Back From the Future

A soldier from the future interning at the office? Brennan Ieyoub uses Cinema 4D to create an entertaining video clip for Ubisoft.

It’s hard to imagine what a humorous take on Ubisoft’s new third-person shooter game Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier might look like. And you won’t have to because San Francisco-based film and video producer Brennan Ieyoub has already done so. The custom video is called Ghost Recon: Future Intern and he made it for IGN (Imagine Games Network) as a way to promote the Tom Clancy game prior to its release earlier this year.

Ieyoub, who worked for IGN for seven years before starting his own production company, Layer Media, in 2011, had two weeks to create the video in which a soldier straight out of the game gets a job as an intern at IGN. In addition to coming up with the concept and writing the script, he also did all of the 2D and 3D motion graphics using Maxon’s Cinema 4D and Adobe’s After Effects.

The goal was to create a funny parody that stayed true to the game while bringing in a bit of IGN’s office culture. With such a tight deadline to meet, Ieyoub spent one long day shooting footage. The task was made easier by the fact that Ubisoft had just finished producing a live-action short film to promote the game so Ieyoub was able to use some of the film’s high-quality props and costumes that were still lying around the office.

A Student of Cinema 4D

Because he considers himself to be a “student of Cinema 4D” with much more to learn, Ieyoub wasn’t planning on using the software to create the visual effects for the video. He changed his mind, though, when a few things went wrong on shoot day, most notably the scene in which the helicopter flies over the shoulder of the Future Intern. The plan was to use his smart phone to fly a Parrot AR.Drone quadricopter into the shot and over the actor’s shoulder.

Even though Ieyoub had practiced quite a bit in his living room, come shoot day the drone took off and flew straight up into the ceiling before crashing to the floor in pieces. “I was like ‘Oh my God! I’m going to have to somehow do this effect with Cinema 4D now,” he recalls, laughing. After finding a free model of a Parrot AR.Drone online, he “Frankensteined together” a Parrot AR.Drone model with a toy mechanical claw model to create the drone UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle).

Cinema 4D also came in handy when Ieyoub needed to create some effects to make the scene in which the UPS boxes stacked up on peoples’ desks look more comical and dramatic. After first trying to make the scene work by having a production assistant stand off-camera and throw boxes onto the desks, he decided to use Cinema 4D to model the boxes. “And then I used proxy geometry and physics to shoot boxes out of an emitter and land in a stack in a cool, funny way,” he explains.

Ieyoub attributes much of his success using Cinema 4D for this project to the many helpful tutorials he was able to find online on YouTube. And, as an experienced After Effects user, he was grateful for the smooth integration between the two software packages, which allowed him to share a camera and jump back-and-forth quickly and easily. “I’m sure there are smarter ways I could have done things," he says. “But at the end of the day, I thought it turned out really well and the people at Ubisoft were really happy with it, too.”

Read the full-length feature on this project on Renderosity!

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