BBH NY’s new commercial for LG’s Steam Washer relies on a big fantasy world full of creased-up cotton. Directed by Partizan’s Nagi Noda, it was left to Absolute NY to iron out imperfections in post, using Flame to de-crinkle the cotton landscape.
The spot opens on a magical white landscape of fabric mountains and trees. A jet of steam arises from the ground into the sky where it smoothes-out a creased-up moon. The moon then falls onto a similarly wrinkled bear where the steam de-crinkles nearby trees before being transformed into a steam train that races through the fabric terrain, flattening the surrounding mountains as it goes.
All the backgrounds were brought to life in Flame by adding skies, horizons, clouds and trees. Daniel also manipulated the creases in the landscapes so that they act as lines to draw the viewer’s attention to certain parts of the frame.
Daniel Morris supervised the shoot in Shanghai to ensure as many elements as possible were captured in-camera. He even built a spur-of-the-moment rig to help control the steam’s movement. However, steam’s unique movement is difficult to fully capture on film so Vania Zapata-Alba created some additional steam elements in 3D for Daniel to manipulate according to each shot’s requirements, for example – where steam billows around the moon.
This moon scene was built by stabilizing the creased moon and the smoothed moon and morphing between them. Approximately 10 layers of steam elements and particles were used to convey the sense that it was billowing around the moon.
The train also required attention. It needed convincing steam, but Daniel also had to make it not look like a toy train. This was achieved by giving it a sense of weight through stabilizing and adding speed.
Daniel built a DIY studio in an empty Absolute NY room. Here, he used a cotton shirt to shoot additional footage for the end scene where steam smoothes out the landscape. This extra footage gave him latitude to play around with the ‘mountains’, ensuring they look like they were flattening rather than falling into the ‘ground’. He also used this ‘studio’ to shoot extra steam elements using a smoke machine.
The spot can be seen on the Absolute site.