Get to know your home inside and out with this new Exploded spot from BBDO NY for Lowes, directed by Dave Meyers @radical.media. MassMarket worked the visual effects, progressively revealing the inner components of a house's construction as the homeowners go through their normal day. From the front door deadbolt down to the wood frame that holds it all together, the viewer watches as it all comes apart, then comes back together, to be kept track of at the My Lowes website.
Dave Meyers wanted to bring an epic visual quality to this spot. From early in the spot, when small products are coming apart, he wanted the animation and camera placement to be dynamic. Objects needed to burst apart, but not so fast that the viewer couldn't marvel at their inner parts. As the spot progressed, Meyers wanted the scale of deconstruction to reach such levels that it felt like a force of nature had taken over. Through all of this, it was critical to maintain an orderly control of movement. Objects had to come apart as they were designed to, in an order that allowed other objects to come apart as well. Once the house had completely disassembled, Meyers wanted the force of it returning to normal to be so fast, so concussive, that it caused the ground to shake.
MassMarket was brought in early on to design a completely CG pre-visualization, or "previs." Working with the director, the MassMarket team breathed life into the storyboards, figuring out what worked, what did not, and where a shot might work better split in two, or replaced with a completely different one. Given the level of complexity, this proved integral when production began as it had already been determined what objects were exploding in which shots and how, shot length, and camera angles.
Coordinating with production, the MassMarket team determined that a live action house worked best for the early scenes of the spot, but by the end talent was being shot against a green-screen. The previs also allowed for faster camera setups, so actors were able to perform knowing where objects would be traveling and art department was able build and dress the set specifically for each shot. Making sure the sets were designed in a way that felt natural, but also left room for exploding objects, was a key benefit of the previs process. During the principal photography, thousands of photos were taken of each practical location, built set, and every product seen in the spot.
Using the previs as a guide, Cutting Room worked with the director, agency and MassMarket to determine which takes worked best for each shot. The selects were then tracked and roto was created where it was needed. While this was taking place, the MassMarket 3D team was hard at work modeling every detail of the Lowes products that exploded. Accuracy was incredibly important, so every object was disassembled and agonized over. How many screws are in a light switch? What materials are its components made of? How thick is that tiny piece of plastic? Even something as standard as a 2"x4" wood stud was based on one from Lowes.
As the spot progressed, the number of parts in any one scene exponentially increased. By the time the viewer leaves the kitchen, the refrigerator, the stove, the microwave, the oven hood, all of the cabinetry, the sink and more had been "exploded." The wide view of the house in pieces had over 8000 parts in it, all accurately placed, layered, textured, animated and lit - just as a real house would be constructed.
The animation of the objects exploding was also something the 3D team put a great deal of effort into getting just right. At first glance it might not seem overly complicated, as the objects just come apart. The difficulty was two fold. One, the objects had to come apart in a way that was visually dynamic. The disassembly was staggered so that the viewer could experience subsets of deconstruction. The second, and trickier part of the deconstruction was having everything coming apart as it normally would, but not hit anything else. For instance, when an 8'x4' sheet of drywall pops off of its studs, it requires a fair amount of space. Where do the ceiling panels go? The combination of both the dynamic energy of the animation with the technical planning ultimately created quite a visual show.
Once the animation was complete, MassMarket lit and rendered the spot replicating how physical light acts. Light, shadow, and color all interact the way they would in the real world. These 3D elements were then combined with the live action footage and given a natural, but unique color correction.