The Mill creates smile-inducing Lexus ad starring cute quadcopters

Award-winning visual effects studio The Mill has teamed up with Rogue Films and CHI & Partners to create a fun ad starring cute quadcopters for car-maker Lexus, as part of the Amazing In Motion project.

The minute-long film, named Swarm, features adorable flying UAV robots reminiscent of the 1980s Spielberg film Batteries Not Included, and an equally smile-inducing soundtrack, which was composed by Jonathan Goldstein.

The Mill, which has previously created adverts for a huge range of companies ranging from Samsung and PlayStation to Eurostar and Kinder Surprise, worked closely with director Sam Brown to bring the concept for the film to life.

"The ambition was to bring warmth and personality to an existing colder technology, and the design brief was to balance both high-tech circuitry and aerodynamics with character animation," The Mill says on its website.

The film was shot in Vancouver at real city locations including a vintage barbershop and the Museum of Anthropology. "Motion capture environments were created on all sets, in which computers controlled each of the hero characters individually, all flying perfectly in formation, in and around the various setups throughout the commercial" explains The Mill.

"Even though most of the shots had been done with real quads in motion, the animation team had to work on animating all the quads for every shot before hand," The Mill's head of animation, Jorge Montiel has said. "Their movements were choreographed in 3D and then transferred by Kmel. It's been a huge challenge bringing these little guys to life."

"The huge amount of technical detail was crucial to be able to animate these devices properly without having crashes or strange behavious," Jorge added. "Distance, acceleration, speed and the physics behind the helices were the main parameters we had to keep in mind whilst animating them. The was the quadrators move is very agile but they also have a lot of limitations, which caused a higher level of difficulty when trying to make them expressive."


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