At the recent UK Music Video Awards, Moving Picture Company’s Senior Colourist Paul Harrison won the Best Telecine Award for his work on Paolo Nutini’s promo ‘Candy’, directed by Nez at Colonel Blimp. It was one of several opportunities MPC has had lately to demonstrate its varied skills.
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Paul worked with Director of Photography Eric Madisson to create the promo, trying to enhance the vibrant colours while maintaining the feeling of the film. The rich colours and bright Cuban day had to be balanced to create a smooth transition through the dusk and night. Other MPC nominations included Best VFX for Coldplay 'Life in Technicolor ii,' Depeche Mode 'Wrong' and Monkey ‘Monkey Bee’.
Paul Harrison joined the company’s Colour Grading team earlier this year, led by Director of Telecine Jean-Clement Soret. Since then, Paul has worked on projects including Evian 'Skating Babies’, Strongbow 'Final Push’, Fosters and Carling.
Meanwhile, dom&nic have directed Kerry LowLow’s latest commercial ‘Mouse,’ featuring an acrobatic super stunt mouse defying thousands of mouse traps. MPC created the fully CG mouse and 50,000 traps. MPC relied on their own proprietary tools in the development of the spot, and a Nuke compositing system was used to bring all the components together.
dom&nic needed MPC to create a convincing photorealistic mouse in a two part story. In the first part the mouse had to feel very naturalistic, instinctive and cautious as it attempted to pass through the thousands of traps while in the second part the mouse had to acquire acrobatic strength, jumping, spinning and narrowly avoiding death.
The job started when a pet mouse and some wooden traps arrived at MPC and became part of the 3D team for a few weeks. The mouse helped the artists develop the look of Kerry LowLow’s CG hero and to familiarise them with rodent movements and facial expressions. Reference pictures were taken during the shoot and used as the basis for the perilous stunts.
The team led by Jake Mengers animated the hero character, retaining a realistic look for the first part of the commercial before his transformation to stunt mouse for the second half, while keeping the realism of the piece overall. Maya was used for animation with in-house tool ‘Furtility’ grooming the fur and Renderman and Tickle for the rendering.
One of the main technical challenges was animating the thousands of CG mouse traps seen snapping and colliding with each other in each shot. To achieve this physics based ‘domino effect,’ Ashley Bernes wrote a series of event based simulation scripts to automate the traps snapping behaviour based on incoming collisions. This worked together with another of MPC’s in-house tools PAPI to create the action shot.
The 2D team led by Stephen Newbold worked with Nuke to composite the 3D heavy shots efficiently. Because the directors wanted control over all camera moves in post, Nuke was chosen because it permits working with huge resolutions and enables the virtual 2D camera moves which zoom right into the mouse. The CG mouse and traps were all composited and graded in a linear workspace using multiple passes. Extensive clean-up and floor replacements was also carried out. This is MPC’s first project done exclusively in Nuke. Jean Clement Soret added the master grade.
After three months of hard work and creative collaboration, dom&nic found it hard to tell what was in the camera and what was 3D. The spot will be on air in the UK from 14 October 2009. www.moving-picture.com