CGI, 3D Scans, and Live Action with the Image Creators at Saddington Baynes
We sat down with image creators Andy White and Alex McDonald to discuss technical processes, personal workflow, and the future of the industry.
PremiumBeat: Andy, new technology has been an exciting addition to the marketing toolbox. How have you incorporated CGI motion to shoot production and VR capabilities in your campaigns for clients?
Andy White: There’s a wealth of new technologies at our fingertips, but we must first understand what the final goal is for the client’s campaign. Once we understand what we need to achieve, we can explore how to use these technologies to overcome potential production obstacles and give our clients the most flexible working process. Our artists regularly use CGI to mock-up shots, manage location logistics, and create more elaborate imagery.
PB: One of your more innovative campaigns was for Gaggenau, where you blended CGI and live action. It was shot in the Washington State forest environment and later replicated virtually via 3D scans. Can you take us through the pre-production and post-production shoot that brought that all together?
AW: Gaggenau was an exciting project for Saddington Baynes. We worked on the initial pitch and pre-visualization, right through to 3D scanning, live action, and CGI. From our initial conversations with the client, it was clear that some shots would not be physically possible at the shoot location. We used CG to discover how the shoot could work and gathered reference materials on location to help construct our virtual set and build the most realistic final shot.
Cutting-edge LiDAR scanning enabled us to create a 3D point cloud of the whole environment, giving our artists flexibility in pre-visualization. And with every shot captured in 8K, we were able to accentuate Gaggenau’s minimalist aesthetic.
PB: Your most recent project was your involvement in video editing for the NIO campaign. The marketing team worked closely with production to define a visual language indicative of the NIO’s sleek, minimalist aesthetic. Can you talk about the photographic lighting techniques in the CG architectural space that produced the images and animations? How did these carefully curated results guide the edit?
AW: For this project, we designed and built a fully CG architectural space inspired by design cues from NIO’s brand. We first studied various location references that we felt represented the style of light and form of NIO’s minimalist aesthetic. We then molded these elements into a cohesive virtual set, complete with a lighting style that suited the car and created a strong compositional image.
When we’re working with lighting, we always start with a setup that is as close to the constraints of reality as possible, before using our bag of CG tricks to add subtle secondary touches to create a more nuanced effect.
PB: Alex, what does your role entail? Is there a typical day?
Alex McDonald: I wouldn’t say there is a “typical” day working at Saddington Baynes. We work on such a variety of different campaigns for different clients. In my role as editor, I can find myself behind the scenes on shoots one week, and then working on ads for Creative Annuals to market our work, the next. However, I spend most of my time pulling together shots from our talented team of CG artists — making sure they’re all updated with the latest versions and giving them any necessary final tweaks in DaVinci Resolve — all before ensuring the edit looks good and matches any audio or music that may be needed. I also compile the reels we use for pitching and for our website.
PB: The work at Saddington Baynes has been very inspiring. What’s been your most engaged project and why?
AM: My favorite project to work on has been the series of “Emotive Films” for [. . .] Gaggenau. We’ve recently been working on the third (in the series) for the launch of their new steam oven, which we’re really excited to get out there! We got the opportunity to take lots of macro shots of food, at incredibly high frame rates, making the whole shoot feel like we were working on a Chef’s Table episode! Being given the opportunity to work on every stage of the project, from pre-production right through to post, gave us an unprecedented level of creative freedom.
PB: What was your journey to becoming an editor? Many of our readers come to PremiumBeat as a source of information to grow their skill-sets. What advice would you give them from your experience in so many support roles?
AM: I first developed a love for filmmaking through skateboarding. I used to watch a lot of films that always inspired me to get out and skate. So, I then started making videos myself. I’ve always felt that skate films are some of the most creative and interesting in terms of editing — always fast-paced and anchored by strong music selections. I took media at an A-Level, where I was able to develop my craft before eventually doing a Film Production course at university. There, I was able to work on some documentary films. After graduating, I joined a freelance film studio, working on corporate productions, before moving to London to join the team at Saddington Baynes, working my way up to my current role — Editor & Colorist.
As far as advice, get your hands stuck into as many different areas of production as you can. You’ll find value in understanding what each role can bring to a project. Lastly, try to harness and develop your skills in the area of work you find the most enjoyable.
Cover image via Gaggenau.
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