Zoic Creates Prius Spot with Z.E.U.S.
Press release from the Zoic Studios:LOS ANGELES, CA – Zoic Studios, an award-winning visual effects company headquartered in Culver City, CA, has announced the first use of Z.E.U.S. (Zoic Environmental Unification System), in an automotive industry commercial for the new “Prius Kingdom” spot airing nationally. To execute a vision first described by the VFX firm’s client, agency interTrend Communications — the Asian American marketing agency of record for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. — as “a golf course on Pandora,” Zoic Studios used their proprietary Z.E.U.S. technology to realize a spectacular, panoramic all-virtual environment for the spot on a relatively small green-screen stage.
Z.E.U.S., Zoic Studio’s pre-visualization process, combines the benefits of real-time compositing with an integrated editorial and CG pipeline. Revolutionizing the approach to visual effects, Z.E.U.S. provides real-time camera tracking and rendering of the virtual environments on set, bringing unprecedented creative flexibility for the cast and crew working on the green screen stage. Heavily used on popular episodic series’ including Once Upon a Time, Pan Am and V, the real-time feedback from Z.E.U.S. delivers never-before-seen set capabilities and film quality effects on a television budget and schedule.
The creative represented a collaborative effort between interTrend, their long time multi-cultural production partner Rival Pictures/ LFP, and director Rob Feng, who worked closely with agency creative lead Eugene Kim to set the stage for the highly stylized Prius Kingdom: a family team of “pri-ologists” traverse through a wilderness in search of an evolved new species. As they emerge into a vast, eye-popping clearing they spot the four new Prius models grazing in the wild – the roomy “v,” sporty “c,” and efficient “Plug-in” – driving alongside the familiar Prius “Liftback.” As the cars make a rare stop at a refueling pump, the family gives chase to discover many new Prius features. Amid rolling green hills, red wildflowers and whimsical bonsai-like trees, each Prius model is showcased against a backdrop of white-cliffed palisades and cascading waterfalls.
“The concept was layered and rich, and the visuals needed to tell it had to be unlike anything we were used to seeing,” said Rival/ LFP’s executive producer Frank Mele. “To execute, we had to step outside of the box, and we knew Zoic would be a perfect partner to help create them.”
“Z.E.U.S. changes the equation for productions large and small, allowing realistic virtual environments to be quickly created to meet budgets as well as timeframes associated with commercials and episodic work,” said Chris Jones, executive creative director and co-founder of Zoic Studios as well as co-executive creative director for the spot. “When Rob laid out his vision for Prius Kingdom, we knew Z.E.U.S. was the answer, transforming his stylized ideas into reality. We’re thrilled to employ Z.E.U.S for the first time in an automotive spot for Toyota.”
The Z.E.U.S. Shoot – Adapting for Automotive Work
For budget purposes, the decision was made to shoot the commercial on the Universal Virtual Stage (UVS-1) at Universal Studios, a facility which Zoic helped to develop. An immersive, three-wall green screen “smart stage,” UVS-1 allowed for a cost-effective alternative to prepping, pre-lighting, and configuring the camera from scratch at another stage.