Mercedes “Escape the Map”

Digital Domain teamed up with director Carl Rinsch, RSA and AMV BBDO for “Escape the Map,” a surreal POV journey into a world inspired by Google Street View. With characters ravaged by digital artifacts, blurred visages and time echoes, it’s a slickly imagined ride that pulled me in, despite knowing it was a car advert.

The film was intended for a lightly interactive microsite, which you can visit here.

From the release:

Digital Domain Visual Effects Supervisor Jay Barton, who is currently working with Rinsch on his upcoming feature for Universal Pictures, “47 Ronin,” led the team. His idea was to use photogrammetry — a technique in which measurements are taken from photographs to create real-world objects — to create the world. All of the live action was shot in Hong Kong, with Barton scouting and shooting iconic locations which were later used in the world-building. Additional green-screen shoots were staged in Hong Kong and Los Angeles.

“We first had to develop the visual language of the world,” Barton said. “We took inspiration from Google Street view and replicated that, but in moving video. As photos are stitched together, they sometimes seam strangely. They might not line up, or two buildings might occupy the same space, or people get cut in half. We played a lot with how images would load or resolve, or react when a whole new set of photos came in to reset the world. Here, when you explore you have more options and more viewpoints. You can decide where to look, walk, or drive and your perspective and resolution update accordingly.”


CLIENT: Mercedes Benz
PRODUCT: C63 AMG
TITLE: “The Escape”

ADVERTISING AGENCY: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO Ltd UK
Creative Team: Paul Knott & Tim Vance
Creative Director: Tim Riley
Agency Producer: Emmalou Johnson
Board Account Director: Ben King
Account Director: Rob Tauscher
Account Manager: Nick Andrew

PRODUCTION COMPANY: RSA Films, Ltd. UK
Director: Carl Erik Rinsch
Producer: Margo Mars

FACILITY COMPANY HONG KONG: RSA Asia
Hong Kong Facility Producer: Marco Leung

FACILITY COMPANY Los Angeles: RSA LA
LA Facility Producer: Christy Lindgren
DOP: Eric Steelberg

FACILITY COMPANY Los Angeles: RSA LA
LA Facility Producer: Christy Lindgren
DOP: Eric Steelberg

CASTING DIRECTOR: Denise Chamain
TALENT: Mariah Bonner

VISUAL EFFECTS: Digital Domain, Inc.
300 Rose Avenue, Venice CA 90291
Chief Creative Officer, EP: Ed Ulbrich
Executive Producer: Tanya Cohen
Head of Production: Scott Gemmell
Visual Effects Supervisor: Jay Barton
CG Supervisor: Ronald D. Herbst
VFX Producer: Chris Fieldhouse
VFX Coordinator: David Ziek
Avid Edit: Todd Miller
Avid Edit: Brian Miller
Avid Edit: David Hsin
Digital Standards Consultant: Jeff Heusser
Previs: Roy Sato
Flame Artist: Paul Kirsch
PHOTOGRAMMETRY: Scott Edelestein
PHOTOGRAMMETRY: Gil Hacco
GENERALIST: Daisuke Nagae
GENERALIST: Brian Creasey
GENERALIST: Casey Benn
GENERALIST: Rick Thomas
MAYA/HD FX: Adrian Graham
Maya FX: Lee Carlton
MATTE PAINT: Zach Christian
MATTE PAINT: Ting Lo
TRACK: Michael Lori
TRACK: Montu Jariwarla
TRACK: Roxanne Zuckerman
Roto Artist: Edgar Diaz
Roto Artist: Nathalie Gonthier
Rigging: Derek Crosby
Compositor Supervisor: Rafael Colon
Nuke Compositor: Chia-chi Hu
Nuke Compositor: Sven Dreesbach
Nuke Compositor: Aruna Inversin
Nuke Compositor: Scott Hale
Motion Graphics Artist: Cody Williams
Digital Studio Engineer: David Bryan
Digital Studio Engineer: Fernando Pantoja

OFFLINE EDIT: Stitch Editing
Editor: Frank Effron

DIGITAL PRODUCTION COMPANY: Unit9
Interactive Director: Rob Corradi

SOUND DESIGN: Factory Studios
Sound Engineers: Tom Joyce and Anthony Moore

COMPOSER: 11:59
Track: ‘Trepanation’

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24 Comments

Vladimir Tomin

I don’t expect to see anything cooler than this by the end of the day. And my day is just started. Excellent work!

Willem Zwaan

Very cool, great atmosphere.

Melissa Witt

This is fantastic! I love the style

Andrew Griff Griffin

Nice conceit, badly scripted and acted and realised with pretentious ham fists.

Vladimir Tomin

Something you can say about most of A-title movies for past 7 years.

Anonymous

“Pretentious ham fists.”

Okaaay. So you liked the idea, but not the direction? What exactly didn’t you like? Just looking for a little depth beyond “pretentious ham fists” and “meh.” 

Vladimir Tomin

The difference between everything else is that here it was done on purpose. I like atmosphere, I like small (meaningless) details, i like execution. It feels trippy, a bit random, a bit abstract, relaxed, different. 

Matt

Oh god. What is this rubbish?

I second the comments –  “meh”, “weak” and also agree that this must have been bashed together using fists carved from delicious delicious ham. mmmm ham!
Surely this a student project or something…?

Stuart Paciej

I love the concept and the execution of it, production is great as is the sound. However I also agree about the scripting and acting, Mariah Bonner feels like a cardboard cut out of Natalie Portman in V For Vendetta here.

Perhaps this was intentional, but I feel like this is such a lovely idea that I wanted more from it than just borrowing from other characters.

It could also simply be that its a car advert and not a short film (at least a non corporately sponsored one) which is not selling me.

I don’t think comments like ‘meh’ & ‘weak’ really contribute anything to a discussion, what is the point posting like that? You wasted my time reading it, and more of your time logging in and typing it.

Stuart Paciej

I love the concept and the execution of it, production is great as is the sound. However I also agree about the scripting and acting, Mariah Bonner feels like a cardboard cut out of Natalie Portman in V For Vendetta here.

Perhaps this was intentional, but I feel like this is such a lovely idea that I wanted more from it than just borrowing from other characters.

It could also simply be that its a car advert and not a short film (at least a non corporately sponsored one) which is not selling me.

I don’t think comments like ‘meh’ & ‘weak’ really contribute anything to a discussion, what is the point posting like that? You wasted my time reading it, and more of your time logging in and typing it.

Justin Cone

Thanks for an insightful comment, Stuart!

мононатриев глутамат

Good one goood one good one!!! And usually I hate every kind of ad.

мононатриев глутамат

Good one goood one good one!!! And usually I hate every kind of ad.

Tom Rudman

Digital Domain is a studio clearly able to achieve whatever the client wishes –  Mercedes should fire the creative agency responsible for this brand-defeating effort. I drive an E320 – a truly brilliant car – The designers, engineers and all those thousands of people employed by Mercedes deserve better than this. it’s competitive out there – this is a terrible ad/promotion – whatever they want to call it – it’s crap. Digital Domain and Mercedes good – this effort – bad.

Tom Rudman

Digital Domain is a studio clearly able to achieve whatever the client wishes –  Mercedes should fire the creative agency responsible for this brand-defeating effort. I drive an E320 – a truly brilliant car – The designers, engineers and all those thousands of people employed by Mercedes deserve better than this. It’s competitive out there – this is a terrible ad/promotion – whatever they want to call it – it’s crap. Digital Domain and Mercedes good – this effort – bad.

Stephen Fitz

totally agree. I don’t see how this flatters the car at all, or even makes the car a part of the plot to begin with.

the whole things seems more scion oriented, and they did the whole “escape the evil city” thing last year.

Hassan Wasswa

likes: clever use of inspiration, breaking the rules,
and innovativeness…

unlikes: nothing in there is about the car, maybe dodging
those falling thingies but…, and why is the gal talking and talking…

ps: like most new ideas, you shouldn’t expect everyone to appreciate them initially…

guicas79

Amazing aesthetics this should be a film!!

Ryan Hannigan

I’m actually shocked by so many people disliking it for some reason.  The only thing I can think of why is because they had such a large production on it.  If this was made by one person over a few months and uploaded I think people would’ve given more love.  As for me, I loved it.  I loved the ambiguity and the atmosphere and how they translated the google maps into a composited live action short. Taking certain liberties with scenes, small things stood out to me… i liked how the markers were falling onto the bridge and how one of them made the yellow line break. I thought it was another different and original take on a first perspective film.  Of course this concept wouldn’t work for a longer film but it also made me wanting more at the end as well. 

Let the haters be your motivators. 
 

Eric Sanderson

to elaborate on my “weak” comment:

Actual production quality is top notch, as to be expected from DD.  The project went awry before going into production unfortunately.  Seemed like someone had a massive idea, that they didnt have enough time/money to adequately execute.  Each step in the story was a predictable, cliche moment, as if whatever someones first idea that came to mind to progress the story (whose thought process involved sifting through memory banks of any typical sci-fi movie), was what went on paper and put into production.  The pay off was probably most disappointing,  for such a complex world that seems to hold everyone captive,  it sure wasnt very difficult to find the way out.  Ask one guy and find the blinding light to drive through in the parking garage, i wouldve like to have seen the exit strategy to involve something specific to the capabilities of the mercedes benz.  

Despite all this i dont want to take away from the awesome work of the animators and compositors, great job.  Our job is to often do the best you can with what your given.  Too bad someone in charge lost sight of the big picture along the way here.

James Leung

Someone must have slept with somebody to get this approved. 
I wandered to this site because I was wondering who was responsible for this ad campaign.

BMW did a similar “escape” job by using 7 short films with the driver Clive owen. The 7 Directors then explain their experience working with the 7 series.

xpez

this is crazy, an english model paranoid on E (see her dialated pupils??)  talking to herself, driving her around a city in a mercedes tripping out on google maps and at the end they drive into a car wash…hilarious!

Comments are closed.