Traktor, Mother, and MPC Face the Future for Xelibri

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Siemens zooms into the future in this European cinema spot launching its fashion-forward Xelibri mobile phone brand.In the eyes of London's Mother and Traktor, Tomorrowland isn't full of perfectly engineered beings. Rather, it's an eerie realm where dancing is forbidden, and where everyone bears the same goofy mug, from portly policemen to girls with pigtails.

Xelibri's boom-dog.
"The sheer quantity of the effects was mind-boggling, but having such a twisted story at the core makes it worthwhile," explains Traktor of creating the bizarre world populated by lookalikes. Traktor brought on board their longtime collaborators at the Moving Picture Company, the London effects shop that teamed with them on jobs like Madonna's Die Another Day clip, in which their digital head replacement allowed her to duel with herself, and on the video for Basement Jaxx's "Where's Your Head At," which involved pasting human faces onto baboon heads. Here, however, one head, that of actor "Joel," appears on every body-nearly 300, says MPC senior inferno artist Alex Lovejoy. Traktor shot the bodies over eight days in L.A., footage which MPC then conformed and stabilized in order to smooth the progress of a green screen shoot in London. That involved four days during which Joel acted out movements, in various costumes and make-up, for about 160 different characters. Besides the numerous Inferno head switches, post also included CG and matte painting. During the exhausting nine weeks of post, Lovejoy recalls "the hardest thing was cleaning up excess head and hair from left over from the heads we were replacing. We had to rebuild people's shoulders and jackets, which was quite tricky." It could have been a lot messier without precautionary measures taken during the L.A. shoot, in which the bodies' "former" heads were squished down in hairnets and minimizing panythose. Adds Traktor, "Other than that, we simply had to direct them as if they were the final 'character,' in order to get the motion of the ocean that is their bodies correct. A cop with a nylon stocking on his head driving a bumpercar Police-mobile is a serious business." -Ann-Christine Diaz
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