Working with Daughter.Studio, Mill+ created this stylish spot for Rolls Royce and their latest ‘Ghost’ model. The Mill’s VFX team utilized Legacy 4K glass overlays from Lens Distortions.
With studios in London, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Mill boasts a creative culture of talented artists from multinational and homegrown backgrounds, nurturing innovation, flexibility and diverse ideas. VFX Supervisor Pete Rypstra shared a little glimpse into their project for Castrol EDGE which utilized our Legacy 4k glass elements.
“We used a combination of multiple camera passes as well as using photo-real, full CG cars to give the illusion that there were two cars on the track. We were also asked to give the Clone rival its own distinct look to distinguish it from the real car.”
“The movements of the light elements lent themselves beautifully to the effect we were trying to create.”
Audi R8 “Masterpiece” | Behind the visuals of this impressive portfolio project
Chris Leclerc is a director and cinematographer based out of Los Angeles. Over the past decade, his work has taken him to 35 countries and 6 continents. Chris recently wrapped this impressive portfolio piece, and when we heard how some of our video effects helped shaped the project, we had to get the full story. Be sure to check out the VFX breakdown below.
I’d been itching to do a project where I could push the level when it comes to dramatic lighting and cinematic shots, just something fresh for my portfolio that would raise the bar another notch for my upcoming client work. I had just picked up your 4K Luminary and Light Hits effects packs, so they were top of mind when I set out on this project.
“… how we found our talent is indie-filmmaking at it’s best.”
The story of how we found our talent is indie-filmmaking at it’s best. We pulled together a few friends to make up the crew and one had a connection who we thought really looked the part for the talent and agreed to do the project with us. We were scheduled to start shooting at 9pm on Friday night. We were on set, all ready to shoot, and we were looking at the time. It was 9:30 and we thought, “I hope this guy doesn’t flake out on us.” Then it’s 10pm, and still no sign of our talent. So we were all freaking out.
One of our grips went on Facebook and literally contacted 20 of his friends. He finally got ahold of one guy who turned out to be an actor and a model and showed up on set by 10:30pm. He stuck with us till 4am shooting, which was awesome. We had a problem and everyone was really resourceful in helping figure it out. It was a great collaborative effort by our whole team.
I’ve been fortunate to have gotten to know some really talented industry folks over the past 10 years and I had some specific folks I wanted to collaborate with on this project. I already mentioned Paul Theodoroff, who was DoP. The project simply wouldn’t have happened without him. Good sound design is important for any spot, but in an ad for a sports car, you definitely can’t skimp. Zak DeVries really delivered there. I can’t say enough good things about Tyler Roth at Company 3 for the incredible color grade on this project.
Get an adventurous perspective on one of the most beautiful states in the union and see how Matt uses our Luminary 4K glass overlays.
To better showcase the diversity of looks in this pack, we’ve organized it into curated categories, created some quick clips to make one of the most popular use cases (transitions) easier, and added a few previously unreleased overlays to really round out the mix.
See how emerging artists and global brands use Lens Distortions in their projects.
“We used a flashlight to create of some of the in-camera lens flares, but we used Light Hits to really accentuate those and add the red color.”
“During production, it was reassuring to know I could fine tune the look with Lens Distortions.”
Explore the effects used in this post
Stranger Things | Title designers look to Light Hits for optical quality
We’ve been following the work of design-based production studio Imaginary Forces for a while now and were excited to see our Legacy effects pop up in some of their projects a few years back.
We were thrilled to learn recently that their team used our 4K Light Hits to give that extra something to the opening title for Netflix’s wildly successful new original series, Stranger Things. Imaginary Forces animator Eric Demeusy was kind enough to give us some background info.
“They’re the best ones out there.”
Demeusy said, “The goal was to make the titles look like they were made optically in the 80’s. We used a lot of subtle details for that and one of those details was Lens Distortions. We needed good, realistic flares that we could use very minimally to make it feel a little more natural and filmic. They needed to be real optical effects, so naturally, Lens Distortions was what we went with. They’re the best ones out there.”
“To get that kind of brief… is a designer’s dream!””
In an interview with The Art of the Title, Imaginary Forces Creative Director Michelle Dougherty describes her team’s initial conversation with the Duffer Brothers, “They referenced Richard Greenberg and all the greats that he’d created — The Goonies, Altered States, Alien, The Untouchables, The Dead Zone, just to name a few. That was great to hear because we understood where they were coming from. That was really refreshing — and pretty surprising — that these creators knew so much about title design.”
“After that call, they sent over some book covers that they liked, from books that they’d either read or seen as children. Most of them were by Stephen King, so we knew they were looking for something that felt ’80s and tapped into this nostalgia by using that typography. They really loved the simplicity of those covers, but also those Richard Greenberg titles. To get that kind of brief — to let the typeface set the mood for a show — is a designer’s dream!”
Explore the effects used in this post
Glenn Stewart is Head Of Design at Rotor Studios in North Sydney, which is a full service production & post production company that specializes in live action, CG, and interactive experiences.
One of Rotor’s recent projects for Toyota came to our attention as our 4K Light Hits overlays were utilized in a few of the scenes. We caught up with Glenn Stewart, who played Director, Art Director, Compositor, Matte Painter, and some other odd job roles, to get the details on this Toyota art contest and the accompanying commercial.
Watch the full commercial below followed immediately by a VFX breakdown.
“Every great idea was born in the glimmer of a dream.”
Once the contest closes and the 30 finalists are selected, Toyota flies the finalist and their parents to Japan for an event to award them for their designs, take them on tours of the Toyota factories and many more surprises.
On the 2D side, cleanup and roto was done by a couple of artists in After Effects and Nuke, and with the matte paintings we were lucky to collaborate with a great artist in the USA, who handled the key backgrounds, with myself filling in some of the smaller gaps.
On the 3D side of things, 3D tracking of live action plates was done in Synth Eyes, with animation and modelling being done primarily in Maya, texturing in Mari, and rendering with Arnold.
Given the quick turnaround of the project and the small team we had on this, there were a few over night stays in the office along with plenty of RedBull.
Once all the elements were finished and rendered, we composited all of the shots in After Effects, with the final grade being doing in DaVinci resolve.
- Includes 30 curated clips
- Encoded in ProRes at a frame rate of 23.98
- Available in either 4K or 2K
- Each Light Hits is between 3-28 seconds in length
- Compatible with Premiere, Final Cut X, Avid, After Effects
- 4K Download size: 6GB
- 2K Download size: 1.8GB
When Utah based synth pop artist Garrett Garfield needed a music video for the single from his first EP, he turned to his longtime friend and collaborator, Aaron Sorensen. We were really impressed with the final version of “Eye of the Storm,” which uses a lot of unique glass textures and lighting effects, including Lens Distortions. We reached out to Aaron to get to know more of his story and how this project came to be.
Tell us a bit about yourself, your experience, and what you do.
Ever since I was a kid I was always making videos with my friends. At the time I could be found on my parents computer literally exporting every frame from iMovie and importing them into Photoshop to paint each one. Over the years I made my life easier and learned After Effects, Cinema 4D and currently Houdini and Nuke.
Now I’ve been working as a VFX artist for 6 years professionally on a variety of projects. And recently had the opportunity to Direct and VFX supervise a Game Of War commercial.
What did you live production rig consist of?
Our budget was really small and I was more doing it for the passion of the song and the video. But after we totaled how much it would have cost paying everyone that helped, it was around $10,000.
We shot on the Red Epic and Dragon with Ziess Cp2 lenses and a movi rig. We had a lot of friends and family donate there time and talents to make this all happen.
Walk us through your post-production tools and workflow.
We edited the video in Adobe Premiere, after which I took a couple shots into After Effects to create a “hero” shot to get a look a feel for the video. Once we locked the edit I spent around 2 full weeks tracking in mocha, painting clouds in Photoshop, compositing and coloring everything in After Effects.
Any scenes that were particularly fun or difficult to create?
One of my favorite shots I did was of Garrett dancing in slow motion while surrounded by the storm. It was pretty simple but turned out pretty cool! All I did was scaled him down to make the shot looked wider than we could have filmed. Captured a frame, brought it into Photoshop and started to paint a bunch of clouds. I broke up the clouds into different layers and then using the liquify tool in After Effects I animated the clouds slowly moving. Then composited a couple lighting strikes from stock footage and that is it 🙂 Turned out pretty cool!
You took full advantage of our Legacy video effects. Can you tell us a bit about how you used them in this project?
In camera we had shot a lot of glass effects, so while editing I started to notice we were lacking that same effect during any VFX sequence. That is when I found Lens Distortions to be really handy! I saw an ad for in on Facebook around the time I was editing and thought “No way! This is perfect for this project!” And it was the perfect tool to help me really sell the visual effects. I had a lot of people ask me how I composited VFX behind glass distortions. Dirtying up vfx and adding Lens Distortion makes them feel much more organic and believable.
What’s next for you? Any exciting projects coming up?
Currently I am working on a Game of War Commercial I directed! It is my biggest client yet. I was really excited when they liked my work and pitch for the commercial. I have a long road ahead of me with the visual effects on this project but it will definitely stretch me.
As filmmakers, we’re always looking for sources of inspiration. Where do you look to be inspired?
I am constantly on Vimeo getting inspired by other people work. Particularly Salmon Lighthelm, Dan DiFelice (at The Mill), joseph kahn (music video director) and many more. Outside of watching more videos for inspiration I listen to a lot of ambient soundtrack type music, going for a drive and talking with people about life has definitely given me inspiration.