Different scale models, transitions, and a blend of production and post-production – How OLGA directors created a unique world.

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Vetor Zero is a studio based in São Paulo and New York City through its Lobo branch. This awesome group works, directly and indirectly, with over 400 talented collaborators.

They’re a lighthouse for filming, animation, and innovation in the Brazilian advertising production industry. Maybe you remember them from the previous blog and outstanding work for the same brand.

Before diving into this new work and process (thank you again, guys, to contribute in this great way every time) we would love to add a few more lines about their works which include different techniques of animation and live action, and they’re always in searching of new technologies, styles, and languages.

The OLGA duo has already co-created other films with the same client and agency. They put all their creativity into production solutions and delivered a great film – underscoring the power of co-creation for that final delivery.

Recognized by several awards: Cannes, Annecy, Clio, and El Ojo, among many others as a result of the trust our partners have granted us for getting their stories out of the box, as it was in O Boticário’s films.

Boticário – Arbo Let’s start this new episode guys!

Our goal with the ”Arbo Botanic” campaign was for every frame of the film to be a work of art, beautifully composed and communicating a clear message. With clever and refined transitions, the film flows from one scene to the next in a fluid way, bringing unity to the narrative.

The script posed a considerable challenge right from the start. It tells a playful story that travels through different settings, illustrating the wide biodiversity and richness of Brazilian nature. We approached it with a series of techniques that allowed us to develop a creative and fresh language. That suggests the atmosphere of the fragrance, combining daring editing with a charming look.

The movie starts with our character putting on perfume in his apartment. Suddenly everything freezes and we dive into the macro universe of droplets suspended in the air. Inside each of them, there’s a small ecosystem. This effect was created at Vetor Zero’s own studio/workshop where we invent gadgets and test new techniques to use in our films. Our technical solution for this scene was to mix 3D animation and live action, building scale models of the biomes present inside each droplet. The water bubbles that encapsulate the miniatures were created in CG. For the camera movement that dives into the perfume spray we used our robotic motion control system, creating a seamless blend of all those techniques that results in a fluid single-take feel.

Once we reach the biome inside one of the droplets, we begin a sensorial journey that follows the path of a dewdrop through a forest, exploring the rich imagery of bright sun beams, reflections and shadows to portray the elements in their most natural and exuberant form. The level of sophistication and control we had in mind would be impossible to achieve filming in a real forest. So we also used a scale model in our studio. It allowed us to create the perfect journey through the forest for our drop. This technique was better than using a 3D model or stock footage, as it allowed us to shoot with the same lens and camera as the other scenes, guaranteeing visual continuity throughout the film.

At the end of the dewdrop’s journey through the forest, we find our character at the foot of a waterfall, enjoying the drizzle that drifts from it (a reference to the perfume spray). For this scene, we shot the plates at a real waterfall using an FPV drone, equipment with high maneuverability and speed. It allowed us to film in high speed a drop of water falling from a 100-meter-high waterfall. The character was filmed in our studio, where we built a life-size replica of the ground at the foot of the waterfall. So he could be composed realistically with the real location plates in post-production.

Olga

The camera pulls back from the character and out of the droplet. We still see him at the waterfall inside the water bubble, but we also reveal dozens of other drops arranged next to it, each containing a different miniature biome. It’s like a museum of Brazilian nature, with living exhibits where we can see the wind blowing through the trees, the variety of species, and the unique characteristics of each ecosystem.

Our character starts to walk and breaks through the boundaries of his droplet. Exploring this magical space and interacting with another ecosystem inside a different bubble. This moment of contact was filmed in studio, where we built realistic settings. We built the earth base in a circular shape for it to be wrapped later with a CG water bubble. For each of the 3 settings, we planted vegetation specific to the particular biome it represents.

All shots were performed with motion control, so we could film separately the weather effects necessary to convey the ambiance of each ecosystem: rain, fog, wind, etc., and compose everything together later.

Our character ends his journey when he walks into a new, expanding bubble. The native forest inside completely takes over the screen. The setting transforms, and we’re back in his apartment. He opens his eyes, having experienced an amazing journey brought about by the fragrance of the perfume.

With this approach, we didn’t simply explore the droplets and the essence of Brazilian nature they contain. We brought the character along on this journey, experiencing every detail of this trip. The audience was captivated by the cinematic aesthetic and the development of the storytelling. It is based on action and contemplative sequences that convey a spirit of freedom and grandeur.

It’s time for the making-off! Enjoy it!

You used scale model settings in your film. Why did you make that choice, and what was the process involved?

We really like to mix real elements with post production. We believe that it adds realism and an aesthetic quality to our productions.

This technique was used when the camera dives into the droplets. The idea is that inside each drop we could see a different Brazilian ecosystem: the Atlantic forest, cerrado, caatinga, pampa, etc. Instead of using a 100% CG approach, we built those biomes as scale models in our studio and filmed them over a green screen using a motion control camera system. The same camera moves were reproduced when we filmed the actor, so the two footage sources could be perfectly integrated into post-production. That’s when we added CG water bubbles around the settings and introduced extra droplets that were also filmed in the studio.

How did you manage to transition from the waterfall to the world of drops?

One of the hardest parts was finding a waterfall that would work for this transition. After a lot of hiking and visiting many waterfalls, we found this perfect one. First, we filmed the waterfall with an FPV drone, with a reference to where the actor would be positioned. There were many attempts until we got the movement right, with the drone flying down toward the correct point at the foot of the waterfall.

Afterward, we built 4 life-size forest settings in our studio, to be suspended inside water bubbles. The first forest is where the actor would be, so we designed it so that when seen from above it. We would show vegetation and rocks similar to the bottom of the real waterfall.

Then we filmed with the camera descending on a crane towards the actor, emulating the movement of the drone, while he stood on a floor that mimicked the bottom of the waterfall. In post-production, all those elements were put together. The transition from the drop to the waterfall was also an interesting one. We filmed the droplet with a Phantom Flex camera and a 200mm macro lens. Behind it, we placed vegetation elements to be reflected in the water, making it look like it was actually close to the waterfall. This drop was then rotoscoped and composited into the scene.

How was the forest sequence done? Did you shoot in a real forest or is the background added in post?

None of the above, actually. Since we needed several hours of unchanging light conditions, we decided to build the forest environments in our studio. Most of the plants are real, except for some larger trunks that are artificial props. This was the best solution because it allowed us to create those settings exactly as we had envisioned them. Three forests were built in total, one for the initial sequence with the bugs, one that was seen from above during the falling drop scene and another for the packshot.

What is the creative process of the duo?

Every script we receive comes with its time and budget specifications, but we don’t let those constraints hinder our creativity and our search for the best possible solutions for the film. 

We start by doing a lot of research and carrying out lengthy creative discussions until we arrive at a proposal we believe in for the film. Then we begin the second part of our creative process: developing techniques to produce the images within the specified delivery time and budget. Thanks to Vetor Zero’s own studio and research laboratory, we can test many different techniques, which gives us a lot of creative freedom and helps us arrive at solutions with a production value that often looks higher than the actual budget would normally allow.

Sometimes, in order to stay true to the initial narrative proposal we developed, we devise different techniques for the same film, to meet the specific needs of each scene of the script.

What were the references that inspired your work for this film?

Working on campaigns where we have the freedom to create and put forth our own ideas, managing to bring a little of our personality and history into the narrative and cinematography of the film, is what we love the most. And what we found the coolest thing about this film for Boticário, “Arbo Botanic”, was the opportunity to develop a script on a subject that is very dear to us, the richness of Brazilian nature – something that we carried with us throughout our lives, having traveled to all corners of the country.

Part of our screenplay development process is, once we start to stretch out beyond the original briefing, to write down all the ideas, no matter how absurd they may be, going deeper into the topic and searching for inspirations that we like related to the subject. We really like to look for references in paintings, photography and movies. For this film we went over the work of many Brazilian photographers, such as Sebastião Salgado and Miguel Rio Branco, who inspired us in terms of mood, framing and light.

Another aspect that we really like is being able to add or explore a playful side to the script, without losing the aesthetic refinement, to help us interpret the product and convey specific sensations through our images. That’s why the concept of this campaign is so great: it gave us the opportunity to celebrate Brazil’s natural beauty, respecting the essence of the script while bringing a new playful, creative language to interpret the atmosphere of the fragrance.

Once our ideas were all lined up and the script fully developed, we started to research the language. We really like to stay updated and keep up with what is being done with new narratives and languages by directors and photographers around the world. One example we find inspiring is director Salomon Ligthelm, who always brings to his films a delicate narrative sense accompanied by a bold, fresh language. Directors like him are a huge inspiration for us in the world of advertising film.

How did you develop a cinematography language and how did it manifest in the final result of the film?

We searched for a visual, sensorial appeal that would add rhythm to the film.

Our cinematography was based on a contemplative style of camera work, using macro shots to introduce the ambiance of each setting inside the droplets. We alternate between wide shots and detailed close-ups to add dynamism to the film.

To reinforce the contrast between the real and the fantastic worlds, we used different lenses for each of the two moments of the film, highlighting their differences. In the first part we used an Alexa Mini with a set of Zeiss super-speed lenses. They are smooth, clear and provide beautiful blurring. They are not vintage lenses, but they are not too sharp either, a perfect fit for the first part of the film, where beauty and personality meet.

For the second part, we used a Cine Vision lens, which brought a lot of personality and a beautiful bokeh that added depth to our forest, in addition to providing us with macro shots of the dewdrop.

For the waterfall shot we invited Rafael Paiva, one of the best FPV drone pilots in the world, who performed a very risky and technically challenging take.

As for lighting, we always draw from the bright colors of Brazilian nature, creating a universe of sunlight, reflections and shadows that portray the elements in their most natural and beautiful form.

What did you like most about the production process of this campaign?

The freedom to add our own language and creative background to the narrative and aesthetics of the film; being able to propose different techniques, mixing post-production with live action; the possibility of exploring a playful way to interpret the product, conveying unusual sensations through images; and so on. This campaign carries on with the diverse, intense Brazilian spirit of Boticário, while also bringing the protagonist to the front, generating empathy and leading the story with lightness and curiosity. We hope the people who watch this film have fun and identify with it.

Stoked to have you again on board, thanks so much for sharing again your process and for all the insight you provided to the community, and keep up the great job!

We’re sure that more will come soon!

See you on our next blog, much love fam <3
FilmmakersWorld Team

The credit of the work:

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