German directing talent Nico Kreis and creative production studio Ambassadors commissioned by TBWA\RAAD Dubai produced in a joint effort the film ‘Take no sides’ for the launch of the Nissan Patrol 2017. Visually no cost or expense seems to be spared, thanks to the makers. “We created a virtual city that exceeds imagination.”
The spectacular 60 seconds film was directed by Nico Kreis, who has been nominated by Shots in 2005 for New Director of the Year and winner of the Young Lions Awards.
In the film two rivalling groups, who are getting ready for a clash. Not by any coincidence both of the gangs – one from the city, the other from the desert – drive a 2017 Nissan Patrol. The confrontation ends in a dramatic Mad Max style climax, with the pay-off: “Take No Sides. Nissan Patrol 2017 #DESERTvsCITY”.
The real hero is the product
Ambassadors designed the visual effects to create an apocalyptical feeling. Producer Paul Sluimers recalls, “When we were approached to produce the commercial for Nissan, there were already a few ideas on the table. Together with the agency and Nico Kreis, the director, we came to the result that we have now – an epic commercial that is visual stunning and VFX heavy. The battle between desert and city is the leading narrative, when the Nissan Patrol handles all terrain and does not choose sides. I feel we got that down.”
Every projects has its challenge, this one is no exception. Shooting in the most hot time of the year in Dubai brings complications for the crew and the material. As Sluimers relives, “For example the drones partly malfunctioned because of the heat when we wanted to shoot the city plates. So we decided to design the whole city in CG.”
Generating a storm is not an option in real life, but designing
one in CG is not an easy job either. “Dealing with large scale simulations like the ones in this film is quite challenging. From a technical point of view, there is just never enough computing power to calculate these effects fast enough, but especially creatively, partly because of these slow revision times. Spicing up a giant dust storm to look as dramatic as possible on camera takes a combination of patience, intuition and production experience to get right in typically tight commercial timeframes.” as Mark van Berkel, Lead CG Artist, explains.
Not only the city and storm, but also the car got a VFX touch. “The creation of the reflections is an art on itself and the consumer knows the aesthetics of this car precisely. That definitely formed a challenge when designing full parts in CG. So we are prepared to take bets on which parts are shot in real life and which parts are designed in CG.”
Leading Visual Effects Artist Sil Bulterman and Mark van Berkel are the VFX supervisors on set advising on the spectacular footage that needed to be collected. As Bulterman explains, “A big part of the film is timed around sunset, so together with the D.O.P. Jan Mettler I made a lot of shots at the end or beginning of the day with a special, anamorphic lens. That same lens also defined the look of for example Star Trek or other sci-fi movies.”
The heat is a recurring challenge, as so for Bulterman. “With 55 Degrees the sand becomes so loose that it is hard to correctly choreograph and film the cars, especially with a heavy ‘Russian’ shoot-arm on a roof, but it was definitely worth it. The positive collaboration and trust of the director really shine through in the final result.”
Sluimers adds: “We can be very proud what the team pulled off and I am very happy I could have been a part of that. We are already very much looking forward to the next challenge as we are always hungry for more.”