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A Digital Warsaw: How OTO Film Made Viant’s Impressive New Spot Possible

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Lukasz Tomasz Koltunowicz, senior producer at OTO Film, tells LBB why Warsaw was the ideal location for this CG-heavy spot, and why it’s always a pleasure to work with creative studio, Aggressive

A Digital Warsaw: How OTO Film Made Viant’s Impressive New Spot Possible

Viant’s latest spot artfully merges the digital and physical worlds to demonstrate the brand’s vision for a new ‘New Open Web’. The European city background is further brought to life with the help of CG elements that shift and appear before the viewers’ eye while avatars, a hologram band, and a melting car communicate Viant’s cutting-edge tech capabilities. 

The spot looks seriously impressive, seamless. This wouldn’t have been possible to achieve anywhere but Warsaw according to Lukasz Tomasz Koltunowicz, producer at OTO Film, who worked with the creative studio Aggressive to make the spot come to life. OTO Film’s expertise, the stunning locations, and the cost benefits of shooting in Poland were all essential to making the final spot happen - on time and on budget - without a single glitch in the process. 

OTO Film was involved from the very beginning, which meant getting started on planning the VFX elements as soon as possible. OTO’s supervisor, Tomasz Runowicz, worked closely with directors, Dan Shapiro and Alex Topaller from Aggressive to prepare and record volumetric scans before the shoot using Azure Kinect, which transfers real objects into 3D space. 

Today, Lukasz tells LBB how OTO Film facilitated the whole shoot, found incredible locations, and why their meticulous planning was central to delivering exactly what Aggressive asked for.  


LBB> Can you talk us through your role in the production of this film? When were you first involved in the project?

Lukasz> As producer I led the process from the very beginning – starting from bidding, right through to the end of the project.  Sometimes our clients choose to do the post production themselves, so in this case we transferred the external drives when our part of the job was done.  

The producer and directors from Aggressive approached us as a Polish company to assist them. We have been working with them for many years now. They have extraordinary experience here and they know it’s at least 40-50% cheaper to make this type of ad in Poland than in the US.  We have been involved practically from the first script that was sent out to various agencies and production houses around the world.  Developing the whole process started while bidding was taking place.


LBB> This is a very CG-heavy spot. How much planning went into each shot, in order to facilitate an efficient post process? 

Lukasz > When the directors were writing the treatment, the first concepts already started to emerge that won them the job. They prepared their treatment very carefully, with a certain creative and referential commitment rather than just a descriptive. They also showed specific examples of what they wanted to realise. It dramatically sped up the pre-production process. Certain CGI elements – or its preliminary drafts – were quickly approved by the client. 

Regarding VFX issues, our supervisor worked very closely with the art director from Aggressive from the very beginning. They agreed on all technical issues on an ongoing basis. The supervisor was present at every single recce. His work also involved preparing and recording volumetric scans a few days before the actual shooting. Those scans were part of the footage of one of the shots. 

Lukasz Tomasz Koltunowicz on set during filming

LBB> This is an ambitious film that blends live action, design, technology, and CG. How did you scout out the best locations for a project of this kind?

Lukasz > Basically, it turned out in a surprisingly pleasant way. When we sent the preliminary cost estimate, I proposed a pool of locations that are available in Warsaw - just to give an overall view to the client and the agency, who had never been to this part of Europe. They had fallen so in love with one of the locations on the Vistula River – specifically with a long stretch of boulevards – that they didn't really see the possibility of shooting elsewhere. All we had to do was get proper permissions.


LBB> What were the main benefits of shooting in Warsaw?

Lukasz > There is no doubt that smaller costs was something that encouraged us to shoot in Warsaw, which also looks like an ultra-modern city, not dissimilar to the great international capitals of Europe, the United States or Asia. You can find locations here that could easily play contemporary New York or Paris. Poland also has a long tradition of cinematography, resulting in experienced, well-educated film crews. One of the best film schools in the world is located in Łódź, two hours from Warsaw. You can see Polish names in the closing credits of all the big blockbusters – they literally rock in Hollywood. 


LBB> Did you face any challenges during the production? If so, how did you navigate these obstacles?

Lukasz > Thankfully, we had directors on board who know all the tricks in terms of post production. They had everything well written out, drawn up and analysed. As a result, we had detailed previs and animatics. It's always a pleasure to be able to work in such circumstances. There are no coincidences on set then, nothing can surprise, and obstacles are evaded. 


LBB> Did you work with any new and exciting technology for this project? If so, what? 

Lukasz > Definitely volumetric scans that are taken a few days before the shoot, which can be seen in one of the shots in the film. It’s where the musical band consisting of digital holograms plays. They were done using four synchronised Azure Kinect. These are devices used to transfer real objects into 3D space. Azure Kinect provides a very distinctive look that the creators wanted to translate into a visual advantage for this project. It turned out to be a very helpful tool. 


LBB> And how did technology facilitate the shoot? 

Lukasz > Here we’re coming back to being prepared. These scans had to be recorded earlier. Then we needed to match and synchronize them. It all had to be very interconnected as a film set to truly resemble a living organism. 


LBB> How long have you worked with Aggressive? And what sort of projects have you collaborated on? 

Lukasz> In 2018, when we were looking for foreign creators for one of our Polish jobs in Warsaw, our paths crossed. We made that project happen – Aggressive crew came, we shot and quickly became friends. To this day, our collaboration continues - we have done more than 14 projects together on different models. In some, OTO Film was the main producer, while Aggressive worked as directors. In others, they, as a production house from New York, commissioned us to provide production service in Warsaw.


LBB> What are the benefits of working with Aggressive?

Lukasz> The answer is very clear. Trust, understanding and a pleasure to work with them.  Everything Aggressive provides is always perfectly planned. As I mentioned earlier there are no coincidences which can turn into distractions on exact film sets. 


LBB> Looking at the finished product, what are you most proud of?

Lukasz > I am most proud of the fact that we were able to see the commercial in Times Square. Can you imagine a better display of your work?!   

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OTO Film, Fri, 30 Sep 2022 11:34:51 GMT