Goodness me, I'm really enjoying blogging!!!  Jess's Woman Crush Wednesday interview had a lovely response from people on Facebook.  Thursdays, sticking with hashtag tradition, will be Throw Back Thursday and today I just want to remind people of this little incident.  "Hold up... When you wha...?" I just heard you say!  Yeah!!  Body Doubled Beyoncé!  Let me explain....

It was such a top secret job that I was not allowed to film or own any of the filming done that day.  All I have to show for it are these 2 photos: Top Right - me in the Motion-Capture suit, Bottom Left - a photo of my image taking a photo of myself CGI'd as Beyoncé on the large TV screen which was capturing the image from all 6 camera which picked up the reflected points on my suit. 

It was about three years ago, near Christmas when it was suggested that I apply for a 'gig'.  An old friend posted on my Facebook wall "Zoe, there's a job going where you have to dance about like Beyoncé, if you're up for it, email this address ....".  I was intrigued but the reality was far better than anything I had imagined.  

I emailed the address and was called from the States and told that the job was TOP SECRET and before they could do anything I would need to sign a non-disclosure agreement form.  At no point had anyone asked to check if I could dance, which I thought was strange and there weren't any other applicants - the job was mine if I wanted it.  I was then patched through to a conference call with a director and a couple of other people, some were in the States and some were in London.  It was then that I was told that their potential client was Pepsi and they were pitching for the new commercial with Beyoncé.  They were making a "PRE-VIS VIDEO" which was to be shown to Pepsi chiefs and Beyoncé so that they didn't have to imagine, they could see it.

They explained that the concept was that Bey was to be rehearsing in a studio and turns off the music to have a can of Pepsi when she is then met by her previous selves (Crazy In Love Beyoncé, Destiny's Child Beyoncé, Single Ladies Beyoncé, you know) who would all have a dance off with her.   She would then do an awesome dance move that was so great she would shatter the mirrors!  (When I first saw the real advert it was so bizarre watching it happen exactly as had been described to me, knowing what was coming next but having only imagined it until that point.) 

I was emailed a video montage of Beyoncés best known dance moves and asked to learn the sequences.  The way the clips were cut made it difficult to learn like they were asking me as there was no thought put into the phrasing within the music and the change in BPM throughout, but I did my best.

The next day I was at Framstore in Central London, in their Motion Capture Studio wearing a velcro all in one with ducky little scull cap and reflective mini ping pong balls stuck in strategic spots about my person.  Here is a video which explains how it is all done...

I was 'directed' from LA via Skype by the director who asked me to try various things and the crew were most impressed by my heel-wearing-dancing-skills.  This is what the director said...

"Recently, Framestore LA completed a very challenging project for Pepsi, involving Beyonce. One of the main techniques we use in the visual fx industry, is previsualization, where we test the concept with basic CG geometry and cameras, to inform ourselves and the director about what can be achieved, how to achieve it, and to further develop the ideas, prior to shooting. It is also often integral to convincing our clients that we are the best team to realise their vision, and therefore wining the contract. 
Zoe came on board with very little notice, to recreate some of Beyonce's signature dance moves, in our motion capture studio in London. We directed her, via skype from LA, which cannot have been easy, but she was flexible with her time, brilliant to work with and executed all the moves we needed - in heels! 
Her performance drove the animation for our CG Beyonce, enabling us to produce an accurate PreViz edit of the commercial, and I believe this was a huge factor in convincing the agency 180 LA, to partner with Framestore. 

The commercial has received almost 10 million hits on Youtube alone, within a couple of weeks and is now on TV globally. In a similar situation we would certainly be happy to work with Zoe again."

No, I didn't get to meet Queen Bey.  No, I'll never see the pre-vis vid.  But I have got a very cool story that I will no doubt dine on for years to come... and it's one of the many reasons I am Officially Fabulous!! ;)