The spot captures favorite Ray Ban sunglasses moments (a rock performance, first kiss, bungee jump, etc.) in close-up with the lenses as a transitioning device between scenes compliments of seamless visual effects by The Syndicate, who delivered a Hi-Def 50i master from the original color 35mm footage that was exquisitely graded by Syndicate telecine artist Beau Leon.
DP Paul Cameron (Man on Fire) employed a snorkelled macro lens mounted on a huge techno crane to capture a series of incredible action close-ups, each of which climaxes in a full-screen view of Ray Ban lenses then dissolves into the following scene. "While there are many visual effects, they are subtle, the key being the artistic interpretation of the reflections in the lenses, and as reflections are highly ambiguous The Syndicate artists stylized them to create a great look and flow," noted Umberger.
However, as each shot takes the viewer incredibly close to the action, the objects, glasses, camera and the crane cast shadows and threw reflections that demanded meticulous removal in post. Once each shot was cleansed of shadows and errant reflections, The Syndicate team build the transitions.
Because each camera move is one constant pull, one coming after another, it was crucial that the effects maintain momentum while creating a beautiful effect. Dealing with two overlapping moments required precise timing in and out of the shot simultaneously. As one reflection faded away, another comes into focus to keep the viewer's attention on the beautiful effect of the design. However, on the other hand it is crucial to move into the current moment quickly as the upcoming action comes into view. Each transition required précis timing from the moment it fades away to the moment coming into being, a complicated technical process.
The tricky part was to create a sense of flow when everything was filmed from a camera crane, without motion control, giving every shot a different speed. To achieve the desired continuity, The Syndicate had to rebuild many of the camera moves and transitions, manually creating environments and choosing camera moves in Flame.
And of course, there were a couple of especially tricky scenes. "In the tattoo scene we move from a mirror, and obviously you cannot shoot into a mirror, which was replaced with a reflection plate (the mirror itself was actually a greenscreen) then comped the reflection into the reflection plate and back into the mirror to match the pull back.
The bungee jump sequence presented another interesting challenge. Here, a huge exterior greenscreen was placed before a 15-foot tall jumping platform, with crash pads on the bottom to soften the jumper's landing. Umberger, who has an aversion to heights, handled the second unit and scouted dozens of rooftops to determine the proper landing angle. The scene was then completed with the composition of a giant matte painting of the Buenos Aires skyline that was created in Flame.
The spot, which adds a bit of color to the close in the form of a red Ray Ban logo, is now airing in Europe and in Times Square.
Advertising Agency: TBWA/Chait/Day, Cutwater, USA
Broadcast producer: Jennifer Golub
Creative director: Chuck McBride
Production company: HSI
Director: Michael Haussman
Head of production: Michael McQuhae
Director of photography: Paul Cameron
Effects & On-line facility: The Syndicate
VFX supervisor: Les Umberger
VFX producer: Kim Evans
Flame artists: Les Umberger, Kevin Prendiville, Verdi Sevenhuysen
Roto: Mike Ek
Colorist: Beau Leon
Executive producer: Kenny Solomon
Editorial services: Plank
Editor: Cathy Bull
Released: May 2007