Shooting in the Volume helped Sibling Rivalry solve a thorny creative problem
An LA volume stage helped the agency beat an unusual lighting brief for auto brand Genesis.
Sibling Rivalry shot a recent Genesis spot with Innocean / Genesis
Lighting luxury isn’t easy. The right shine, the right glow, the right reflection required to sell a wristwatch, perfume or car is a product of geometry, trickery and many hours of work. For US production company Sibling Rivalry, an unusual creative brief and a rare window of opportunity provided a chance to trial a new means of lighting and shooting for a car ad.
The agency shot a recent Genesis spot in studios usually reserved for filming cinematic features – Nant Studios in Los Angeles.
Earlier ‘Luxue is in the detail‘ work made for Genesis by Innocean had used a distinctive aesthetic: stark white cars against a rich copper background. Darren Foldes, who is managing director, executive producer and partner at the agency, says it’s a “copper world that felt seamless and infinite, that casts a glow on the vehicles. The idea was to create this really premium polished high-end world.”
Joe Wright, Sibling Rivalry co-founder and chief creative officer, says reproducing Genesis’ prevailing aesthetic with the ordinary lighting solutions available wasn’t going to be easy. Using the volume stage therefore was a “real luxury.”
“Volume stages came to prominence with The Mandalorian and Gravity. They’re often using these walls to project a landscape, for example. We were using it in a more counterproductive way,” he explains. “Normally, you’re using a lightbox over the top of the car. A larger, diffuse light source is the best type to use on a car because it makes it look premium; you’re not seeing the actual light source. This copper world that they’ve created as part of the brand, the volume stage offered us an opportunity to create an unbelievably immersive environment when it came to lighting the vehicle.”
Crucially, the screens were used to provide that “copper” color without making the white cars themselves that color, making them pop. “We were able to add a white rectangle in the ceiling above the car,” says Wright, “so that rectangle acts like a white light box shining down on the car. It gives it its true color in a world that’s copper.”
The screens at Nant provide 360-degree coverage and when paired with a shiny black floor, helped create the desired effect. “The entire environment was a light,” Wright adds. “It really enabled us to create this kind of immersive, dynamic environment. And you could never have done that on a traditional site.”
Though shooting in this way saved the need for an expensive location setup and helped Sibling Rivalry meet Genesis’ brief, but it didn’t necessarily cut time or cost off the project. “It’s a bit fiddly,” says Wright. “The less-is-more approach is often more time-consuming. The more you take away, the more you reduce, the more perfect what is left over has to be.”
Furthermore, Foldes says that studios with the requisite quality are hard to find outside the film industry. Nant is particularly large – it fit six Genesis vehicles on the set with room to spare for camerawork. “The reason we were able to get Nant was that the strike was happening in Los Angeles,” he says. He doesn’t rule out returning for future projects, though. “Once you’ve worked somewhere and you’ve done it, and it’s gone well, they’re more apt to open their doors to you in the future,” he adds. “But there are many ways to figure this out, even without such a premiere, high-end space.”
Despite that, Foldes says it’s proven that virtual production methods are viable for the company’s high-end clients. “We’re planning on utilizing it as frequently as it makes sense,” he adds.