Ford Escape: “Exterior” | “4 Wheel Drive” | “Lift”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Ntropic
AGENCY: Team Detroit
DIRECTOR: Andrew Sinagra

The above featured FX reel covers the CG aspects of these spots, of which I contributed a few car comps. I had to pull this one from an old Ntropic “making-of,” since I don’t have the original spots. But for the most part, this contains the nuts and bolts of all three.

And although not featured in breakdown fashion, there was a tremendous amount of practical car beauty and road/environment clean-up. Lens flares and unwanted reflections required removal. Tires, rims, headlights, grills, and badges needed further emphasis in detail and brightness. Windows had to be tinted, and body contours needed to be exaggerated.

The various highways received their own fresh coat of asphalt, removing cracks and potholes, as well as a new coat of paint for the dividing lines. Bridges had water stains removed and concrete wall guards had scrapes and scuffs cleaned off.

Surprisingly, out of all the environments, the garage required the most work, transforming the interior space into the cleanest, most organized space on the planet to store a Ford.

Some stylized endcard backgrounds featured cityscape matte paintings and sandy oceanside views. I always thought some of the focal choices used to emphasize the car came off a bit weird, almost like miniature photography. But that’s what was directed.

American Idol: “2012 Ford Music Challenge”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Ntropic
AGENCY: Team Detroit
DIRECTOR: P.R. Brown & Ethan Lader

12 weeks.  12 music videos.  Each custom-themed.  Shoot on Sunday.  Edit on Monday-Tuesday. Compositing and post on Tuesday-Wednesday.  Finish and deliver on Wednesday night.

That’s the production schedule for “American Idol” and Ford’s fourth annual “Music Video Challenge.” To say it’s a short turnaround is a bit of an understatement.

I worked on 8 of the 12 weeks, with Lead Flame Artist MB Emigh, as well as additional Flame Aritsts Chris Moore, Chris DeCristo, and Rob Hubbard.  Each week was different, depending on the theme: fairy tale, zodiac, ghosts, school, magic, giants, etc.

One week would necessitate heavy greenscreen compositing, making the Idols look like giants; the next week creating stylized treatments, transforming the Idols into astrological signs or magical fantasy figures. In short, a lot of hard work with no time, lots of creativity, and a reliance on pretty much every trick in the book.