Rhino Creative Director/Visual Effects Supervisor Vico Sharabani collaborated with Director Iain Mackenzie of Paydirt and Merkley+Partners to develop two spots introducing the Mercedes 2009 GLK model, a new smaller, sleeker SUV.
The spots showcase the agility, beauty, and functionality of the new model, as it navigates the winding streets of old Italy with ease, squeezing between two semis unscathed, and passing through the trunk of a redwood without a splinter. The beautiful footage, shot by Mackenzie, was enhanced through a Flame color correction system that was specifically tailored for Mercedes by Vico and Rhino lead artist Mickey Gorenstein. Gorenstein developed an eye for Flame color correction working at Gravity Visual Effects in Tel Aviv before moving to Rhino.
Vico noted, “Incorporating these color correction techniques enabled some creative exploration of different palettes and textures, giving us more precision and allowing contextual replacements that just wouldn’t have been possible in Telecine. Our system enables our Flame artist to color correct isolated images while compositing. It’s a more specific process, and a more efficient process, highlighting individual elements and color correcting them independently.”
Additionally, because the vignettes were shot at different times of the day in different locations, the Rhino team had to replace the backgrounds, reconstruct the landscapes, adjust the lighting and luminance and color per scene for seamless continuity. “This kind of work comes up frequently in car spots,” notes Managing Director, Rick Wagonheim. “The money isn’t available anymore for directors to wait for the perfectly sunlit moment to shoot. Ian is a brilliant director and gave us brilliant looking film, but he too is at the mercy of reality, and our job is to create a better reality, another reason for color correcting in Flame.”
The ongoing partnership between Rhino, Merkley+Partners and Mercedes-Benz includes two-dozen design-heavy effects spots, many of which Vico was the Creative Director/Visual Effects Supervisor. Rick continues, “Agencies and directors love Vico, first as a creative director for his eye, and secondly for his contribution and collaboration as a visual effects supervisor. He always looks for director-friendly solutions that guarantee great looking film, never encumbering the shoot. Thirdly, everyone loves Vico because he’s got a great vibe!”
Rhino’s work for Mercedes is the latest in a string of successful ventures for major brands and feature films including recent Golden Globe nominee, The Reader, Dreamworks’ comedy, Ghost Town, Soul Men, starring Samuel L. Jackson, and spots for Cadillac, Verizon, Subway, ESPN and Toyota.
Since its launch in 2000, Rhino has created award-winning visual effects, design, and animation for commercials, VFX for feature films, episodic television, webisodic mini-series, and videogame cinematics. The company’s principals and artists have also led the industry’s exploration into the boundless potential of branded digital content. By cultivating extensive relationships with key brands, advertising agencies, and film/TV studios, Rhino utilizes its creative directors and artists to develop and execute powerful branded entertainment to build both identity and awareness. The company’s principals include: CD/Director Vico Sharabani, CD/Director Harry Dorrington, CD/Director Arman Matin, CD/Director Natasha Saenko, COO/EP Camille Geier, Managing Director Rick Wagonheim, and CEO North America Zviah Eldar.
Spot Title(s): New Arrival, Narrow
Airdate: January 2009
Agency: Merkley + Partners
Exec CD/Partner (New Arrival): Andy Hirsch, Randy Saitta
Group CD (Narrow): Scott Zacaroli, David Fox
Senior Producer: Rachel Novak
Prod Co: Paydirt
Director: Iain Mackenzie
EP: Jonathon Ker
CD: Vico Sharabani
Lead Flame Artist: Micky Gorenstein
Flame Artist(s): Theodore Maniatis, Steve Koenig
Producer: Linda Gallagher
COO/ Sr. EP: Camille Geier
Managing Director: Rick Wagonheim
Editor: Andre Betz
EP: Jane Weintraub