Framestore worked with Toyota’s agency Saatchi & Saatchi LA on their latest campaign for the rugged RAV4 Hybrid, starring actor James Marsden. Marsden drove to remote locations looking for adventure, and ultimately finds his way out of trouble thanks to quick wit and one very capable vehicle.
Framestore supervised the shoot, directed by Daniel Kleinman, with whom the team have worked on multiple occasions. Both ‘Lumberjack’ and ‘Wolves’ were shot on and around Mammoth Mountain, where early snowfall created Arctic and challenging conditions. “It’s hard to convey the logistical challenges that the crew faced”, says Creative Director, Alex Thomas. “For ‘Wolves’, we had snow caps on big trailers, taking the RAV4 Hybrid up the mountain to untraveled, remote areas. With fewer hours of daylight available we had a compressed shooting time, plus there was the additional time needed to get people on and off the mountain. The speed with which the conditions changed definitely challenged us to maintain continuity between shots. The crew were very impressive, they achieved awesome things quickly.”
The team was helped along by the professionalism of James Marsden, who nailed his lines in a couple of takes. Arguably the biggest challenge was the management of the other key talent: the wolves. “Huge credit to wolves and wolf trainers,” says Thomas. “We were limited as to which wolves could perform with one another, and how many could be close to James and the crew. We needed to achieve the sense of wilderness and freedom amongst the creatures, which wasn’t a viable option for us here in camera. Safety, and respect for the animals, was paramount.”
Instead, Framestore readied their compositors to pull together a wolf ‘pack’: “There was a lot of complex plate compositing, since we could not shoot all of the wolves together,” says VFX Producer James Alexander. “A considerable amount of time went into it, but the final image has a perfectly composited full pack in the frame. It was also necessary to rebuild the road in ‘Lumberjack’, due to the unprecedented amount of snow on location - once again, VFX solutions saved the day.”
The extreme environments and animals made for an exciting shoot and process for Framestore, who benefitted from working with Daniel Kleinman. “It’s always a pleasure to work [with him],” says James Alexander. “We had such great plates, from beautiful locations, and a strong mix of traditional compositing work mixed with some interesting CG moments. A brilliant job for us.” Adds Alex Thomas, “I love working with Danny. The challenges presented by this shoot were things I really enjoy - extreme environments, wild animals, stunning scenery. For all involved, it turned out a great campaign.”