Tune in, turn on and dial into that hypnotic groove known as Voodoo ! The Voodoo Lounge Tour was no exception. Seductive, dark , exciting but most of all sexy, the bizarre creatures featured in the Voodoo lounge sequences were taken from photographic references of traditional Mexican paper -mache folk toys. Special effects companies 'Lost in Space' headed by Christian Hogue , collectively produced three sequences with voodoo overtones to enhance the theme of the show that arrived in England February 95'.
Beautiful in their shape, detail and colour these references come from a Mayan heritage that Alex Quero at 4i knows personally .It is also a part of the world that annually celebrates with a festival called the 'Day of the Dead'. His passion and love of Mexican folklore was to inspire and amaze us all here at Lost In Space
"A Rolling Stones gig wouldn't seem right somehow without a fair smattering of sex,drugs and rock and roll "
Lost in Space, renown for their ability to integrate CGI with live action, (Terminator 2, Super Mario Brothers, Little Buddha, Mrs. Butterworth, BP, Lyons Teapot, ) were commissioned by Passion Pictures to come up with a magical hand which determines the fate of the winners in the inaugural National Lottery TVC campaign. The first spot which launches the identity of the "hand", features the hand forming from a gaseous mass of stars into a luminous, membranous, magical hand, made up of stars, gasses, clouds, dry ice, lights, and other magical ingredients.
The hand is seen as a mystical presence in the sky, as it sweeps, at first unobtrusively , over various people in fishing villages, a lady walking her Afghan hounds over the Edinburgh hills, and a weary traveller asleep in a train. The hand finally grabs the attention of a little girl, making rabbit ears silhouetted against a full moon at her bedroom window.
" The evolutionary process that led to the development of this hand, was even more complex than the the work I did on Terminator 2 "
When Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) asked Lost In Space (LIS) to produce the Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) for an upcoming American commercial, Christian Hogue's initial reaction was one of great relief. This meant that LIS spent five months working on the project. Thanks to the wonder of ISDN, during the 5 month period Lawson Owen, the Producer at ILM and McCann Ericson New York Agency Producer Matt Collins, were only required to spend one week in London. Using Neville Brody's (with whom LIS share offices) ISDN link at the studio, LIS regularly squirted files back and forth between London and San Francisco.
Initially ILM did not have their own ISDN link, however, so successful were the ISDN transfers between continents, that ILM installed their own link during the course of production. This meant that the transfers were as quick and expedient as ILM picking up a phone, requesting to see work in progress on a scene and a few hours later the files would be at ILM ready for client and agency viewing !
" The on air deadline was nearly 10 months in advance - for one of the commercials anyway …. "
When the dynamic Vaughn Arnell & Anthea Benton approached Lost In Space to assist on the Levi's Spaceman TVC, Christian Hogue found it difficult to turn it down.It was everything Lost in Space stood for in a storyboard - a brand new world. This job is interesting because we're using an ISDN link to squirt files backwards and forwards, and its worked brilliantly. So, from a production point of view, the world is becoming smaller and geographical location is no longer a prohibitive factor. The team set about producing and preparing for shots that were to come in via Paris over the Internet. Whilst Christian was on set overseeing the assembly of the film to be worked, LIS back in London were busy building various shots in Discreet Logic's 'Flint' and Softimage.
A multitude of camera passes had to be pulled off the ISDN server every morning back in London, and loaded onto LIS' computers and compositing and working the 3D effects . Futuristic buildings, purple landscapes, a chromed cast of Parisian born actors, spaceships, scate boarders, all of which came together just in time for the proposed airing date. It was a smash. Everyone loved it , so much so that the TVC's soundtrack shot straight to number one in the UK's chart listings. "Its not often we get a job like this one" says Christian. Looking back Vaughn Arnell & Anthea Benton's portfolio was defined by a strong art direction , an awareness for fashion and an ability to set trends, especially in terms of the music used. For the Levi's 'Planet' the duo selected a little heard of track called 'Spaceman' by Babylon Zoo. The track was to go on to sell 418,000 copies in a week, a record at the time, propelling it to number one in the UK singles chart.
" It was everything Lost in Space stood for in a storyboard - a brave new world "
A prestigous pool of special effects talent were on hand at the very first London Effects and Animation ceremony to collect 'Best Commercial Award' for Lucozades sports drink NRG.The campaign was devised by Oglivy & Mather creative team art director Ian Sizer and copywriter Nicola Crichton, with direction by Danny Kleinman of production company Limelight. Passion Pictures were responsible for the Traditional and Effects Animation and Flame Compositing.The commercial is a pastiche of the 50's children's television series "Muffin the Mule" and shows a stereotypical matronly post-war BBC presenter with a battered wooden dog puppet called Desmond. The frumpy presenter introduces NRG and offers Desmond a sip. Almost instantaneously, Desmond goes crazy in the style of Jim Carey in "The Mask". His eyes pop out, his ears whizz around, and he jumps up on the desk. After finishing off the bottle of NRG, Desmond dances across the table in a Cab Calloway style. Christian Hogue, Special Effects Director of Lost In Space, describes the commercial as ground- breaking in terms of its' use of computer animation.
This ad marks the most realistic-looking character animation produced since we did the Lyons Teapot campaign in 1992. The ad marked the commercials debut of the use of these two packages together, as they had previously only been used in Feature Films. While the use of these two packages is commonplace on the West Coast, the pairing is virtually unheard of in Europe. We found that they lend the film a realistic live action look which permits the use of genuine motion blur. It also enabled us to write custom shaders which enhanced the painted brushstrokes and wood grain of the puppet, which unfortunately for us, was made to look like a distressed timber antique toy, complete with scuffing, chipping and flaking off paint !
This was a huge challenge, particularly when you have to consider that because the dog moves around so much and so radically, the lighting was constantly changing the look of the wooden surfaces equally radically, so we had to custom write shaders that coped with these mutations. 3D Animator Eliza Keith was flown in from California fresh from work on "True Lies" and & "Terminal Velocity" Eliza had worked with Christian on "Terminator 2" where Eliza was responsible for the scene where the Terminator burst through a wooden floor. Hogue belives that Keith's experience and understanding of how to achieve realistic computer generated wood surfaces would be extremely beneficial and he and Keith happily teamed up again to write the shaders for Desmond. Animator Jeff Bastido was imported from Canada for his experience in using Inverse Kinematics with Prisms Software. He and other members of the team were responsible for achieving the fluidity of the very complex dance moves that Desmond performs, whilst retaining the mischievous character of the dog. All the original test composites were combined and manipulated in-house.
" To achieve the credible special effects we used a combination of Prisms 3D Animation system and Renderman "
Special Effects and Digital Animation Company Lost In Space has moved North London to share studio space with the celebrated Graphic Designer, Neville Brody. The move to Islington is a result of the successful working relationship LIS Director Christian Hogue and Brody forged when they collaborated on devising animated sequences for the White Castle TVC. LIS's new offices at Unit 2, 78 Liverpool Road, London, N1, will offer the company more space to help cope with an increased workload.
The healthy ideas-based collaborative effort between Lost In Space and Brody Studios will offer clients a unique design-led effects approach which also aims to work commercially for high-end commercials, titles, Feature Films, and Interactive multi-media projects. Whilst both companies will pursue work in their respective areas, they look forward to meeting the commercial demands for their collaborative talents. LIS are currently working on two TVC's for San Francisco based giant Industrial Light and Magic.
" From a production point of view, the world is becoming smaller and geographical location is no longer a prohibitive factor "
Working with the team behind the seminal film Terminator 2, Justin couldn't have asked for a better introduction into the then fledging computer graphics industry in London during the early 1990's. Based at the Computer FIlm Company and then later at the Neville Body Research Studio together with the team at 'Lost In Space' he contributed to a range of award winning projects for film, television and new media that included clients such as the Rolling Stones, Disney, Industrial Light & Magic, Pixar, Passion Pictures, Saatchi & Saatchi, The Natural History Museum, Buena Vista International & United Artist to name but a few.
* It is important to note that the views in this website are my own personal views and not that of my employer ..