a52, Primary, and Rock Paper Scissors Collaborate on the Microsoft Mesh Campaign
One of the many revelations born out of the events of the past year has been the significance of human-to-human connection. The impact of not having regular exchanges revealed itself in many ways across the world. Whether it was the lost hands-on collaboration on a work project, the loss of casual conversations with check-out clerks or neighbors, or the loss of communing with loved ones during the holidays, what became crystal clear is that we perform and feel better when we are connected.
Simultaneously, continuing advancements in Augmented Reality (AR) technology are facilitating remote connections and collaborations with immediacy and ease. Microsoft Mesh is one such technology that is innovating in this space by powering holographic experiences, therefore allowing people to connect in real time, no matter where they are physically located.
The performance of Microsoft Mesh is illustrated in a new campaign directed by Mindcastle, produced by Sanctuary, edited by Rock Paper Scissors’ Ted Guard, color by Primary’s Daniel de Vue, and with VFX by a52. As colorist Daniel de Vue described, “A major benefit of having all the post work done under one roof is the flexibility and communication you can have at the earliest stages in the process. The earlier color, editorial, and VFX artists can share and access knowledge about a project, the stronger it will be.”
From the top, Daniel worked closely with the a52 VFX team which gave him early insight into the holographic VFX designs that would not deliver until after his first pass at color grading. Armed with the knowledge that the holograms would have a cold, scion-blue tone, Daniel established a philosophy to imbue the spot with a warm grade. “Modern technology can be very clean and sterile, so we wanted to compliment the high-tech with a soulful vibe.” The directors’ (Danielle Krieger and Casey Warren) and the DP’s (Pat Scola) cinematic aesthetics also aided Daniel’s ability to highlight fragile light pockets, which was instrumental in creating the spot’s soft and humanistic feeling.
The a52 creative team had a unique goal to design VFX that would appear both product accurate and inspirational. Balancing the technological demands with the directors’ desire to keep the campaign’s tone emotive and filmic required a close collaboration between VFX and CG Supervisors, the design team, the directors, and Microsoft’s principal creative directors. a52 Executive Producer Patrick Nugent said that “tapping into the collaborative energy of Rock Paper Scissors and Primary made this project an especially rewarding and cohesive collaborative experience, both for us internally and our clients, who loved the unified creative vision and handoff from one phase of post to the next.”
Editor Ted Guard also praised the collaborative effort as the key to the spot’s cohesive tone. “It’s a hell of a feeling when you glimpse the future, and on Microsoft Mesh, Mindcastle triumphed in showing us the way. As an editor you’ve got to savour the feeling when you get rushes like these and the complexities of the post process were made seamless by exhaustive planning and a52’s digital mastery. It was a pleasure to tell the story of something that’s so clearly going to affect everything we do in time to come.”