Blackmagic Design announced recently that DaVinci Resolve Studio was used on Ford’s latest 2018 F-150 campaign, produced by Big Block and agency GTB, with colorist Brandon Chavez and Director Paul Trillo.
Noted for their visually rich and fast-paced spots, Ford’s marketing concept, that their vehicles are not just always raising the bar, but that they are the bar, is reflected heavily in the commercials themselves. Each campaign presents multiple viewpoints of that familiar tag line, and the 2018 campaign was no exception. This year, spots titled “Brainiac,” “Law,” and “Quarterback” each required their own look, while maintaining the Ford style.
The biggest challenge, according to Chavez, was finding a way to enhance the well established look of Ford’s innovative ads. “Finding the look is always my favorite part of the process because it requires putting together multiple ideas and considerations into one execution. In the case of this Ford campaign it was a collaborative effort between Paul Trillo, Agency Creative Director Beth Hambly and myself.”
Chavez and the director chose not to force a look, but rather embrace what was captured in camera naturally. From there, Chavez remained cognizant that each spot would have unifying traits built into the grade, while still respecting the environments. “When I start any session I make it a point to give the creative team options; varying levels of contrast, different color temperatures, etc. In the end the team gravitated towards something that looked distinct but did not alter the natural color of the paint of each truck.”
Chavez used hero pack shots of the trucks as they looked for different color options, selecting their final look from there. “I’m the kind of colorist who believes there are multiple ways we can push things and we should explore those ideas before deciding, and we all gravitated towards the look we ended up using.”
Each Ford spot also required extensive CG elements, time warps and compositing, all with the added challenge of a quick delivery. “As always we had a huge amount of shots that needed effects work in a very short 6 week schedule,” said Kenny Solomon, Managing Director at Big Block. “And since we were linking up so many live action plates without motion control, we had to use all of the tricks of the trade from compositing to CG transitions.”
Some elements needed would only appear on screen for as little as one second, but Big Block insisted on staying true to Trillo’s vision.
Chavez heavily utilized DaVinci Resolve’s tracker both to isolate specific areas in motion, such as windows, but also to integrate a wide range of visual effects that are a part of each spot. “Car commercials are uniquely challenging with all of the movement that takes place within each frame,” said Chavez. “Unlike still photography where you can shape light wherever and however you see fit, here you have to be able to control it as it moves. With the type of camera movements that took place within this campaign, there was a lot of compensating adjustments made throughout!”
Big Block Managing Director Kenny Solomon described the process of collaboration with agency GTB as a dream. “We truly appreciate clients that embrace our creativity, as much as we embrace their brand awareness. GTB was a true partner on the F-150 spots, from development through finish.”
Big Block is no stranger to high end clients, touting regular work with such heavy weight brands as ESPN, Geico and Under Armour, to name a few. But the Ford campaign is something they are especially proud of. “Every Ford spot is such an imaginative process, all put together to make a very strong brand statement,” said Solomon. “Color was paramount in this process and having Resolve in house with the ability to bounce back and forth between edit, Resolve and comp was indispensable.”