The Future of Shooting Commercials?

Thanks to the folks over at Team Lab we were invited to site in on the shooting of a commercial for Miura, a water filtration company. Pretty basic stuff, but Miura took the unusual step of giving Team Lab a budget, and then giving them a great deal of freedom.

Instead of shooting the commercial on a green screen and then adding the effects in post-production, the technologists at Team Lab decided to get rid of the entire post-production process as much as possible by building a set that renders graphics in real time and coordinates them with human action through movement tracking.

I’m not going to be able to do justice to the complexity of this project, but the combination of technologies and the level of detail involved was pretty stunning to witness.

Bringing together Microsoft’s Kinect with the Sony Playstation Eye, the animations projected onscreen could be manipulated by the movement of the dancers on set.

The idea is that a commercial can be designed ahead of time and shot in a studio, but because the CG is rendered live there is more flexibility and the ability to choose from a multitude of takes. In this case, the commercial concept revolves around water filtration, so the two “filter pixies” below dance along to music performed by beatboxers as they work their magic.

Below is the team behind the project.

…and water pixies who do their thing, relaxing between takes.

What was amazing was that even the glowing piping on the girl’s costumes could be color-controlled remotely. The overhead spotlights tracked their every move, and the entire sequence was pre-designed with care, yet open to interpretation. Is the future of commercials (and perhaps even entertainment) going to have actors interacting with worlds created ahead of time? Shoot the scene, and then you’re done?

Check out the official video from the Miura campaign page:

About the Author

Michael is founder and director of the Mandalah Tokyo trends and innovation consultancy.