I was recommend to The Bank by Caroline Matthews (Marketing Director) whom I have worked with multiple times during her time at Airside and Rupert Ray she is now at Koto and it is always a pleasure working with her. Initially I met with the team and was shown the project. I loved the concept they were proposing of a continual loop. We were to start with a sky full of northern lights and the product above the treetops the camera would move down through the trees to reveal the talent applying the mascara, further transitions would happen until we found ourselves again above the horizon viewing the northern lights and the product. This was an ambitious job for The Bank as it was to be done internally to give them full creative control but they needed someone with the experience to guide the job and work closely with the inhouse talent to produce the final commercial, this was my role. It was very much a hands on role, I was planning and supervising how we were going to solve each problem and working up shots early on to show timings and how the piece would look before the heavy duty VFX work was to proceed.
Running up to the shoot and during, the initial storyboard concept got diluted a little as you’ll see in the final video. We did still get to work in half of the video as seamless transitions but the need for locked off beauty shots was strong that it had to change, we were able to end on a similar frame to how we started.
The first 5 seconds of the commercial had a camera solved so we could start to build the environment in After Effects. The tail end of this 5 seconds was heavily styled to look more magical and lit. I created a fake zDepth pass to add depth of field to the shot. The same pass was used to make the cone of light moving through the trees react in a more realistic manner. We pull further away from the forest out through the pupil of an eye. The eyelashes don’t yet have the mascara applied as the brush passes through the eyelashes we reveal the now strong vibrant bold black lashes. This shot required a lot of warping and stabilising to match the two takes together. There was a lot of detailed beauty work done to the final close up of the eye; removing mascara clumps and smudges that are really now only picked up by the high resolution cameras used in productions. After the mascara application shot it was mostly beauty work. Frustratingly it rained a little during the shoot and the water droplets left odd smudges and white spots on the talent, along with those fixes we worked to make eyebrows look tidier and softened off shadows and creases. We were taking care to keep the original skin texture and made sure the beauty work was subtle and local to the fixes required. In comparison to the original it made a positive change.
In total including myself we had up to 4 of us working on various parts of the VFX for the commercial predominantly we started off with myself and Luke Doyle. Luke Doyle, The Banks in house designer (now freelance) had been working on the look for the northern lights and built the product in 3D and animated it. He took care of the CG compositing for that section. Luke Carpenter and David Robinson were later brought to complete the team. Luke Carpenter worked on the final packshot, and put in some R&D for the northern lights (which sadly went the live action route at the very last moment) and Dave Robinson was stellar in assisting me with the beauty work. I have known both for a long time so knew to expect good things.