Behind Meta and Droga5’s future vision for cycling in Africa

Seeking to showcase and drive communities that use and drive primitive metaverse technologies, Meta has teamed up with creative agency Droga5 and production company love song To create their vision of virtual reality, ‘Wishes’.

Amani comes from the name of the East African cycling team the film focuses on – a group of 12 cyclists Thom Glover, ECD co-authored Droga 5“Leap from obscurity to become a force in cycling the world purely across distant races during the pandemic.” He continues, “They were a perfect example of how these technologies can begin to break down barriers and level the playing field.” The film shows how the team uses existing Meta products (WhatsApp to communicate across borders, Instagram and Facebook to update their followers), and also gives a glimpse into how cyclists can take advantage of the futuristic technology that Meta is currently building.

In a tragic turn of events, Amani’s team captain, Sulli Kanganji, died in a high-speed bike race in Vermont prior to the film’s release – adding an extra layer of importance and significance to the team, Sulli’s family and the filmmakers to further the aspirations of the cyclists and honor Sulli’s legacy. Ben Muckensturm, Senior Technical Director at Droga5, says, “Beyond the impact on the campaign, what was really tragic about Sully’s death was that this race was a milestone for the team. We were excited to see [Team Amani cyclists] Sully, Jordan and John compete in Vermont. The point we were making about technology enabling athletes like Team Amani to participate in new ways, who could then compete against top cyclists and show their talents to the rest of the world, was all happening in real life. John and Jordan came in first and third in this race.”

The site uses prototypes and visualizations of future technologies that arose from discussions with Meta to paint a picture of how VR, AR and other metaverse technologies will soon be applied in new and completely immersive sports experiences without the need to travel as an athlete or spectator. Bringing in legendary independent filmmaker and inventor of innovative camera equipment, Tony Hill and director duo ILLIMITEWORLD, the film captures a look into the future through an elegant, experimental lens that encapsulates the energy of both cyclists and the futuristic technologies on display. Thom, who wasn’t keen on making “another bike movie or another African movie,” says having such creative minds with lots of original ideas was “crucial” to make that happen.

Ben adds: “We had ideas on how to implement both the present and the future, but we really relied on our managers to help us tie them together in a way that feels authentic and exciting. The ILLIMITEWORLD tackle was full of new and experimental ideas on how to take cycling shots in a deep way, using excavators to keep them moving circled throughout the film to bring both the live action scenes and the CG scenes together. They’ve also done research on the athletes themselves and were really thinking about how to tell the story of Amani’s team as a group while also focusing on them as individuals – with a clear distinction between past, present and future.”

On the previous collaboration between Droga5 and Meta, “Skate Nation Ghana,” agency executive producer Mike Hasinoff explained that Daniel Wolf—Director, Co-Founder, Love Song, and Executive Producer at Amani—developed a “unique directing structure” that allows the director to serve as a creative executive producer across the board. production parts, and act as a great guiding voice for a team of young and up-and-coming directors. It is this combination of experienced mentoring with innovative youth that gives Skate Nation Ghana its “freshness,” says Mike, explaining how they replicated this unique filmmaking dynamic on Amani and pushed it to the next level.

“WE DON’T JUST HAVE ILLIMITEWORLD, DANIEL [Wolfe] and dan [Williams, The Mill ECD] In Africa for all of our prep and filming days (along with DPs Diego Garcia and Shawn Peters), we also created space for three younger assistant directors to get a specific experience. On most shooting days, we had up to three different units taking shots at any one time. On some days, we had as many as seven different cameras taking shots. The assistants were thoroughly informed by ILLIMITEWORLD what they were looking for, then each manager and assistant had their own picks and settings. I’m sure our latest movie brings footage from everyone.”

Ben describes filming in East Africa, which includes an international crew, logistical challenges in remote locations, and months of pre-production planning as a “life-changing experience”—all the gears in the machine (or the gears on the bike) working tirelessly for a wish-team movie that navigates Across temperatures at altitudes of up to 7,900 feet.

Seeing for the first time, elite African cyclists push their limits on cobbled roads, Marlo Desiree, a member of the ILLIMITEWORLD directing team, said it was “absolutely amazing”. Impact on a white-dominated sport. Inspired by Claude Lelouch’s short film “Rendevous,” the directors spent five months writing, directing and editing to sum up the intensity of the riders racing across African landscapes.

“The dynamic of having a mentor like Daniel Wolf along with a super creative agency like Droga5 creates a strong ground for ambitious ideas. Everyone wants to make something psychedelic, and nobody seems to be afraid to try different ideas,” says Marlowe. Pulling it up and then flipping it into our own style is also wild. Our assistant director, Louis McCourt, was our secret weapon. We spent days watching every documentary about cycling and then came up with new ideas to make these classic ideas our own.”

She says this free, organic approach to filmmaking is the way ILLIMITEWORLD has always worked, explaining that breaking with tradition and rules allows the duo to educate the next generation of directors about creativity through intuition, and without indulging in vanity. “Creating an ad in this way was very refreshing.” Using their intuition to decide “what shit he needs” and implementing Tony Hill’s innovative jump rigs, bike, and SnorriCam, the directors featured a variety of types of shots and cameras throughout to represent Amani’s team’s past, present, and future — including a somewhat inventive editorial, shot with Super 8 camera attached to a drone.

Marlowe says, “We wanted to have a lot of texture; digital photography doesn’t really offer that, so we brought everything from Canon Super 8s to IR cameras and DV cameras and even had a Fisher Price camera that was spinning around.” One of the items was The main focus of the film is our use of spinning motion to take us through time and space. For this, we reached out to legend Tony Hill for his one-of-a-kind setup.”

While there was definitely no remote work on this project, there were certainly some remote filming locations – which provided some unique experiences for directors – especially when compared to Los Angeles rules and regulations that often “kill the fun” of the filmmaking process.

Marlowe adds, “One experience I will never forget happened while exploring an alley site in Iten. We stumbled across a local movie theater and was surprised when they opened the door and it was a black room of about 800 square feet with an 18 inch TV turned on. [Donnie Yen’s] ‘Intellectual Property Man’. The audience’s eyes were glued to the screen. It was a humbling experience, and it reminded me of how engaging cinema can be no matter the circumstances.”

Other moments of inspiration and excitement came from photographing the cyclists from the back of a moving vehicle with a portable camera fitted with a 100mm lens to capture the team’s expressions as they navigate the mountains, as well as the people who are naturally more beautiful. Snapshots of athletes in Nairobi, which served as a form of portraiture. About these frames from the movie, the director says, “I really like those shots because they stand out more than anything to me. Like the moment we see John, one of our cyclists, holding the mirror to his chest and the light reflected in the glass—that frame is like a case album. Honestly, it’s a shame we couldn’t use more of it.”

After finishing, ILLIMITEWORLD flew to New York and – over the course of a week – edited nearly two days of footage alongside ZED editors Dom Leung and Amber Saunders. According to Marlowe, this process “brought the needed spirit and spirit” to the track, combining footage with VFX sound effects from The Mill London and even including the composition of an original soundtrack from ILLIMITEWORLD producer, Bobcat Goldwav.

“The mod lock was the hardest part of the process,” says senior art director Ben Mockenstrom. “With so much to say and all the amazing shots we got, we had to try many, many versions and keep improving our film until the last minute. Editor Dom Leung is the real protagonist of this project. Creating the entire CG metaverse was challenging as well. There are so many details that These should be considered when building a world that is still shaping, such as imagining what a futuristic boardroom would look like if it was created from the perspective of our East African team, or how the graphics on augmented reality cycling goggles would look.”

He adds, “This was also our first time working with motion capture, which was a great learning and thrill experience for us. We filmed all our CG talents in the metaverse scenes using motion capture so the team at The Mill had references to work from. It’s been a while. A huge challenge to bring the metaverse into the very unique style of filmmaking for ILLIMITEWORLD. This was a close collaboration between the directors and the Dan Williams team at The Mill, and we were amazed when we started seeing actual web footage replacing the preset placeholders.”

For Mike Hsinov and Tom Glover, this project became more than another experimental and engaging work for Meta, as Mike said Amani and Skate Nation Ghana added purpose for how to bring the work to life. Describing the projects as “hugely creatively satisfying” and “inspiring to collaborate in a deeply meaningful way with our directors and creative partners,” the executive producer says they’ve shifted conversations about working with young talent — both inside and outside of Droga5.

“For both of us, filmmaking now extends to concept and building in the past – team building and the overall experience of all involved improves the quality of the work. It is a pleasure to see these principles spread to other creators and producers.”

While Meta’s current communications products and new augmented reality technologies may offer people hope that one day they – like Team Amani – will be able to partake in their wildest dreams, this cutting-edge approach to filmmaking, is carried out at a high level and thanks to the trust between collaborators. This gives Marlowe hope for the future of advertising.

She says, “We need to create with faith over fear; that’s the only way to make things like this. I’m really proud of this piece, and I think it will open new portals in the creative process of advertising.”

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