When agency goodness Mfg. was preparing to launch a campaign for Toshiba’s new ultra-premium KIRAbook ultrabook, they turned to LOGAN and their live-action arm, Logan & Sons, to create a memorable spot introducing the product. Working with gMfg., Director Jens Gehlhaar led a team that handled all production, modeling, texturing, animating, and compositing on this fantastical tale crediting the KIRAbook’s origins to a swarm of magical bees that assemble the prototype deep within a mystical forest.
While the bioluminescent bees are a CG creation, LOGAN filmed Kira on a stage with a real vibrant forest set built by production designer Robert Fox. The bees swarm over a stump day and night to construct their towering KIRAbook and impress their queen, a sequence captured via a time-lapse process done practically on set using a dozen crew members and a light gag designed by DP Florian Stadler and his gaffer.
The crew adhered militantly to an approved pre-visualization to integrate the CG elements and filmed back plates, however the modeling, texturing, animating, and compositing still required an enormous effort. “Being so close-up to a complex creature whose visible surfaces include leathery, metallic, furry, and glassy bits was quite a challenge,” states Gehlhaar. “While the bee’s fur was supposed to be silver, we quickly realized that, in an overwhelmingly green forest, the reflectivity would cause the bee to appear to be green. As soon as we’d shift the hues toward colder silvers, the bee would stop looking integrated — a conundrum caused by the fact that these creatures do not exist. But with enough tweaks, our crew, as always, nailed the look.”
LOGAN also paid special attention to the entire look of the bees. Working from agency descriptions of the bees as metallic creatures with blue bioluminescent accents, LOGAN tried several iterations before settling on the final bee design, studying the architecture of the wings and movement of the proboscis from archival nature films. In order to convey the emotional narrative of the spot, however, LOGAN had to take a few design liberties, giving the insects the ability to cock their heads and adding slightly larger eyes to give audiences the impression that they could tell which direction the bees were looking.
“We needed to tell a story of creativity, rejection, insistence, and triumph, and conveying that kind of emotion required us to anthropomorphize the bees a little bit,” explains Gehlhaar. “The goal was never to ‘go all Disney’, but we employed a few subtle tricks that aren’t scientifically accurate. While the language of film — the framing, the camera movement, the editing — can communicate a lot of plot even with seemingly emotionless insects, the little modifications we made really brought the bees to life.”
Spot Title: “Kira”
Air Date: May 2013
Agency: goodness Mfg.
EVP, Director of Integrated Production: Rupert Samuel
Executive Producer: Jason Smith
Producer: Cristiana Ladki, Akash Khokha
Executive Creative Director: Tom Adams
Associate Creative Director: Rob Bajohr
Associate Creative Director: Eric Christy Manchester
Production: Logan & Sons
Director: Jens Gehlhaar
DoP: Florian Stadler
Executive Producer: Matthew Marquis
Line producer: Richard Kaylor
Production Designer: Robert Fox
ECD: Alexei Tylevich
Executive Producer: Matthew Marquis
Producer: Albert Mason
CD: Jens Gehlhaar
VFX Sup: Julien Brami
Design: Kenneth Robin
Previs: Slavik Anishchenko, Rob Anaya
Modeling: Alex Reyes, Diego Melgar
Animators: Ido Gondelman, Sashdy Arvelo, Sei Sato, Sam Ortiz
Lighting and Look Dev: Bryant Reif, Michael Johnson
FX Particles: Rick Fuentealba
Comp: Billy Koak, Scott Crawford, Michael Viera,
Flame: Carl Edwards, Gurvand Tanneau
LOGAN (www.logan.tv) is an award-winning New York and Los Angeles-based creative studio and production company specializing in groundbreaking content creation. Their team of producers, directors, creative directors, VFX artists, and animators excel at problem solving and helping clients bring their vision to life. Concepting, ideation, design, live-action production, 2D and 3D animation, VFX, editorial, and ﬁnishing take place under one roof, making workﬂow a truly seamless experience.
Logan & Sons (www.loganandsons.com) acts as the live-action division of LOGAN and represents a broad spectrum of directorial talent.
Known for its iconic work for top brands, LOGAN helped create many memorable cultural moments, including commercial campaigns like the Apple’s iPod Silhouettes, viral hits like the Gymkana ﬁlms (over 165 million views), opening titles and sequences for ﬁlms like Zombieland, The Avengers, Premium Rush, and Gangster Squad, content and marketing campaigns for hit video games like Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Call of Duty, Borderlands, Resistance, Metal Gear Solid, and many others.