For the latest instalment of Sky’s ongoing Collector campaign, Framestore delivered VFX to reflect the aesthetic of one of the most iconic cities in the world as the film’s protagonist - a New Yorker living abroad - uses their Sky box to feel at home whilst away from the big apple.
Directed by Dan DiFelice for Biscuit Filmworks, Framestore’s work was led by VFX Supervisor Chris Redding and CG Supervisor Beau Garcia and includes a wide range of effects used to replicate the look and feel of New York’s streets, a number of film and TV locations as well as the iconic Madison Square Garden, home to the New York Knicks.
Like the other campaign films, the spot sees the collector insert themselves into a number of films and TV shows, this time all New York-centric titles. These include sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a sequence for which Framestore needed to recreate a New York City backdrop. The team combined buildings captured on location in London with a digital matte painting (DMP) to get the right NYC feel.
On top of the 2D solutions, several CG assets also needed to be created for the commercial including the instantly-recognisable statue of The Seven from Amazon Prime Video series The Boys and an NYPD cruiser which flies through the air having been sucked into the portal. Both digital replicas had to be modelled from scratch using reference imagery of the vehicle used on set and screen grabs of The Boys to get the statue looking right.
The film finishes with the collector arriving at a New York Knicks’ game in Madison Square Garden, a sequence which was actually shot at the Copperbox Arena in London. The Framestore team used a number of different techniques to seamlessly turn the basketball court into ‘The Garden’. This included creating an accurate digital scale model of the iconic stadium to which textures were added like screens and lighting. Live action crowd sprites, wearing suitable Knicks merchandise were captured on the shoot and added into the stands.
‘There’s such a wide range of techniques used in this commercial that all had to be executed flawlessly, said Christ Redding. ‘One of the coolest parts was helping to bring our collector face to face with Travis Bickle which was done on an eerily accurate set of his apartment built by the production team.’
For this Taxi Driver section it was Framestore’s job to make sure intercutting shots were seamless and really sold the sense of time and place. The team’s challenge here was needing to recreate footage and integrating modern VFX in a way that looked believable when seen in a film that was made 45 years ago.
‘This isn’t a project where the VFX work should be seen, so while we were doing a lot of work, it had to all be subtle while still faithfully recreating the world of each film and TV world being represented,’ concluded Chris.