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Sehsucht, Berlin Agency antoni Team On "Stronger Than Time" For Mercedes-Benz

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Robert Goldrich
Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018

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Berlin-based agency antoni created this “Stronger Than Time” campaign introducing the new Mercedes-Benz G-Class. Centerpiece of the campaign is this film, “Stronger Than Time,” produced by Hamburg-based Sehsucht. Ole Peters of Sehsucht directed the short.

At the heart of the campaign is a massive amber-like block installation, with an original 1979 model G-Class suspended inside. This installation was produced in Hamburg, then shipped to Detroit to be exhibited at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), to celebrate that these first Mercedes-Benz G-Class cars are still on the road today--many of the iconic design elements from the original model can be found in the new generation G-Class models released this year. 

Part CG, part live action, the Stronger Than Time film takes inspiration from both this epic installation concept and the new G-Class. Transitioning between macro perspectives of amber resin, to featuring the three new models of G-Class, each in their own unique environment.

Peters and the team at Sehsucht were responsible for both visualizing the story and solving the technical challenges of the film, in particular designing the impressive transition sequences between the environments. The team invested in an upfront research period which was key in order to create a fluid journey throughout these transitions.

The film starts in a wide cosmos of amber with the camera zooming to a macro perspective of the resin, showing insects and dirt detail trapped within the amber. This amber environment then transitions to and from new environments, each introducing a new G-Class model, with the film’s finale shot zooming out to reveal the amber installation containing the suspended 1979 G-Class car. 

Since there is no way to travel through the solid material in real life, Sehsucht reimagined this journey, building all the elements in CG, including the final installation and suspended car. 

Filming for the desert and green landscapes was shot on location in the Spanish Pyrenees. While the desert shots required standard clean-up work, the green landscape was transformed, using 3D matte paintings and compositing, to give instead the appearance of an Iceland-esque terrain. 

For the city location, the challenge was much bigger. Due to the high security surrounding the new car models, filming on location in a real city was not possible. Drawing on a mix of Gotham City and Bladerunner as inspiration, Sehsucht created a variety of buildings, road structures and signage for the scene. In order to attain realism, the team also created a special method to generate unique lighting and furnishings for each individual room in every single building. 

The VFX and design was handled by Sehsucht’s Hamburg studios. Sehsucht director and executive creative director Peters said, “Amber has preserved the DNA of life for over 40 million years--the exceptional characteristic of the iconic G-class design is still predominantly the same after 40 years. This is an exception on the automotive market where cars tend to look more and more similar. The parallels between the preserved DNA in amber and the same design DNA of the G-class led to the core idea of this campaign and finally to the film. 
One of the main challenges was to create a transition between dynamic and powerful driving shots of the G-Class and the journey at a macro level through the static amber material.”

“Stronger Than Time” is running as part of a global online campaign.

Credits

Client Daimler AG/Merdedes-Benz Agency antoni, Berlin Martin Pross, Tillman Gosner, creative directors; Alexander Holtz, creative director/copywriter; Matthias Bauer, art director; Mark Rota, producer. Production and VFX Sehsucht, Hamburg  Ole Peters, director; Jan Tiller, exec producer; Tanya Curnow, Stephan Reinsch, producers; Bernd Wondollek, DP; Axel Brötje, Julius Brockelmann, Caroline Goehner, design; Daniel Jahnel, Timo von Wittken, Juan Pablo Brockhaus, 3D lead; Sebastian Welti, Jannes Kreyenberg, Max Zachner, Thure Koch, Ben Watts, Florian Breg, Raphael Vincente, Alexander Siquans, Hannes Gerl, Christoph Gaudl, 3D; Maurice Jochen, Ivan Vasiljevic, additional assets; Florian Zachau, compositing lead; Jona Maluck, Alexander von der Lippe, Patrick Altmeier, Christian Reimann, compositing; Mitra Navab-Pour, motion design; Artur Jagodda, Sabine Panek, editors. (Toolbox: Houdini, Maya, Arnold, Redshift, ZBrush, Yeti, Mari, Nuke, Resolve) Production Services, Spain Myway Production Tina Dobslaw, Rita Gil Music & Sound Design Yessian Music, Hamburg, Germany Brian Yessian, chief creative officer; Zacharias Adrian, composer; Ingmar Rehberg, EP/managing director; Michael Yessian, production head; Uli Witt, Lukas Lehmann, producers; Max Fritz, Michel Riecken, Robin Großkopf, sound designers Audio Post Yessian, Hamburg Max Fritz, mixer  Voiceover Recording Loft Studios Berlin

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