The director’s vision saw the Cadillacs live in luxurious New York apartments, some on the 50th floor of iconic buildings, others in yet to be built homes along the Hudson River.

A challenge surfaced: given that the car was the hero of the story, should it be shot first without fully understanding the essential element of lighting? Or capture the empty apartment plates first, but risk a less-than-ideal framing for the car?  

It was clear that the car needed to appear inside the apartment for the shoot in some way, shape or form. On a tight five-day post-production schedule from edit lock to final delivery, and no way to fit the physical cars in each location, the team set out to find an innovative way to capture the perfect shot without the need for extensive CG in post.

Utilizing a CAD model of each car, the Framestore team developed a proprietary AR-Visualizer that placed a scale-accurate virtual version of the car in the room. The iPad-based tool not only influenced the camera placement and identified the best angles, but also provided all relevant data so that the camera position could be faithfully reproduced during post, as necessary.

Hacking traditional HDR-based CG lighting workflows to allow for real-time and real-life benefits, the team used the latest advancements in set lighting in the form of a light probe that meticulously captured the environment lighting, and replicated that to light the cars in a bluescreen studio via large LED panels. This meant that Marc was able to direct the car movement interactively as well as in-camera.

The results were visually stunning and extremely convincing, allowing for accurate lighting and reflection that truly matched the environment and brought the cars to life.

Check out a behind the scenes look at how this LED panel technique came to life.