When King and Country’s Motel 6 “Metamorphosis” spot hit the web a while back (above), it made a big splash. With nearly 1,400 likes on Vimeo, it put King and Country in the spotlight (again) of our little community. They were kind enough to share some exclusive making of action with Motionographer and answer a few questions for us.
Making of “Metamorphosis”
From the creative and technical standpoints, what were the most challenging aspects of this project?
RICK GLEDHILL (K&C DIRECTOR):
This spot was a perfect fit for our studio, We are a soup to nuts company that directs, produces and edits the live action for all of our spots in house at K&C and that’s where our strength lies, in combining that live action with motion graphics, animation and VFX . We go in armed with a fully realized previs, leaving nothing to chance. We know during our shoots what can and can’t be done in post so we can direct with great efficiency. All of this prep and knowledge behind the camera allows us the necessary time to really focus on the performances.
From both a technical and creative standpoint, the most challenging aspect of this spot was to transition through five decades in just 30 seconds. It involved a deft blend of VFX, slick edits, and camera trickery. From CG to CG car changes to hidden wipes and quick camera moves, we called upon a variety of old and new school techniques.
Achieving the precise period feel was not only reliant on what we see within the world, but the lens through which we see it. So we designed a slightly different film look for each decade. Color, grain, and lighting subtly change to help the audience quickly access which time period they are in. Nostalgia is one of the strongest and most evocative devices. Everyone feels it, appreciates it and reacts to it. We all remember a certain decade for certain things, so as we transform from the 1960s through to present day, we layered the commercial with many details, nuances, and nods to help trigger those memories.
The cars played a huge role in the spot, and although they were all photographed, 3D versions were also painstakingly recreated in Maya, inside and out, to give us complete control over transitioning them through the decades.
The compositing team led by K&C art director Jon Lorenz did a stellar job in getting the lighting, texturing, and colors to perfectly match the original cinematography. We rendered the 3D from Maya V-ray, and generated some stunning results for our compositors to work with in After Effects. Having our Maya artists render out UV passes allowed the compositors to take a 2D texture image and re-map onto whatever was rendered from 3D, adding back in all the detail to the aging body work.
Do you have a favorite shot or moment?
My favorite shots are the clothing changes, because I know what it took to pull those off. They were planned down to the smallest detail. The interior shots of mom and dad transforming from the 60s to 70s involved shooting everything separately so we could time everyone’s performance perfectly. The camera was locked off as we shot the son and daughter individually in both wardrobes, then we shot mom in both wardrobes, then dad and finally the moving background plates were shot as well as an interior exposure. In total, 11 plates were captured just for those two shots, and that’s before they were tracked and recreated in 3D so we could transition the inside of the cars, add hair growing on dad’s face and extend his collars.
Overall, the presence of iconic imagery from each decade is abundant and we had a tremendous amount of fun in the process. The key to making the spot enjoyable to watch again and again was filling it with many references – some obvious, some more intricate that you might not even notice on the first viewing. Each time you revisit the spot, you’ll find something new. I hope this behind-the-scenes shot breakdown sheds a little light on how we achieved some of the key shots.
What’s next for King and Country?
JERRY TORGERSON (K&C EXEC PRODUCER):
We have gained a lot of momentum with Motel 6 and our recent Ford F150 work. We have been pitching and winning some great new accounts and have had the good fortune of working with some amazing people. We have gone to great lengths to build a super talented core team at K&C that has expanded in every direction and are excited to showcase some new projects very soon.
Project Title: Motel 6 “Metamorphasis”
Running Time: :30
Debut Date: 04/09/12
Client: Motel 6
Branding Agency: The Richards Group
Brand Creative Group Head/Writer: Chris Smith
Brand Creative/Art Director: Peter Everitt
Producer: Sheri Cartwright
Production Company: King and Country
Director: Rick Gledhill
Executive Producer: Jerry Torgerson
Line Producer: Gary Kout
Post Producer: Paul Winze
Director of Photography: Jordan Valenti
Editorial, Animation, VFX: King and Country
Editor: Andrew Maggio
Art Director: Jon Lorenz
VFX Supervisor: Bryant Reif
Telecine Company: New Hat
Colorist: Bob Festa
Sound Effects Company: Lime Studios
Audio Mixer: Loren Silber