Valkyr partners with Impossible objects and Hawk London to create the “Thrill of the Hunt” Zenvo Aurora launch film.
Including everything but the kitchen sink, the 2 month shoot required careful planning and the combination of plates shot in Norway, studio footage from Germany, Broll from Denmark and the UK, as well as strategic VFX work to merge not only the compositing but also full CGI rendering of the raw vehicle CAD data into a cohesive story-driven laugh film that would appeal to the 1%.
On top of the production’s complexity, the Aurora marks a complete reboot of the brand. Starting in 2007 with the TS-RS, the Danish manufacturer was overdue for a refresh. This comes in the form of a ground-up redesign and strategy that lives and dies by the mantra “give the people what they want”. What you get is a quad-turbocharged fire-breathing V12, clever form-follows-function Danish design and a driver-focused and emotion based aesthetic that delivers an experience like no other.
All of this sounded very intriguing to us. But the only question left was, how launch a car that exists only in CAD. With quite a tall order, we started where everyone else is these days, with AI.
We thought it was fitting to let the stereotypes that shape Midjourney image prompts to inform the aesthetic we wanted. Which was a very Scandinavian antithesis of the typical golden hour south of France look normally found in these pieces.
We wanted it to be dark and angry, and to tap into a drive that was found not only with in the company and spirit of the car, but also in the target buyer as well.
We knew we would have full-scale physical hyperrealistic models to film that would be ready towards the very end of the deadline, but being without an engine, we needed to get the Aurora moving.
Zenvo had both the Tur and Agil spec cars already rendered internally, so we needed a partner who could ingest what they had and churn out something within the realm of our creative and in our very tight deadline. Thankful we found that in Impossible Objects, a LA-based production company that has been leading the charge of what is possible with new methods of vfx and animation.
They recently release an Alfa Romeo spot that got a lot of attention and were keen take a leap of faith on this one.
With Denmark being predominantly flat, we were eager to employ the drama of Norway for the setting. The Fjords provided a natural canvas on which to paint a Scandinavian hypercar and it also helped that our main talent and visionary behind the Aurora, Jens Sversdrup was born and raised in Norway.
Also coming to our aide was Hawk London, who through a relationship with Zenvo were able to provide the 55mm V-Lite Anamorphic for the plates and studio work.
With little prep time and the VFX taking place in tandem with our practical shoots, we began in Norway with talent to secure our plates for the compositing. With all star local help from Viduc Truong, and of course Jens, DP Joe Victorine and I were able to capture what we needed without jet lag becoming too much of a factor, since we were shooting mostly nights, and in the summer, twilight last for hours in Norway.
With our talent film, scenics and plates completed and passed to Impossible Objects, we set our sights to practical part of the shoot.
In Germany, the models were being finished and shot in a photography studio for two days by GF Williams, where DP Oli Watts and I had a window of time to capture our statics with the Hawk V-lites, a super minimal lighting setup, as the studio did not provide any great solutions for our film needs.
After the studio, we made our way to the Zenvo Headquarters in Præsto, Denmark to capture the Interview/Doc part the companion film to the hero piece, as well as scenic shots of the Arnej Jacobsen suite at the Radisson in downtown Copenhagen, the designer who heavily influenced the car.
With everything practical shot and the CGI elements beginning to trickle in, we began assembly. Being such a tight structure, it came together quickly. For the Full CGI shots, there were some late night zoom sessions with IO’s Creative Director, lead animator, virtuoso and all around fantastic guy Brian Tang, discussing camera and vehicle movement. Once those were rendered out, we began an extremely thorough sound design to start to sew all the elements together.
As it came together in the eleventh hour both Jens and I were delighted to incorporate original music from the Danish group Lueenas, a duo based in Copenhagen that I had discovered from a wonderful Viking film called “The Raid” featured in the National History Museum by Martin De Thurah.
Their fusion of strings and electronic framed the world of the Aurora in wonderfully dark and brooding way that was entirely unexpected and out of the norm for these kinds of films.
Finally to bring all the elements from so many different places together, Parker Jarvie from Co3 capped off the edit with a bold Aurora-green look in the coloring to bring the creative back down to earth.
The films debuted during Monterey Car 2023 week when both the Tur and the Agil trim of the Auroras were finally unveiled to the public.
With a strong direction and leadership from Jens, it was our hope to capture the unexpected with this that not only showcased the car running and driving before it was ready, but tapped into what makes it uniquely Danish as well as into the emotional reasons why you buy a car like this.
In hindsight, this workflow certainly makes one wonder if with the emergence of AI and the proliferation of what can be done with CAD data from a OEM, if we may have struck a nerve of how things aught to be done in some instances going forward.
It will be tough to beat practically shooting talent, especially in a dramatic setting that has such realistic grativas as Norway, but by letting the real shoot inform the worlds we were creating digitally, we feel did create a piece that doesn’t leave the viewer thinking at all about whether or not it was real, but firmly with the feelings that Zenvo needed to convey with this car.
Many thanks to Jens and his team at Zenvo, a fantastic cast and crew and everyone else who made this wonderful project possible.