Chris Knight, Creative Director/2D Lead Artist/Shoot Supervisor, says the schedule was very tight; "We had five days of shooting - morning and night - in and around Los Angeles: from Sony Studios in Culver City and Downtown L.A. to Ventura Valley. Thirty-three effects shots were finished in three days, with three of those shots involving a fully CG Learjet plane. You see it nose-diving through the sky, followed by an exterior shot with clouds flying past and, ultimately, crash-landing in a field. So there was a lot of technical work that had to be done in a very short space of time."
Having woken up in a morgue, we begin Norton's dramatic 48-hour flashback with the innocent discovery and return of a wallet on the street. Things rapidly escalate from here and Norton is launched from one crazy scenario to another: from singing onstage in a karaoke bar to navigating his way underwater; winning big bucks in a game of Connect Four in an underground gambling ring, flying an out of control plane to being tied up and tossed out the trunk of a car. All the while, the Droid Maxx helps him out of each scrape he gets into with its touchless controls and active display (cue a round of applause to The Mill's Byron Slaughbaugh for his motion graphics work on the handset throughout).
The CG Learjet shots are the crescendo of the dramatic spot. Felix Urquiza, CG Supervisor/Head of Modeling & Texturing, created the plane. He explains, "When creating this plane we had a week from start to finish. That meant model, texture, Look Dev and then lighting the shots needed to be executed in less than seven days."
The Mill leaned on their archive and were able to restore a plane they had in their library that was close to what van Heijningen and the agency had in mind. This not only helped with time, but also in making improvements to the model. "We were then able to add in all of the small details it needed for a much more photo-real finish," Urquiza continues. "We spent about a day and a half setting up materials/Look Dev and getting the plane looking photo-real. Once that was accomplished, we focused the remainder of our time on putting it all together in the shot. We tracked, animated and set up lighting for the shots that would include the plane. Overall the biggest challenge was time, but with a good team it made things easier and we were able to hit the mark we needed."
When asked to describe the making of 'A Lot Can Happen In 48 Hours' in one sentence, Knight concludes, "Rollercoaster comes to mind. It took a fully collaborative team effort to make it happen: and it did happen. The agency, director and all involved were fully on board and the whole team worked very closely to pull it off."