What’s your flavour?

Mmm... F & N's new branding ad a visually 'tasty' treat.

Created as an integral element in F&N’s recent re-branding of its extensive F&B division, ‘Mmm’ embodies the key messages summed up in F&N’s new tag line ‘Pure enjoyment. Pure goodness’. Grey Worldwide Creative Director Koh Hwee Peng explained, ‘People of all ages consume F&N products and they have been doing so for decades. This commercial shows a broad spectrum of consumers of different ages drinking, eating and of course, enjoying the goodness of F&N products.’ Produced by EPs Davis Koh and Raymond Lau of Spunk Pictures Shanghai, the spot was shot on location in KL by Director Alex Chen and DOP Jeffrey Ang. Production encountered its fair share of problems with unpredictable weather proving the most challenging, commented EP Davis Koh, ‘The sky was gloomy and rain took away 7 hours of outdoor scenes, however Jeffrey’s understanding of how to use the right film stock and filtration for balancing the various light values meant we were well prepared to tackle the weather issues’. Airing across Singapore and Malaysia, the spot presents an array of familiar scenes featuring people from all walks of life relishing F&N products while going about their daily activities. Whether it’s riding the school bus, playing basketball or hanging out in the park, surreal streams of ‘M’s appear and form in a magical manner adopting the texture, colour and consistency of the particular F&N drink being enjoyed. The floating letters appear almost as if in zero gravity and provide a visual metaphor for the enjoyment the characters experience through drinking the various F&N products. BMD Supervising Editor Supra worked closely with Director Alex Chan to achieve an effective flow and pacing for each of the product scenes. Commented Supra, ‘Alex had quite thoroughly previsualised where and how he wanted the ‘Mmms’ to appear and move, which helped us a lot in figuring out the timings for each scene. This spot differed from the majority of VFX projects we do at Blackmagic. As virtually all the scenes in ‘Mmm’ feature 3D VFX, we had to lock down frame-accurately the timing for each scene to avoid unnecessary reworking of 3D later on. With the majority of VFX projects we allow a little leeway between the scenes that is tightened up as work on the VFX progresses. In the case of ‘Mmm’ with the sheer volume of 3D this was simply not an option.” Although the various ‘Mmms’ float through the scenes in a seemingly effortless fashion, to create them in 3D animation was somewhat of a challenging undertaking. Commenting on the development and execution of the spot, Grey Worldwide CD Hwee Peng explained, ‘Weeks were spent creating the moving ‘Mmms’ through computer animation. Each sequence required countless painstaking hours to create life-like ‘Mmms’ in different textures which had to interact with actors and situations in the film.’ To tackle the complicated 3D animation involved in the spot, the BMD team adopted a carefully structured workflow. Immediately upon completion of the shoot, all 35mm rushes were scanned at 2K on BMD’s Cintel ditto 4K film scanner and background plates for the VFX sequences were selected so that 3D work could begin without delay. The BMD team then took the un-graded background plates and composited 3D wire frame models of ‘Mmms’ to test 3D camera tracking and basic motion. This pre-visualisation stage helped to establish the relative size and positioning of the multiple ‘Mmms’ for each scene and to analyse the most effective direction and speed for their flight paths. After several rounds of tests and pre-visualisation presentations, the composition and basic motion of the 3D ‘Mmms’ for each scene was approved and locked down. Director Alex Chen commented on the next challenging stage of post production, “We had to create five different ‘Mmms’ comprising of water, milk, orange juice, 100 Plus and icecream. Each liquid had its own unique property, for example, milk is creamy and will flow in a different manner as compared to water. We also had to simulate how each liquid will look like floating in an anti-gravitational manner”, explained Alex. To successfully achieve the desired photo-real look of the ‘Mmms’ for the VFX scenes, the BMD team carefully studied the properties of various types of liquids, paying particular attention to such things as surface texture, viscosity and how liquids appear under differing lighting conditions and environments. The other main challenge that had to be addressed was how to clearly and effectively convey the central expression of ‘Mmm’. BMD VFX Director Damien Yang explained, ‘It was extremely crucial that we designed every scene such that the message of ‘Mmm’ is clearly established. The audience should recognise ‘Mmm’ and not see individual ‘M’s floating around instead. For this, not only was the visual important but the audio – where you hear the jingle ‘Makes you go Mmm…’ – was equally essential. Finally ‘time’ was a major consideration for the BMD post team but in this case it wasn’t a fiendishly tight post schedule, but rather the very limited number of frames available in each scene that posed an interesting challenge. Ensuring that each ‘Mmm’ had a comfortable amount of time to form perfectly across all of the fast cut scenes was the responsibility of BMD 3D/VFX Artist Vincent Yoe, ‘Not only did the ‘Mmms’ have to take shape at a nice pace, they also had to stay in shot for enough time for the viewer to appreciate them. This was quite tricky as the scenes were all pretty fast moving, especially the one which featured a bunch of cyclists zooming by. We had to focus on nailing the timing for each scene very accurately. ‘ Textures, tracking and timing aside, Grey Worldwide CD Hwee Peng praised the efforts of the BMD team, ‘Due to the complexities of the animation, this has been an immensely challenging project. At every stage, no expense was spared to overcome hitches, glitches and problems so we could create the very best work possible. A massive pat on the back for the BMD team. This film is great because they made it so!’



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