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AICP ‘Midwest Show Titles’

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Method was contacted by AICP and offered the chance to produce a film for the sponsor reel opener for their 2012 Midwest awards show. The creative brief was to feature the sponsor logos in a compelling manner, but other than that, the creative direction was completely open.

Method Chicago’s Creative Director, Gil Baron took up the challenge and along with producer Krystina Wilson, set about conceptualizing, shooting, editing, scoring, coloring, and producing the wealth of visual effects needed - all in less than 30 days.

The main challenges beyond the tight deadline and low budget was that the sponsors wouldn't be locked in until just before the show. Gil had to create a framework that was flexible, but maintain a high quality aesthetic in terms of imagery and production value.

Gil comments, “I've been a huge fan of the artist Jeremy Geddes' work, so one of the ideas bouncing around was to create something that captured the feeling of his paintings, but taking them in a different direction and allowing for real estate where the sponsor logos could exist. Since setting up in Chicago three months ago I've fallen in love with the architecture of the downtown area, especially the way the Magnificent Mile becomes almost iridescent at night and feels an extension of the sky. While talking to DOP Drew Wehde about the concept, he volunteered that he had a new Canon c300 camera that had yet to be put through its paces. So the idea of using a new camera to shoot a city in a new way - at night, with no additional lighting - became a sort of challenge and exploration at the same time”.

Gil and Drew experimented with different ISO ranges and used the multilevel geography of Chicago’s buildings, bridges and plazas to create visuals where the viewer could follow the movement of the CG astronaut, moving from the rooftops down to the ground. The task was to make the astronaut look compelling throughout the sequence and then resolve to the AICP logo in a dynamic way at the end.

Method Design Creative Director Heebok Lee, from our LA based studio, was brought on board to help plan the look and feel of the company logos and worked on producing augmented architecture to improve compositions. Fluorescent logos are seen throughout the piece – some are huge billboard style fixtures whereas others are more subtle. Method’s talented CG and compositing team focused on making both the signage and astronaut look at home within the footage.

Along with Method Design, the project was a collaborative effort across Method’s sister companies. Company 3 colorist Tyler Roth set initial looks and provided a LUT to the VFX team who used this for reference but composited the CG elements onto the raw plates. This film centric pipeline ensured that the full dynamic range of the original images was maintained right up until the final grade.

In terms of the edit, Gil worked with Beast Editor Sean Berrenger. The challenge here was the amount of time to fill and that a definitive mood needed to be defined within the simple narrative structure.

Gil concludes “I can't say enough about our amazing team of artists who gave up the better part of three weeks, nights and weekends, to help push the work through. It was a series of great challenges, and a true team effort all around.”


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