Because The Outlet designer outlet centre would only just be completed by the time the commercial was due on air meant that we had to create the entire environment in CGI. Rushes showed us what they’d done for the series Rome and we set to work.
To reflect The Outlet’s distinctive architecture, and to tie in the fashion connections, we constructed a 45ft curved catwalk on which the models paraded before finding themselves – for all the world – walking through The Outlet itself.
Creating this total environment from scratch was a hugely painstaking operation; the walkway, shop fronts, trees, windows, window displays and café interior/exteriors all had to be created and lit. On top of this we had to light, populate and attend to the smallest detail to make it entirely credible.
The transition from catwalk to The Outlet was created by matching the camera move in the studio set to a frame accurate move on a photographic reference of The Outlook, together with some clever manipulation in CGI.
Creating the layers of people going about their everyday shopping activities meant shooting many different groups and individuals in the green-screen set, positioning them and re-sizing.
" Apart from anything else, this commercial was a tremendous technical challenge but with some handy software I was able to storyboard electronically and factor in size, distance, appropriate lenses and design the camera angles to create a shooting template for the model sequences. This was to correlate the number and layers of the groups of people needed, which direction they were going in, their respective sizes and perspective, the wardrobe changes needed and so forth.
It was important too that the catwalk sequence didn’t dwarf or outshine the main star of the commercial which was The Outlet itself. We had to take great care with the art direction and treatment of the sequence to give it a ‘catwalk’ feel but without going over the top;
I think we achieved just the right balance. The only disappointment I had is that on viewing the commercial many people thought that The Outlet scenes were merely shot as live action at The Outlet itself – I have to take this as praise indeed!"
He has an exceptional eye and a passion for directing, so much of his success is due to repeat business where he is asked for again and again.