LA-based Sandwich Video launched in 2009. The creative agency/production facility, whose staff has grown by 80% over the last year with 30% of that growth in the post-production department, creates video and tv commercials for brands like Starbucks, Facebook, Amazon Studios, and Air BNB.
Sandwich’s signature style is clean brand messaging. “The use of graphics came out of necessity for simple communication,” says Jeff Hodges, VFX Artist. “If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the use of graphics allow us to use fewer words while getting more information across at the same time.”
The team uses Adobe’s Creative Suite together with mocha AE (bundled free inside AE CC) and now the mocha Pro 5 plug-in for Adobe. “The majority of our time of course is spent in our NLE, Premiere Pro,” states Hodges. “But with the amount of clean-up and graphics work we tend to do on every project, we spend a lot of time in After Effects and mocha. The second you see the benefit that mocha provides over the built-in AE tracker, you just can’t go back.”
“We use mocha on every project that comes through the company,” continues Hodges. “And with the new availability of the mocha Pro plug-in for Premiere, we can start our tracks much earlier in the offline editorial phase and start seeing more accurate temp graphics in our earlier edits rather than having to wait until the online edit.”
On average, the team uses mocha for tracking between 30-50% of their shots per project and many of their projects have a tech component like a computer or device screen. “Using mocha to track screens is a no-brainer because it works so well,” adds Hodges. “We use it to track just about everything. Even on something simple like this Starbucks shot, I personally did 6 or 7 shots that used mocha for clean-up — and you’ll never be able to tell which ones!”
Sandwich has more recently been leaning on mocha for 3D tracking. Earlier this year, the team worked on a small project for a satiric independent sci-fi film Creative Control which was picked up by Amazon Studios. The film revolves around “Augmenta”, augmented VR glasses. The project involved a lot of 3D tracking, rotoscoping, and paint work to achieve the polished and refined work Sandwich strives for. “We shot anamorphic with some old lenses and very low depth of field, which didn’t give us a lot to go off of. After trying 3D tracks in AE, then Nuke, and even Boujou, I was about to give up.” comments Hodges. “I managed to get a workable solve using the planar tracking to 3D camera solve workflow in mocha Pro. mocha managed to save the day for a shot that we would have otherwise faked rather painstakingly by hand.” (See footage below.)
“The biggest reason to use mocha is simply that the results speak for themselves,” ends Hodges. “You can solve tracking nightmares with the click of a button and that’s what makes it great.”