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The Legend of Pedro Rodríguez || Director´s cut
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Pedro Rodríguez de la Vega had a short but quite legendary passage through this life.

Right from the start, he was given the most Mexican name available.

But the actual legend was born when he became the first Mexican Grand Prix motor racing champion in history.

And not only because he was a crazy skilled driver: he did it with the iconic Porsche 917k, which we can only assume was based on a discarded Batmobile design deemed too unrealistic.

Fifty years after his tragic demise while racing in Germany, we teamed up with The Community and Porsche to honor some of his feats.

Crank up the volume and get ready for a 60-second trip at 300 km/h.

This is The Legend of Pedro Rodríguez!

And now is time for some sparkling behind the scenes, how about that?

Let’s start by saying we were granted unprecedented creative freedom in this project.

We never thought it would feel like wandering around an endless white void at first, but boy, were we ready!

Now buckle up because you're in for a ride as you read about our journey.

Our task was to narrate five iconic moments in his life: his dream of becoming a racer as a kid; his nickname, “Cat Eyes”, because of what his car lights looked like at night; the time when his engine broke down and he was delayed for 90 minutes in the 24 Hours of LeMans race but somehow bounced back and won; the fact he carried a recording of the Mexican anthem just in case the organizers didn’t have it and were tempted to play El Jarabe Tapatío, like they did in the South African Grand Prix in 1967; and finally, Pedro as a worshipped champion.

The only request from the client was for individual moments to be easily editable as a stand-alone IDs.
Some cursed references were brought upon us, but we were confident that Pedro’s story required a personal approach.

Even before the slightest idea came to our minds, we knew one thing for sure: we needed the car to look perfect in 2D. Its volumes and details had to flow perfectly while animated.

Animating the Porsche 917k frame by frame, without a reference, sounded like the premise of the next Saw movie, so we decided that a 3D model of the car to produce some sweet 3D layouts was a fundamental asset to get our hands on.​​​​​​​
From there, we started building Pedro’s world. Knowing the car would kinda set out the general morphologic style, it was only a matter of rendering Pedro in 2D for the first time.

We thought about ‘60s and early ‘70s graphic design, movies, cartoons and tv shows, and discussed what pop culture and art milestones had left a mark on our styles.
We agreed we wanted an overall vintage vibe but with modern visuals and animation ideas that would challenge our craft.

So we produced these moodboards, which were the cogs that put the whole system in motion at full speed.
​​​​​​​“Speed Racer meets Akira” was our pitch.
Now we only had to figure out the other 99% of the process.
We didn't know where to start. A very thin line separates total freedom from aimless confusion, and we were drunkenly stepping all along it. 

We were overthinking and overanalyzing each idea, stalling the process.
Our strategy needed to change.

We had so many beautiful pictures and 8mm footage of Pedro that we had to ask ourselves how we could work with them.
In a process we like to call “blind parkour design”, we started importing stuff into After Effects and mixing it to see what happy accidents we encountered. 

Jumping from After, to Animate, to Photoshop, to C4D, trying things out, not thinking whether something might work or not but simply doing it. Letting our subconscious sublimate. 

At the end of that day, we managed to produce this bootleg-looking test. We did it just to loosen our hands and brains a little, not actually intending to ever use it. 
​​​​​​​When we watched it again the next day, the spiraling part resonated loud with us.
And that’s where that little thing in our subconscious clicked: it reminded us of those crazy sequences in the Wachowski sisters’ version of Speed Racer (director’s note: I’m willing to fight⁠—knife-in-hand⁠—whoever dares to disrespect this extraordinary gem of a cinematic experience).
Having the original anime as an obvious source of inspo, we embraced the connection... and the blind parkour approach. 

An intense animatic process ensued, where tons of new ideas and references kept flowing and popping up spontaneously.

Several days and lots of refining and editing later, this was the outcome.
Ahem… about the Kaneda Slide shot (were you gonna bring it up or what?): that was a last-minute addition.

We wanted to show Pedro crossing the finish line in a badass way, preferably skidding, but despite having Akira as the main reference, we couldn’t quite sort it out.

When it finally struck us, it felt so stupidly obvious we looked at each other in “shride” (shame + pride).

We could have missed the extremely unique opportunity to pay direct homage to Sensei Otomo’s masterpiece. There’s no going back from that.
We’ll just drop Juan Barabani’s original art here and let you draw your own conclusions.​​​​​​
​​​​​​​​​​​​​We wanted the animation timing to feel a little limited, but with lots of super-sharp poses and eases. 

We chose to work at 24fps and its multiples, focusing mainly on animating in 3s, with 4s and 1s as extremes.

We didn't know how to work out many things right away, but we had clear ideas about where to start exploring.

Sounds like the tagline of a cheesy teen coming-of-age movie, but that mindset led us down a path of learning and discovery we feel upped our animation and comp standards.​​​​​​​

We particularly remember the crazy number of tests we did for the spiral scene. Here’s the first one we knew would eventually work.
The comp was going to be extra heavy⁠—we knew it and wanted it to be that way. Lots of glows, defocus, and grain.

So we had to experiment while saving resources at the same time, to avoid clogging it from the early stages.

But the hardest, heaviest, toughest mofo comp ever was the one with the oil monster that's totally not Venom.

It required a tremendous amount of coordination, organization and patience, constantly going back and forth between layout, animation, cleanup and comp. 

That shot alone took about a whole month to produce.

Check out the insides of some of the project files involved. 
Pretty nasty, huh?
We promise you everything was under painful control.

Here, take a look at some bits of the full process.
One last thing you might be wondering: what about the square format, with rounded edges?

We worked in a 2202 x 2202 1:1 format so as to easily come up with different versions later.

The idea all along was to deliver a 16:9 format.

As we went on, new details and compositions increasingly made sense when displayed in 1:1. But it just felt too Instagrammy. As if it was reframed and its sides were missing.

We sat on it a little, and then El Señor Rodriguez himself inspired the final touch: what if we added a nice frame with rounded corners, giving it a lovely super-8 vibe like the footage of Pedro we were already showing at the end?

That was the last touch. The vintage vibe was exactly what we needed to close the circle.

We raise our cups to Pedro and what his star at 300km/h might bring us.


Creative direction: Mariano Fernández Russo. 
Art Direction: Juan Barabani. 
EP: Ana Sieglitz & Juliana Millán. 
Line Production: Carolina Cantero. 
Animation Direction: Mariano Fernández Russo. 
Animatic: Mariano Fernández Russo. 
Illustration: Juan Barabani & Victoria Farelli. 
2D and Motion animation: Mariano Fernández Russo, Maricel Piazza, Emmanuel Zampalo, Franco Pelliciaro, Pablo Rago, Fernando Lamattina, Katherine Pryor, Ana Artaza, Penblade Animation & Alcides Izaguirre. 
Clean up: Alan Mohamed, Sofía Díaz, Gabriela Bosco, Daniela Donato, Julieta Culaciati, Clara Riavec & Rafael Pires. 
Compositing: Mariano Fernández Russo. 
BTS Editor: Juan Raimondi 
Render: Yago Lopez. 
Music (Director's Cut Version): Facundo Capece 
Sound Design (Director's Cut Version): Felipe Barandalla 

Client: Porsche 
Agency: The Community 
Global CCO, Founder Jose Molla / Joaquin Molla 
Executive Creative Director: Ricky Vior 
Associate Creative Director: Gabriel Da Silva 
Associate Creative Director: Rodrigo González 
Content Creator Lead: Rosario Avila 
EVP, Head of Integrated Production: Laurie Malaga 

Maker/s (Producers) 
Executive Producer: Debi Rubiani 
Sr. Production Lead: Juan Manuel Sosa 

Account Team: 
VP, Managing Director Latam: Julieta Rey, 
Brand Lead Regional Latam: Sandra Giraldo, 
Brand Supervisor: Barbara Palacio/Julia Isabel Hernandez, 
Connections Strategy: Sebastian Ibarr 
Digital Content Director: Monica Godoy 
Brand Strategy Director: Alessandra Noceda 
Brand Strategy Planner: Alejandra Margain 

Business Affairs 
Business Affairs Director: Natalie Greenman 
Business Manager: Priscila Hourihan 
Production Assistant: Aldana Bea 

PHOTOGRAPHER / ILLUSTRATOR 
Photographer: Richard Monning​​​​​​​​​​​​
PRESS​​​​​​​
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2021
The Legend of Pedro Rodríguez || Director´s cut
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Clubcamping .tv

The Legend of Pedro Rodríguez || Director´s cut

Racing driver Pedro Rodríguez was one of a kind, a legend in Latin America, and an idol to Porsche fans all over the world. And not only because Read More
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8.6k
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