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KromA Applies “Serious Style� to Chevy Malibu Ad

KromA’s impeccable visual effects work helped Chevy and New York ad agency Translation present an elegant image of the 2008 Malibu in a spot that debuted during the recent Grammy Awards broadcast. The visual effects studio teamed with director Chris Applebaum (who recently won MTV’s 2007 Video-of-the-Year Award for Rihanna’s Umbrella) to create the illusion of a car in a glssy jet black environment surrounded by a wall of mirrors.

The spot, titled Serious Style, features Mary J. Blige and was inspired, in part, by the singer’s recent music video Just Fine, in which she performs in front of a wall of mirrors. (KromA also created the visual effects for the video.) In the commercial, the mirrors rotate around the car (and Blige who appears in a matching red dress) and reveal a series of gleaming reflections. The voice-over dubs the car “ready for the runway� and “built to love.�
The challenge of the commercial was to shoot the car inside the circle of mirrors without capturing any reflections of camera gear. KromA’s solution was to eliminate the mirrors altogether. Instead the car was shot on a turntable on a special effects stage and the mirrors were added as a CG element during post production. KromA mapped “reflections� of the car onto the surfaces of the rotating CG mirrors and also onto the black stage floor.

“Using real mirrors would have required a massive rig and it also would have been very difficult to light,� noted KromA visual effects supervisor Bert Yukich. “The digital approach eliminated those sorts of problems and allowed us to have complete control over the look and pacing.�
Making the illusion work took careful planning and precise execution. The angle of each reflected element had to be exactly correct and made to move in sync with the rotating stage. KromA created a complete 3D previsualization of the spot that was used as a guide for shooting all of the required practical elements as well as the painstaking work of piecing them together in post. “Every mirror is a separate layer,� noted Yukich. “For the shots with Mary, we cut her out in order to add a reflection of the car behind her, then put her back in.�
As is often the case with complex visual effects, it’s the details that matter. Yukich noted that the subtle reflections applied to the floor give the environment added dimension and make it seem more real. “That’s why the spot looks so sharp,� he said. “Every detail is painted to perfection.�
KromA is located at 9421 & ½ Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035. For more information, call (310) 282-0370 or visit


Title                              Serious Style
Client:                           Chevy Malibu
Agency:                        Translation Consultation & Brand Imaging, New York. Steve Stoute, chairman/COO; Charles Wright, creative director; Courtney Stovall, general manager; Carter Rose, group account director; Riyhana Bey, account supervisor; Bola Esho, account executive; Laura Benjamin, producer.
Production: Reactor Films, Santa Monica, Calif. Chris Applebaum, director; Michael Romersa, executive producer; Tracy Hauser, head of production; John Hardin, producer; Barry Peterson, director of photography. 
VFX:                            KromA, Los Angeles. Bert Yukich, visual effects supervisor; Amy Yukich, executive producer.
Telecine:                       Company 3, Santa Monica, Calif. Dave Hussey, colorist.
Editorial:                       Murex Films, Santa Monica, Calif. Nabil Mechi, editor.