We knew season 3 was off to a good start when our partner and long time collaborator, photographer Javier Lovera approached us with a collaboration on a BMW and Cundari project for Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival. Selected as 1 of 4 photographers to participate in their 4th annual BMW Art Auction, Javier came to us with a conceptual proposal we could not pass on. Being of an aerospace engineering background Javier wanted us to visualize and showcase the aerodynamics and flow lines of the BMW 6 coupe, he would then photograph the results of our 3D mapping projections on the car.

Initial thoughts were on getting a controlled environment in which to shoot, lines needed to be crisp so we could essentially ghost the car. Luckily we landed the BMW University in Whitby, a large facility with several spaces that fit our shooting needs perfectly, easy to completely blackout and a plethora of vantage points to shoot and project from. With the location figured out we could turn our focus to testing, we began testing on a couple of scale models sent from Germany to get a better understanding of how projected light interacted with a 3D object.

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Light is a funny thing, it’s fluid, fast and intangible. It’s reflected, absorbed and interacts differently with flat surfaces versus 3D objects. Add hurdles like key stoning, luminosity, light bleed and you have yourself hours of geeking out in a blacked out studio feeling like a kid playing with toy cars and lights. The learning experience was fantastic, we were invigorated by the creative power and potential that projected light gave us to play with.

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Utilizing some of the latest software for live visual performance and mapping gave us an incredible amount of flexibility. Able to tweak and fine tune everything with a high level of precession and on the fly gave us room to explore different content options while getting a realtime visual outcome, instant creative gratification!

After much testing our shoot day came. Stoked and ready to go, we rammed our crew and gear into the car (a BMW fittingly) and headed out to Whitby. Plenty of planning and testing is crucial in these types of executions, but you always have to be ready to dance with the unknown and unpredictable. Having a team of quick, creative thinkers is a huge strength in getting things moving smoothly. Problems are solved faster and you have your compadres to share in the experience and creative process.

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Dancing shoes on and all hooked up we let the spacial scanner rip, made some adjustments and got ourselves a good scan to work with. The contours of the white 6 Coupe contrasted nicely giving us great lines for our base, we tried various composition and colour variations before settling on some sets that Javier would shoot from.

There were a few visual effects which really stood out from this execution. Achieving the ghosting of the car made it fly, it was coming at you at the speed of light, patterns and lines of light bled back as they traveled over the body of the car. The organic reflections casting off and on the car seemed like running water and flowers, a unique visualization of air flow juxtaposed against the engineering behind this fierce machine.

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Respect to our team who helped make this happen, it was an incredible experience and we are hard at work on our next projection project. Stay tuned for our video case study by the fine folks over at Smak Studios.

The auction which is open until November, is in support of the Air Canada Foundation. Visit bmw.ca/art to see the entire collection as well as bid on your favourite shot. You can also see the BMW and Cundari case study video and read Javier’s post on the experience.

by: Simon Rojas