How MPC created the VFX-heavy launch trailer for Channel's All4 rebrand of 4oD

Channel 4’s new digital service launches with extensive VFX – including giving Alan Carr 360-degree vision and providing a new disembodied look for newsreader Jon Snow.

A new 60-second spot, directed by 4Creative’s Neil Gorringe, has launched All4, Channel 4’s new digital service.

It heralded the new All4 brand identity which replaces the 4oD brand across all platforms.

MPC created the spot with extensive VFX and developed five separate environments from scratch.

The work included giving Alan Carr 360-degree vision and providing an alternative transport method for newsreader Jon Snow.

Led by VFX supervisor Michael Gregory and 3D supervisor Greg McKneally, the MPC team spent over 12 weeks creating the multiple environments, such as the future Chatty Man set, with host 'Alien Carr'.

Alan Carr and his set were given complete makeovers, taking his show into the 22nd Century complete with hover board steps, intelligent camera drones, tentacles and an entirely new look for his head.

"The crowd was the biggest challenge," explained Michael Gregory. "We had 20 extras on set and had to make up a crowd of 3000."

"The audience is all real people duplicated and built up in the 3D environment," he added.

"Neil had a brilliantly kooky vision for Alan Carr’s sequence," adds Michael. "We started by filming him against green screen wearing a prosthetic head, minus the eyes."

"We then shot multiple takes of Alan’s eyes with various movements."

"Back in the studio we projected these into the shot plate. This meant that in the final spot, the extra eyes we see on his head are all actually his own."

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The opening tunnel sequence was designed and created completely in CG.

With a long finger that has evolved from years of swiping, the actress was filmed in a specially built 4m x 4m LED tunnel, with graphics fed in and projected onto her.

The beats of the light were then matched with animated lighting in CG to seamlessly integrate her into her world.

"The beginning and end of the spot take us into an abstracted tunnel through time," said Greg McKneally. "Following Neil's suggestion to play with the viewer's sense of perspective, we created a constantly shifting environment of geometric forms, filled with atmosphere and light."

"It was one of the more challenging sequences in the spot, but great fun to design."

MPC’s team of concept artists designed multiple looks for the Grand National sequence, including adaptations of the horse and helmet based on armour suits used in high-impact sports and costumes worn in action films such as Robocop.

"There were a number of complex shots in the spot, not to mention the huge amount of VFX," said Michael. "in Jon Snow’s scene the only thing that isn’t completely CG is his disembodied head!”

The Royal Wedding sequence features actors filmed on greenscreen and an environment that is a combination of matte painting and CG.

"Two intelligent drones types were designed," explained Michael. "Type 1 swoops in at the close of the spot to capture the money shot of the smoke trails over the palace."

"Spaceships and buildings were concepted and designed from scratch for the scene, while the backdrop for Jon’s sequence was based on reference photography from high vantage points in London, before being augmented with a futuristic twist."

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"We are continually bombarded with depressing, post-apocalyptic, dystopian visions of the future where we are hunted by machines or probed by aliens, " said John Allison of 4Creative.

"So we wanted to launch Channel 4’s new on demand platform with a refreshing antithesis," added 4Creative's Chris Bovill. "As long as you stick with Channel 4 the future will be a liberating, progressively-minded and hilarious romp into oblivion."