Bi-coastal creative production studio Stardust was tapped by ad agency Team Detroit to launch the new Ford 2011 Mustang with a gorgeously cinematic spot for TV and cinema. Stardust's Jake Banks directed the live-action commercial, titled "_PG." The spot highlights the 2011 Mustang's speed, bold lines and fuel efficiency through seductive camera work, motion type and an authentic aesthetic.
Banks and his team at Stardust were chosen to produce "_PG" because their ability to shoot, edit, animate and rock the visual effects gave them the upper hand over the competition.
"Jake and Stardust have made an arresting cinematic spot about an American icon," said Eric McClellan, Team Detroit Executive Vice President, Group Creative Director. "It's pretty hard to impress Mustang people -- there's already so much love for this car -- but when they see this, they're like 'that's so cool.' Mustang has always been an object of desire and deserves to be treated that way. Jake gave us a look that is both connected to the car's roots and makes it surprisingly new. The special sauce is the way the spot's gorgeous visuals also punch out an important piece of news -- 31 MPG, 305 horse power in a V6 engine -- and do so in a totally organic way.
The collaboration between Ford, Team Detroit and Stardust has dropped something kick ass into the conversation."
Set to the soulful rock Band of Skulls track "Light Of The Morning," the spot follows the 2011 Mustang through one of its habitats, the urban jungle. Shots of the car captured in motion, from rooftops and even as a reflection in a Chinese restaurant window, are interchanged with views of the city environment. CG type accented by gleaming light effects reinforces the Mustang's "31 MPG" and its "Primal" and "Untamed" qualities. Close-up shots of the car's interior reveal the Mustang's customization options, such as the available Navigation System. The spot continues to play with light. Reflections off skyscraper facades, flashes from the Mustang's grill and hubcaps, and the blinding sun as the car exits a tunnel give the commercial a lazy Sunday feel and compliments the spot's earthy color palette.
"My goal was to capture the car as if it were a character we're following through a story and to maintain a sense of rawness and authenticity to the footage," said Banks. "Our concept was to capture the car, as opposed to construct a series of shots. Team Detroit didn't want another slick and glossy cliched car spot and were willing to push it creatively, which made working with the brand team so fulfilling. The group that was pulled together, from the agency, to my DP, editor, VFX and animation team, music and sound folks, to the stunt drivers and type shoot crew -- everyone was amazing and shared in the same creative vision."
Banks spent four days in March filming in various parts of San Francisco, a location chosen for its ability to embody the urban vibe of any city. The picture car shoot involved three 35mm ARRI cameras operating simultaneously. These were attached to a Russian Arm on a pursuit vehicle, on a motorcycle chase car, with a wide-lens camera planted on rooftops to capture the footage below. A Stardust team of 15 worked on the spot over the course of a month and a half, with a lot of time spent in pre-production and upfront during the concepting phase.
To give the typography a unique look, Banks opted for an old fashioned type shoot, capturing natural light effects using multiple lenses on 35mm film and then warping and deforming the effects along with digital type in the 3D package Autodesk Maya. "_PG" was finished on the 2011 Autodesk Flame.