Xbox Kinect: “What If”

ROLE: Lead Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
CLIENT: Microsoft
AGENCY: Twofifteen McCann

At the outset, Xbox Kinect’s “What If” spots seemed fairly straightforward work. Most of the comps were being assembled in Nuke. Besides finishing, the only budgeted Flame work was crafting a “look” on top of those comps for a virtual room. But once the clients’ signed off on the “look,” this necessitated modifying the pipeline, where numerous compositing tasks would be shifted to Flame.

The spots, five in all with more than 50 additional versions for international markets, feature a host who gestures his way through a myriad of environments via the virtual room – living room, disco, business park, jungle, underwater, etc. The intention here is a metaphorical representation of the Kinect’s functionality.

The challenges were twofold. First, designing the “look” of the virtual room. Are the room’s surfaces projections or LCD’s? Are they rear or front projected? Are they reflective? Do they have texture? The solution had to work with approximately 20 different rooms. Second, the host. Shot on greenscreen, the host was lit incorrectly. His face was underexposed. His chest had a giant hotspot. His ruffled clothes caught light in all the wrong places. Extensive color correction and clean-up was required.