SF Motors partners with MPC Creative to create unique films to launch their family of intelligent EV cars in the US
The Chinese car manufacturer has launched a new family of EV cars.
MPC Creative, a boutique production company, worked directly with SF Motors to launch their brand campaign, showcasing the family of cars, the technology behind them, and the company’s introduction into the US market. The films were featured at the large-scale launch event, which took place at SF Motors’ newly headquarters in San Jose in March and was also live-streamed to China.
SF Motors worked directly with MPC Creative to create the three unique films that explored the brand, technology and the product, which will go on sale next year. MPC Creative’s Executive Producer Dan Sormani, said: “All three films were created fully by us – we crafted the strategy which built into the concepts where we directed, produced and fully executed the films in under two and a half months.”
Each film was spearheaded by a different Creative Director at MPC Creative: Marc Smith directed the brand film which explored the overall company mission, Andrei Juradowitch directed the technology film which showcased the state-of-the-art tech features of the car, and Alan Bibby directed the product film, which acted as the car’s big reveal.
Justin Brukman, Managing Director for MPC US, noted that, “this was an amazing opportunity for the studio – working direct to brand and creating these kind of films are exactly the types of work that MPC Creative is built to do.”
Alan Bibby, whose directing portfolio includes Castrol’s ‘Blackout’ and Google Glass’ ‘Nepal’, directed the Product film, which revealed the next-generation EV car in full. It was shot over three days along the hills and coastline of Monterey, using a ‘mule’ car that was built specifically to be replaced. Bibby said: “As the car hadn’t been built yet, we were checking in with SF Motors to ensure that we were showing every aspect of the car accurately. We wanted to make everything look great, without knowing what the final car actually looked like. The end result was a really beautiful combination of filmmaking and visual effects.” MPC handled the VFX for all three of the films, partnering with MPC Creative to create a fully CG car.
Andrei Juradowitch’s film was shot in a hanger-like space in Jersey City, showcasing the impressive technology against an abstract, design backdrop. Andrei wanted to avoid making the film look too clinical and sterile. “The film demonstrates some of the technology on a broad, top level without going into too much detail. Instead, I wanted to focus on the human aspect and putting a face to the people behind the technology,” he added: “We worked closely with the tech department at SF Motors to ensure that the film was a true representation of the car’s technology – we learnt a lot about their vehicles, that’s for sure.”
The technology of SF Motors’ family of cars features machine learning technology to make advanced intelligent driving, as well as a protective autonomy technology that actively makes the journey safer.
FXG: What format and camera was this shot on over the various days of production?
It was shot on Arri Alexa mini Format was open gate 3.4k Technocrane was used for moves
In terms of software – we used Houdini to generate the Lidar point clouds and Ultrasonic effect, making use of a few in-house tools to streamline the process. The layout, animation, lighting and rendering were done in Maya and Arnold. The sequences were then composited in Nuke. We used Cinema4D and After Effects to generate the UI elements which were then composited into the sequence in Nuke.
FXG: What animation software and comp tools did you use?
Cinema 4d was used for the 3d animation. It was rendered with Arnold. Nuke was used for compositing.
FXG: Was the car modeled or built from imported CAD files ?
We modeled everything however it was based off CAD.
Marc Smith, who has previously directed Microsoft’s ‘Holiday Harmony’ and Converse’s ‘Counter Climate’, worked with SF Motors to define the brand message and the third script. The film centered around emotional, visual storytelling, focusing on the company’s mission to define the future of automated vehicles and to re-invent the way people travel, using metaphors to portray the adventure such as an Olympic hurdler jumping hurdles; cave dwellers exploring their surroundings; a father and his two children camping.
The project saw the directors working closely to create three films that function together but also as stand alone pieces. Bibby said: “One of the reasons SF Motors engaged with us is that we took ownership of the project: from the strategy all the way through to completion, we delivered these three huge, live action films with heavy VFX, knowing that SF Motors had complete trust in us every step of the way.”