Financial Times / Make Sense Of It All

Our friends at Ratchet recently approached Orchard Post to provide VFX support on a major TVC for the Financial Times. The concept behind the ad was to capture that first moment the news reaches the viewer in a very up close and intimate way, the moment we are first exposed to the striking imagery of world affairs.

To capture this first point of exposure the main focus of the advert was on the eye, the eyes of the FT’s broad and diverse readership. By reflecting imagery from the news in the eye of each reader, this advert cleverly captures this first point of contact and represents the unprecedented access the FT provides its readers.

After our initial briefing we were tasked with advising the DOP with the best possible conditions to capture each eye ahead of the shoot. Once this was agreed in principle we then sent along a VFX supervisor to the set to ensure the conditions for the shoot were inline with our prior discussions. As we would be adding each reflection in post it was important that the eyes were shot with minimal natural reflections so that we had a neutral canvas to overlay the additional imagery. It was also important that the lighting also brought out the depth of colour and intricacies that are unique to each human iris to make the advert as visually striking as possible.


Beyond lighting it was also essential that each eye was as stationary as possible in frame to avoid as much stabilisation and tracking in post. It is extremely difficult for anyone to hold their heads perfectly still, so Ratchet employed the use of an optical chin rest to hold each of the models heads perfectly still while shooting. With a highly successful shoot complete we were then provided all the plates pre-graded and to length, making for an extremely efficient workflow.

When it came to approaching clean up we were required to remove anything from excess veins in the eye to flecks of out of place mascara. As each person is different we had to take an individual approach when working on each plate to maintain an overall consistently across all the shots. As well as clean up we also had to add the ‘reflected’ imagery on to each eye. Due to the different eye colours we also had to take a custom approach to each eye in order to make the reflections as legible as possible. As some of the cuts in the edit were very fast paced legibility was of upmost importance so the viewer could instantly recognise each image through the sequence.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable project to work on presenting few problems along the way, this was no surprise with such a highly successful, well managed shoot and an extremely well organised working pipeline.

Software: After Effects

CLIENT: Ratchet


CREATIVE DIRECTOR & VFX ARTIST: Luke Barker (Orchard Post Ltd)

PRODUCER: Martin Cook (Orchard Post Ltd)

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Kabir Malik (Kabbage)

ART DIRECTOR: Caitlin Smyth

EDITOR: Nick Usher

DOP: Matthew Brown

VFX SUPERVISOR: Michael Woodruff (Orchard Post Ltd)

MOTION GRAPHICS: Stefan Davis & Sean Womersley