Enter Asahi Commercial VFX Breakdown

A collaboration between The Monkeys Melbourne, In The Thicket and Alt VFX, the newly released Asahi campaign is a visual feast that takes viewers on a journey through landscapes built around surreal Japanese iconography.

From script to shoot – a huge operation that took place at Sydney’s Fox Studios – Director Marco Prestini and his Executive Producer, Genevieve Triquet from production company In The Thicket, brought on the VFX team at Alt to help realise the creative vison.

The Alt team worked with Marco to help design and build the complex ‘one shot’ look, with everything from robotic geishas to a gigantic CG squid in the mix, alongside a seamless blend of CG set extensions and beautifully shot live action plates.

“VFX Supervisor Dave Edwards and all the team at Alt, together with my EP Genevieve, have been there since the very beginning and their creative input and expertise were key in every step of the way,” commented Marco.

“Everything we did on set was the results of weeks of endless back and forth on technical previzs, a process that required pretty much everyone’s input on a daily basis and that was incredibly inspiring for me to be part of.”

Dave Edwards, VFX Supervisor at Alt, said: “Production designer Michael Iacono designed sets in 3D, with 5 huge sets built for the shoot. The team then worked out camera speeds for timings based on these 5 sets and 7 plates. DOP Stefan Duscio would suggest rigs and mounts, which our team were able to then test it in previs to see if it would work with the set. During previs, we worked out that we couldn’t get the resolution and the required frame rate to shoot the high frame rate samurais, so we had to use Alexa LF. Of course, that also helped Marco, who wanted minimal lens distortion as it allowed wide field of view without the distortion of normal anamorphic lenses.”

One complex scene involves a character battling a gigantic underwater squid, which was done via a process known as ‘Dry for wet’ – a film technique in which smoke, colored filters, and/or lighting effects are used to simulate a character being underwater while filming on a dry stage. The team at Alt did a rough animation of the squid to help drive the actions of talent and the stunt team on the day, before spending the final weeks perfecting the look of the photo-real monster.

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