Where premium car brands are concerned every visual detail is vital. The vision for Mercedes’ new car commercial promoting the release of its latest CLS model was no different, with an extremely technical brief, the production company Tempomedia brought in the incredibly talented motion control experts at Mastermoves to help realise the car company’s creative vision. Using motion control, the brief was to capture an emotional journey, celebrating the aesthetic design of the new Mercedes CLS model.
Heiko Matting, freelance motion control expert, commented:
“The long range and high flexibility of the Milo Long Arm is an extremely powerful weapon for successfully mastering car shoots like this one in particular. Working together with Flair, a seemingly simple function like Flair’s orbital target tracking alone is priceless to capture these type of shoots.”
Director James Coton’s vision for the new Mercedes commercial was to capture a series of shots that would result in a visually stunning promo video showing side-by-side shots that highlighted key design elements of the new Mercedes CLS. The creative and clever aspect of the shoot was the fact that these tracking shots would then be played on split-screen (side-by-side) and then seamlessly morph together into a single full-frame shot. The final commercial would be a stunning collection of shots that merged into one another in a series of seamless transitions.
For such a complicated shoot to work it had to be captured using the pin-point precision of repeat pass motion control. The Milo Long Arm and motorised rail were used to capture the content.
The use of motion control was part of the concept from the very beginning, given the complex nature of the shoot and the Director’s final vision for the commercial. With multiple tracking shots required, precise timings, lighting sequences as well as repeatable camera movements having to finish at exact frames and positions, the shoot was extremely technical. To execute the project motion control experts Mastermoves were brought in; with a full range of motion control rigs and equipment, along with some of the best moco operators in the world today, they were the perfect team to execute such a challenging project.
“With such a complex project, we needed to have every aspect of the shoot under complete control. Using the precision of the Milo together with the well-equipped studio space of Berlin Studio Hangar, meant we could really deconstruct complex moves that go beyond the limit of the 90° curve in Maya. This meant we could have the camera always look into the sweet spot of the curve as well as have the turntable execute moves as if the camera were moving around the object.” – Heiko Matting.
Working closely with the creatives at Mercedes, the production company Tempomedia and Mastermoves underwent meticulous preparations for the shoot. Ensuring all eventualities were catered for as well as being prepped to meet the strict shooting schedule. Due to certain time limitations, the Milo Long Arm was used together with a motorised rail to ensure all shots could be captured within the allocated time frame. Moco expert Heiko Matting setup up the shoot in Maya to previz the optimal positions of the rail, Milo, and the necessary focal lengths and lighting requirements. Heiko had to deal with many technical considerations such as the optimum car rotation for the necessary angles, the factors of light bounce, the position of the car in relation to the background as well as distilling and executing complex camera movement ideas.
Further technical factors also meant that a fully equipped, large studio space was required. Shot at the Berlin Studio Hangar (hangar.de), the studio space is equipped with permanently installed motion control systems — a floor-level turntable with a 5m diameter and 8-tonne payload and a huge ceiling-mounted spin rig with a 12m diameter. Because both of these systems can communicate with Flair it meant that they could operate together with the motion control rigs – in this case, the Milo. This made it possible to synchronize all the turntable motions as well as the movement of lights with the frame-accurate movements of the Milo and therefore capture the incredible visual content needed for the final commercial.
MoCo Rental: Mastermoves Berlin
Studio: Hangar Berlin
Director: James F. Coton
DOP: Nicolai Niermann
MoCo Expert Superviz/ Op: Heiko Matting
MoCo Op: Pascal Rossow
Photography Courtesy of: Heiko Matting