As promised here is Part Two on the making of Carex. Part One can be reached here. This article will deal with the post production stage.
After completing the shoot in Jakarta and some basic Post Production at RedCine Jakarta, I flew to Bangkok, to go work with Mike Parsons at Chateau Post. Owned by Tony Morias, Chateau Post is a small boutique facility that offers Flame, Nuke and Shake services as well as some 3D. I had met Mike quite a few years beforehand in Melbourne and later in Singapore, where he worked at Blackmagic design. He’s a legend when it comes to Post Production, having been involved in the industry at a very early age. He’s a veteran of Flame, Flint and inferno as well as many of the now retired technologies like Henry, Shotlister and Chyron (to mention a few).
Carex offered a few interesting Post Production challenges and Mike was definitely perfectly suited to solve those problems. A boutique facility like Chateau Post is often best suited for these kinds of jobs, because they can afford more personalised time to the preproduction stage as well as assisting with the Production stage. In this instance, like other work I have Directed for HP, we produced a timing guide in the form of an animatic. This animatic had to be perfect in terms of screen time for the various 3D objects, that would be added in Post Production. Mike and I worked over the internet sending Shake Scripts at first to each other and then finally mpegs of the guide animation. This was then used during Production, to send to a large LCD that hung over the Camera. The Actress was then able to follow along with her image half mixed with the Animatic via a vision mixer. As she followed the animation along, not only were her hands in the right place, but she was kept to time, guaranteeing that the TVC wouldn’t exceed 30 seconds.
For the first week of our Online, the guys in the back rooms tracked all the footage, rotoscoped her hands and generally cleaned up stuff! I briefed Eric, a French 3D animator living in Bangkok, who then proceeded to model and animate many of the objects. During preproduction, I had taken orthographic views of Jakarta based Buses, to provide not only a guide for the creation of a 3D model version of the bus but also the textures. Eric produced a fantastic 3D bus for us using those images. The product was also turned into a 3D object. For that, Pong, the in-house After Effects and 3D Studio Max guru produced all the packs in 3D. He also designed and constructed a Manuka Flower which was animated into the end shot with the packs. Pong is a specialist when it comes to “fixing hair problems” on the many Thai Hair commercials. His work on removing stray strands is absolutely amazing. However his “pack” work was also impeccable.
Mike Parsons at this stage was compositing elements in Flame. Using an array of tricks, he helped produce the smooth transition from one effect to the next, by cleverly merging 3D and 2D layers. While we spent a fair amount of effort grading the images at CineRed, more work was necessary to produce the final colour grade. The RED camera (build 21 at the time of writing, using a Generation 1 sensor) is still pretty noisy in the RED channel. We did use an IR Cut filter to help keep the skin tone from clipping early, but I found that digital noise persisted. Mike ended up “washing” the skin of our actress almost entirely. This laborious task took time but was necessary to produce both a pleasing skin tone colour and repair the noise damage.
Music is always an important part of the post process. Imaginex Studios Jakarta had been involved at an earlier stage but due to our composers ill health, Imaginex Studios KL office took over. Mike Bloomfield (expat from Australia) took on the Composers roll and we had several Skype calls to go over what was required. Mike is awesome. He worked up a track that hit the mark and we only made small adjustments to the instrumentation. Luckily for me, McCan’s Art Director, Paul Grezoux is an ex drummer from a sydney based band. So he was able to contribute on the music post in a very positive way.
In the final week, the Agency/Client team arrived in Bangkok and we showed progressive updates to the work. Bangkok is an amazing city to work in and we made full use of it along the way. The team went out on several occasions to have dinner at the many incredible restaurants in own. During our days off, I spent some time photographing some of the many Buddhist Temples that exist in the middle of Bangkok. If your interested, you can see an earlier blog entry I wrote on this subject here. Off course we all went shopping to various shopping markets. I spent some time as I normally do at Pantib Plaza and Bahn Moh.
After several hard working weeks, the Carex TVC was complete. We presented to a happy Client and departed Thailand for our respective home countries. For me it’s always gratifying when a job ends as smoothly as it starts. This job was no exception.
The Commercial can be viewed Here.