Nissan Patrol Agent 23

Horton De Rakoff

Nissan Patrol: Agent 23

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UNIT9 partnered with Nissan Middle East and TBWA/Chiat/Day New York to create a cinematic movie set for Nissan’s stand at the 2015 Dubai Motor Show where guests transformed themselves into movie stars from inside a Nissan Patrol. They were placed into a cinema-quality movie poster and film trailer for fictional action thriller Agent 23 using green screen technology.

Guests were first taken on set and photographed as Agent 23 in front of a green screen for their movie poster.

Next, guests starred as the main character of Agent 23, a skilled spy out to catch a rogue agent. We filmed them against a blue screen in four different scenes with the Nissan Patrol. Our motion-controlled robot arm was calibrated to shoot from a predetermined angle and speed, depending on the scene.

The Nissan vehicle was stabilised in accordance with the blue screen so that every shot was perfectly aligned. On the fourth day, Dubai experienced a rainstorm (read: normal weather in London), so we had to recalibrate the height and reposition the camera as the car had sunk down a few inches.

We knew exactly where each part of the car was within the frame, so we could anticipate which parts would produce unwanted reflections in a particular shot. Part of the automated post production process involved removing these reflections so they wouldn’t show up in the final trailer. We replaced the car’s windscreen with a 3D version of it, with realistic reflections of the desert rather than the studio lights.

Guests starred in four scenes, all of which took place in a Nissan Patrol. For the first scene, we showed guests on camera as they drove through a desert to battle a rogue agent. Next we filmed them peering through binoculars to get a closer look at the city. 

The third and fourth scenes captured the showdown, with the loyal agent driving a Nissan Patrol towards the Rogue agent, sat in a Nissan Maxima.

UNIT9 director duo Horton DeRakoff had filmed several live action scenes in Dubai for the trailer, but the scenes that guests could star in were composited in 3D. We had prepared for the shoot by doing a lot of testing at Malcolm Ryan Studios with the UK’s biggest green screen.

We used a native OSX Cocoa app to drive the motion control rig and ensure that it used the live feed from the camera to divide the capture per scene. Our backend used a script to sequence the live action parts of the trailer with the green-screened 3D composites and then automatically uploaded these onto YouTube after guests had been filmed.

An important part of the backend system system that we built was a task-managing system that synchronised all the different components of the installation: guest registration, picture-taking for the poster, video sequences from the camera, post-processing operations, YouTube upload and regular data backups. 

Thanks to our powerful render farm on site, guests received their personalised poster and trailer within 10 minutes. The bespoke assets were uploaded and emailed to them via an unlisted YouTube link that they were welcome to share on social media.


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