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We helped Carnext blast onto the car scene for their new partnership with the youngest-ever Formula One race winner Max Verstappen.

Created by DDB Unlimited and directed by Jan Wentz through Bonkers, the visceral spot dives back into Max's past as a young boy learning to drive and follows him to the present day as he prepares for a big race.

Ambassadors Herengracht’s visual effects and grade dream team Bas Moonen and Matt Hare took a healthy dose of inspiration from DNEG’s Oscar-winning ‘First Man' to transform this powerful personal story into a visual feast.

Visual Effects was an important storytelling tool from starting grid to finish line, and had to blend effortlessly with analogue filmmaking techniques like stop motion, four FPS action scenes, time-lapses and super slow-motion Phantom footage. Not to mention helmet cameras, a camera strapped to a pneumatic wrench, shots through vibrating mirrors, and a shaking camera shooting through a wet greasy visor.

One of the key settings was the scene where Max takes place behind the wheel of his F1 car. “We created a digital environment of the starting grid loosely based on the Zandvoort racetrack (which at that time was very much unfinished) using a combination of projected archival footage and location photography, CG and stock elements from our library,” says Bas Moonen, VFX Supervisor, Ambassadors.

“We lined our digital cameras up with the physical cameras on set, making tweaks on the fly. The team at BeamSystems then looped this onto giant projection screens around Max’s car in the studio. Now, projectors don’t output quite as much light as the million-dollar LED domes have used in First Man, but for our film, they really didn’t need to. These almost cerebral visuals were never meant to realistically put Max with his car on the track. They were there to set the stage, to provide a backdrop.”

Matt Hare then worked to create a color grade giving a visually rich and harmonious flow between the montage of shots and uses a variety of texture tools to distinguish the different timelines and periods.

Sound design effortlessly layered this adrenalin-racing ride with the natural elegance of Frank Sinatra and Count Basie. Don’t miss a cameo from Ambassadors’ Head of Visual Effects Will Jeffers, who does a little voiceover moonlighting as a race engineer.