November 11th, 2014

Like the main character in Honda’s dual narrative film ‘The Other Side’, there is more to the dependable brand than you may realize. Using a growing and innovative method of storytelling, the interactive online film gives viewers the ability to toggle between different perspectives into the character’s world, while simultaneously introducing them to the new Honda Civic Type R, the “wild child alter-ego” to the reliable Civic hatchback.

The Mill worked with Wieden & Kennedy London, Stink Digital and Somesuch director Daniel Wolfe to create the film, carefully crafting the red Type R model entirely in CG ahead of the car’s 2015 launch.

The campaign comes alive in a seamless YouTube experience that gives viewers the tools to switch between a dual narrative, brilliantly communicating that like the film’s character, Honda is more than its reputation of engineering excellence and safety, and connecting the high-performing Civic Type R to the brand’s ‘other side’ – its legacy in racing and innovation.

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Starring 'A Prophet' actor Jean-Phillipe Ricci, the dual narrative gives viewers two perspectives into our main character’s world. By day, he is the typical, dependable father, but by typing ‘R’, the viewer can toggle into our character’s exciting night-time activities as an undercover cop. The two narratives are mirrored with parallel shots, contrasting perfectly in colour and content, to give viewers a smooth and entertaining transition across story lines while also showcasing the car’s capabilities in different environments.

While a standard civic was used for filming, The Mill’s 3D team carefully crafted the red Type R model, which was not yet available, entirely in CG using CAD data from the initial concepts for the final film. The Mill’s expert Flame team also seamlessly composited the CG vehicle into the night-time narrative to match perfectly with our hero’s daytime alter-ego.

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Tom Walter, Head of CG Operations at The Mill in London, explains how The Mill’s VFX team created the CG vehicle for the film:

How did you approach making the CG Type R?

Before the shoot, we used the pre-production time to create a fully CG asset. We took the CAD data that existed from the concept and rebuilt large amounts of it to make sure that it was good enough for what we wanted. From there we applied our bespoke Mill Car Shader and then tested it in environments similar to what would be filmed in the final commercial. We worked closely with (director) Daniel Wolfe to ensure that we would help deliver a truly compelling, seamless and unique experience.

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What was shot and how did it help the production?

On set we used a standard Civic in place of the Type R. This allowed the director, agency and client to have a physical car present for the shoot with the knowledge we would fully it replace it in post. We requested that certain adaptions were made to make it more like the Type R. Despite images of this stand-in car being leaked online, it still varied massively from the final Type R. This car provided really good reference and meant that we could steal the shadows that it cast onto the ground. However, the rest of the car was replaced entirely and used merely as reference for the final look.

How was the final look of the car created?

In terms of creating the final look of the car, a lot of the work was done in the beauty. The bespoke Mill Car Shader we have created is built to behave the same way as a real car is painted: built from a base layer, speckled pass and a clear coat top layer. From this point, only a few other passes were needed, including some ID passes and an additional specular pass. These shots were then taken into flame, and headlights and additional lighting was added in comp.

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How did you create the final shot of the film?

We had to put the car into a different lighting setup for the final shot. Luckily our car shader is so robust this posed little problem. Since the final shot was a completely CG car replacing the stand in, we created a car to really complete the piece and ensured all the finest tweaks to the bodywork were present.

Take a look behind the team’s work in the film below and view the interactive video experience at