Snapshot: "Lexus High Bank"

By Elina Shatkin

In-House Visual Effects Supervisor: Simon Brewster: A52

The visual effects-heavy Lexus "High Bank" spot features a Lexus ES-300 driving on its own elevated freeway lane through a fictional city. Lexus wanted to convey the idea that even in the middle of the city, driving can be a private experience. The spot was approached using live-action backgrounds shot primarily from a helicopter. A miniature freeway was then built and photographed by Vision Crew Unlimited to match those plates. Finally, the car was shot on a velodrome race track and composited into the scene by A52.

"The execution of this spot was very challenging because we didn't have as much access to motion-control as we would have liked. I usually try to shoot the least controllable elements first so we began by shooting the aerial plates of dowtown L.A. Then Vision Crew Unlimited built the miniature -- a J-shaped piece of track. The track design was based on the architecture and geometry of the Olympic Velodrome, where we planned to shoot the real car. The miniatures were then shot although we only used one day of motion control. After that we shot the car at the Velodrome which allowed us to begin the compositing and digital effects process. Simon Brewster worked on the stylistic look: the tone, contrast, and forced depth-of-field while Dennis Gauthier created the track extensions and enhancements."

Dan Radford,
Freelance Visual Effects Sup.

"One of the biggest challenges was tracking the car. Because of the angle and motion, it couldn't be done in inferno* so we did it manually, frame by painstaking frame. Also, it was very difficult to get the car on the model road, which was done mostly with 3D extensions. The spot required an incredible amount of work, not least of all because it involved so many different aspects. At one point we had 6 crews working at once: live-action, miniatures, 3D, compositing, digital matte painting, and motion control."

Simon Brewster,
In-House Visual Effects Sup.


Client: Team One Advertising, El Segundo, CA

Producer: Beth Hagen

Production Company: Ritts-Hayden, Hollywood, CA

Executive Producer: Bill Hayden

Producer: Krysta Montagna

Director: Lance Kelleher

Director of Photography: Stephan Czapsky

Production Designer: Darren Gilford

Post-Production Company: A52, Hollywood, CA

Executive Producer: Liz Roewe

Visual Effects Producer: Victoria Alonso

Freelance Visual Effects Sup.: Dan Radford

In-House Visual Effects Sup.: Simon Brewster

3D Artist: Dennis Gauthier

2D Artists: Tim Byrd, Scott Johnson

Production Manager: Susan Thurmond

Miniatures Company: Vision Crew Unlimited, Los Angeles, CA

Executive Producer: Evan Jacobs

Director of Photography: Douglas Miller

Lead Modelmaker: John Hoffman


Hardware/Software: Discreet Logic inferno*, Silicon Graphics Octane, Houdini by Side Effects