Plugging in to Basement Jaxx at MPC

Traktor has directed and produced the new Basement Jaxx promo PLUG IT IN for XL Recordings, with vfx by The Moving Picture Co. (MPC) of London.

The quirky music video is set inside the "Second Hand Super Models" factory, the vendor of "plug and play" female companions. The story is told from the point of view of two security guards, who witness the aggressive recruitment of a handsome salesman. Once the salesman has been won over, he dons a similar "capitalist pig mask" to his disturbing new boss. His role is to market the bionic babes, including "Mile Heidi," "Cuddly Cop," "Pinky Tennis" "Firewoman" and "Secretary" on cable TV as the robotic answer to THE STEPFORD WIVES. Security tour the facility ogling the girls before turning the model's controls through "lovely, frisky, steamy to shocking" until they overheat, melt and burn. On discovering the furor, the distraught MD removes his pig mask, showing that he has cast aside the shackles of big business; the models, in turn, recover.

Lee Danskin built the plug socket attached to the back of each of the mannequins as a 3D model in Maya. This was then tracked in Inferno and composited onto the lower back of each of the ladies as the plug in point. MPC Inferno artists Christophe Allender and Ziggy Zigouras created a TV treatment for the sections of the ad that appears as broadcast commercials. The models were frame-cut, to give robotic movement and cleaned to appear more mannequin-like. Wrinkles and blemishes were removed from skin and creases taken out of clothes. Human facial expression was cleaned from the "cuddly cop." Commands were composited onto the computer screen and specific lighting techniques were used to highlight the remote control. In the final sequences, sparks and electrical effects were added to illustrate short-circuiting controls and burning mannequins.

MPC credits:* Post Producer: Graham Bird* Inferno artists: Christophe Allender & Ziggy Zigouras,* Fire and Combustion artists: Mark Holden, Marcus Moffatt, Dan Adams, Dan Kelly, Darren Christie and Pete Rypstra.* 3D artist: Lee Danskin* Telecine: Jean-Clement Soret

MPC (www.moving-picture.co.uk) is one of the world's leading post-production facilities specializing in high-end digital vfx and computer animation for advertising, music, TV and features.

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