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Framestore Navigates for Barclays

For BBH's latest Barclays spot, Framestore had the mighty task of creating a photoreal CG environment where the Tate Modern meets Battersea Power Station.

Press Release from Framestore

For BBH's latest Barclays spot, Framestore had the mighty task of creating a photoreal CG environment where the Tate Modern meets Battersea Power Station. The VFX team also had to turn the set's flat track into a never-ending and undulating trail. And it was all completed in just five snowy weeks.

Directed by Outsider's Dom & Nic, the commercial uses the droll tones of Stephen Merchant to explain the ad's track analogy for the flexibility of a Barclays tracker mortgage. All the action takes the form of a bluescreen-filmed couple navigating a track, with the surrounding environment built entirely in CG.

Framestore's brief was to build a photoreal CG environment that felt real, clean and contemporary but with nods to historic architecture. So style references included St Pancras Station and Tate Modern. It was also important that the CG environment be designed to retain detail and brightness within the comp. The VFX team experimented with degrees of colour and sharpness to strike the correct level of believability. Lighting required a particular amount of attention and R&D in order to create the directors' desired ambience of light appearing through the roof with the sun hitting the top of the wall.

The set's horizontal track was made to undulate in post by emulating the angle, movement and lens of the camera to give the incline and decline of the final spot. Framestore's VFX supervisors - Anthony Smith, Mike McGee and Simon Clarke - comped on-set by taking a live feed from the camera using Conduit. Framestore's 32-shot pre-vis and tech pre-vis helped ensure line-ups were perfect; especially helpful during camera angle and set-up changes.

Framestore's Dave Ludlam graded the commercial, helping to seal the film's photographic look whilst marrying the final CG and Flame composites.

As if this production wasn't challenging enough, the shoot took place during a period of severe snowfall. But the only no-show was a squirrel. Luckily, the VFX team was able to replace the stunt squirrel back at Framestore's Noel St HQ.

Credits:AGENCY BBHAGENCY PRODUCER Helen PowlettePRODUCTION COMPANY OutsiderDIRECTOR Dom & NicPRODUCER John Madsen

VFX FramestoreTELECINE Framestore

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