Remix)”


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