Imagine an Olympic games in which every athlete achieves absolutely optimal performance, unencumbered by the adverse effects of wind, rain or sun.
Mojo Weather’s bold new spot takes this conceit and blasts it out of the stratosphere, staging a weather-free games on the moon. Thanks to some outstanding production craftsmanship, the resulting film is something pretty special.
This is Moji’s first commercial for its MoWeather app, which it claims is the largest crowd-sourced weather service in the world, with over 400 million users in 70 cities uploading and sharing weather reports from 700,000 locations across China.
The concept bears the daring hallmarks of its creators, Shanghai hotshop W, an agency whose contemplative copywriting and atmospheric filmmaking for big brands like New Balance and Douban continues to win plaudits throughout the Chinese industry.
Produced by Shanghai’s Mili Films and Munich’s velvet Mediendesign, the brief for the two-minute-forty-five second film was for a sci-fi epic with a documentary feel envisioing a real lunar Olympics.
对于制片人Rebecca Yeh来说，导演Mathias Zentner是再合适不过的人选。Zentner有着理工科的背景，同时与中国团队有着丰富的合作经验，他在德国还有自己的专业后期团队——Velvet。Yeh说：“从模拟引力动作, 诠释太空和运动视觉衝击美学的画面拍摄设计, 到后期动画和音效等等的处理, 他都能够一一综合考量。”
Director Mathias Zentner, with a background in science and engineering, experience working with Chinese teams, and his own post production studio, Velvet, was a natural choice, as Mili Films producer Rebecca Yeh explains, “He was able handle to handle everything, from movement in space, to image composition and aesthetics to VFX to sound effects.”
Matthias Zentner导演和李三水｜Director Matthias Zentner and Li Sanshui, founder of W
The German was immediately taken with the idea of sports on the moon, “That perspective opens a whole new world in which to move, with different gravity, different behavior. It had never been done before so conceptually it was a real challenge.”
The production scouted seven countries for their moonscape, eventually settling on a stone pit in Bulgaria, an increasingly popular country for shooting for its affordability, manpower and diversity of locations.
Preproduction took place over the course of a week in Bulgaria, with pre-created concept art serving as a crucial design guide. A Caterpillar digger was used to sculpt the existing stone pit environment, as the team set to work on constructing props and costumes. After a bad experience working with a local costume designer, Zentner took matters into his own hands and bought the raw materials for the outfits online. The production recruited the help of Jasmina Vasileva, a costume supervisor on the latest 300 movie and, in an intense week toiling in a workshop, assembled the custom spacesuits. “We modified motorbike suits, futuristic fashion lines and helmets that we got from all over the world,” explains the director.
With only two nights to get the footage, the schedule required smart planning, including starting postproduction before the shoot. That meant intense, large-scale matte paintings mapped onto a digital landscape. Smart integration of CGI by experienced Flame and 3D artists was used to make classical effects on camera and the final film is a combination of shot footage and post production.
For a day, the director and feature film stunt coordinator Kaloian Vodenicharov rehearsed with stuntmen, before deciding that the cast of professional athletes would be capable of executing the moves. It made for an energetic set, says Zentner, “There were many thrilling moments as the real athletes were out to prove their ability, despite the lack of gravity”. In the end, only the two boxers were played by stuntmen.
“我们使用了两部Alexa Minis摄影机，使得我们能在50到200fps的范围内进行高速摄影。配上Alexa Master Primes这款镜头——他的光圈为夜景摄影提供了极大便利。拍出来的片段如同只有太阳作为唯一的光源一样写实。但实际上为了照亮拍摄场地同时烘托出月球荒凉的景象，我们使用了5台Arrimax灯，并在陨石坑的石头上精确的计算了每束光的反射。我和摄影指导Dieter Deventer研究了大量的月球照片。我们力图以虚拟纪实的角度来展现整个故事，但同时又要显现出真实的科幻感。我们在处理演员运动时并没有用CGI，但是对于整个场地及背景的渲染却需要运用大量的CGI。”
With experience working with flying rigs, the director was well equipped for the challenge of creating the effect of gravity that is one-sixth the strength of Earth. He explains the technical process,
We used two Alexa Minis, which gave us the variety of a high-speed range from 50fps to 200fps. Combined with Alexa Masterprimes, which have a good stop for night shoots, we achieved the effect and kept it realistic by having only one sun as a light source. But to light such a valley and create such a stunning atmosphere, we were handling five Arrimax and bounced a lot of light on the stone pit in the night. My DOP Dieter Deventer and I studied Moon photography. We wanted to keep it like docu-fiction, evolving from the reality to bringing a stunning sci-fi-look. No VFX was needed for the movement of the actors but we needed CGI to add the atmosphere of clouds moving.
从米立制作制片人Rebecca Yeh的话中我们也可以感受到这部影片的拍摄紧张程度：“拍摄过程中有许多的挑战, 每天和时间赛跑, 解决不一样的问题, 找寻变通方式, 跨国沟通协调, 时差等等因素都是很大的挑战, 米立在这段期间以一个专业的广告製作团队负责沟通协调及监督的角色, 让导演, 代理商三边建立起非常好的合作情谊。”
Mili Films producer Rebecca Yeh reflects back on an intense job well done, “We overcame a lot of challenges, including jet lag, communication problems and making changes to the storyboard.”
Zentner meanwhile was impressed with the creative agency, “This liberty in visual storytelling is the gate to something unseen. I think W’s attitude is to not only talk, but to actually make something different.”
He also reserved praise for the flexibility of the client, a refreshing contrast to the staid thinking of some larger brands, “Startup clients are much more open-minded to new approaches. They trusted us and they had the courage and the daring to try something fresh.”
- 创意人员：李三水，Jack Zhang
- 执行制片人：萧启炜，许泽锋，Rebecca Yeh
- 导演：Matthias Zentner
- 摄影指导：Dieter Deventer
- 后期制作：Velvet Mediendesign（慕尼黑）
- 制片人：Maria Metodieva
- 剪辑师：Jochen Kraus
- 特效总监：Falk Buettner
- 音乐：Chris Zhou
- 艺术概念设计：Lara Frank
- 摄影师：Tom Gosnior
- Client: Moji Weather
- Agency: W
- Creatives: 3water, Jack Zhang
- Production: Mili Films
- Executive Producer: Vincent Hsiao, Tank Xu, Rebecca Yeh
- Director: Matthias Zentner
- DoP: Dieter Deventer
- Production & Post Production: Velvet Mediendesign, Munich
- Producer: Maria Metodieva
- Editor: Jochen Kraus
- VFX Supervisor: Falk Buettner
- Music: Chris Zhou
- Concept Art: Lara Frank
- Photographer: Tom Gonsior