Unlock the magic

  • Design & Animation
  • Visual Effects & 3D

Oh, how we all know it – the never-ending search for the perfect gift. In the recent Zalando x Estée Lauder commercial directed by Emma Westenberg at Halal, we get a little help on the matter.

Ambassadors worked to make Westenberg’s dream world come true by designing the other-worldly backgrounds using virtual production. With this technique, CG environments are created in pre-production and displayed on a giant LED screen behind the set. Using real-time rendering the virtual sets become fully integrated into the foreground elements and sets with camera moves, depth of field and lighting through Unreal Engine. Ambassadors’ virtual sets were also used to shoot the film and still photography for this campaign.

“We started with references for other-worldly dreamscapes that fit the brief and Emma’s vision for these worlds. Once our ideas were aligned, we got to work creating the environments,” explains Ambassadors Executive Creative Director Justin Blyth. “First from sketches, then into 3D visualization, and eventually into Unreal Engine. Once we had worlds that ran smoothly in Unreal, we went to the virtual production studio with our hard drive, plugged it in and started testing them on the giant screen.”

Bas Moonen, VFX Supervisor at Ambassadors adds to this: “The collaboration between the design team, CG artists, production designers and set builders was key in this project. ​​Everyone on set really felt like they were in the world we created together. You can ‘feel’ the CG environment in the light, in the edges, in everything. It’s immersive. It’s a level of integration that’s impossible to achieve with traditional chroma keys.”

“Working with Halal is always a pleasure, and Emma’s vision for this film fits right into the kind of design and creation we love to do,” says Justin.