BigStar Launches Into Fall
For BigStar, the goal was to create a visual package that embodied the idea of redemption in a powerful and dynamic way.
"We spent a lot of time developing the story of combat and salvation by using universal symbolism throughout to poetically bring the viewer through different events," says Norton, who directed the 10 chefs during a one-day shoot. "These contestants are facing one of the greatest challenges of their career to become an Iron Chef. We visually conveyed this by showing them as larger-than-life personalities surrounded by a harsh and unfriendly environment. The fire and steel added to the drama, heightening the sense of conflict, while the phoenix rising from the ashes became a metaphor for their redemption."
BigStar shot on the RED Epic at 120 fps at 4K, which enabled them to take advantage of every simple movement in-camera and create a lot of drama through ramp-ups and slow-motion. Norton and his team immediately began to build textures and research background plates for the environments. Norton says the trick was to figure out how to create a fantastical world that was cinematic yet felt convincing and real.
An even bigger challenge was the phoenix, which involved extensive modeling and motion tests, and flame simulations. The realistic action of the flames was ultimately created from a combination of FumeFX, 3D Studio Max, and After Effects.
"The team at Food Network was just amazing," concludes Norton. "Genuine and enthusiastic creative partners who entrusted us to create a rich visual experience that would blow viewers away. This was all about the cinematic production value and going after the biggest effects. Being able to handle the concepting, live-action and post was key to creating a truly successful campaign. We had a blast applying all of our thinking and creativity to this project."