Cheil Communication Germany’s incredibly aesthetic European campaign for Samsung’s new LCD TVs relies heavily on striking black and white imagery highlighted with traces of red, in a style reminiscent of Frank Miller's Sin City.

Award-winning Icelandic directing duo, Samuel & Gunnar directed Attraction as their first spot through Crossroads UK and turned the job around on a tight schedule. Absolute was instrumental in setting the campaign’s defining look since most of the scenery was built in post through a combination of 3D and digital matte painting.


The spot opens on a black and white shot of a Samsung TV framed by an ambient red-lit border. Stark and dramatic shots of night sky follows, with a tell-tale red cloud sweeping across the moon. We then see a sporting hero (Michael Ballack in the German version, Ebi Smolarek in the Polish version) taking in the dark city.


As they are drawn through the streets to a mysterious bar, traces of red appear as a strange phenomenon. The mystery is resolved when the hero is shown a viewing a room containing the TV and its red border.

Absolute’s lead Flame & 3D artists (Ben Robards and Minh Nguyen-Ba) got involved at an early stage, working closely with the directors and agency as the early Sin City brief gradually developed into a more modern treatment by adding contemporary office architecture and a more balanced but less forgiving exposure than the film’s signature crushed look.


All the exterior city shots were filmed against greenscreen. The only set design present in the green-screen studio was a balcony, so the rest of the exterior elements were developed in post.


Ben Robards and Minh Nguyen-Ba built an extensive library of reference material by taking hi-res photos over several nights to capture stills of the city, Canary Wharf and Paddington Basin. They covered appropriate angles and textures to provide the foundations for the all-important cityscape matte paintings and 3D.


Absolute’s Flame artist, Ben Robards, said: "Most of the film was shot on 35mm anamorphic lenses which gave it a beautiful look but required extra attention to ensure details like focus pulls, depth of field, lens flares and grain looked authentic when the green-screen material was composited with the CG at full HD.


"One of the biggest challenges was the shot that looks down onto a street interchange from a rooftop. The limited height of the studio meant a very wide lens was needed to capture the full extent of the action, which presented perspective problems when it came to shrinking and repositioning."


Absolute’s 3D artist, Minh Nguyen-Ba, said: "The drop-down from the balcony to the street was probably the most challenging shot as every building had to be created from scratch, filled with office furniture, and lit to give it a night-time look. The sheer amount of data meant that the street had to be rendered in ‘slices’ to make it more manageable. 70 per cent of the shots have CG backgrounds, so I think it is fair to say that CG has played a major role in the impact of the campaign."