Technicolor Dreaming with Reuben Wu and VW

Sometimes taking on a project requires learning new and unexpected skills. Earlier this year, Reuben Wu was tasked to bring the “Vibrant Power” motto to life for the new 2021 VW Arteon.

“The concept was all about saturated color but done in an artful way. Part of my idea was to use a technique which would have the colors they want but also give this idea of something that is more unusual than most. I’ve done it before, but it was great opportunity to develop that technique and take it to a different level,” said Reuben.

While light painting may not be a new skill for Reuben, “In order to achieve the quality of light painting needed for the project, I learned how to ride a OneWheel electric skateboard, and I am so glad I did!”

Although it may seem like waving a magic wand, light painting takes a certain amount of forethought and experimentation to perfect. While his digi-tech triggered a long exposure, Reuben jetted around on a skateboard, holding a beam of light to bring the scenes to life.

The skateboard essentially became a dolly and Reuben used the light source to illuminate and add color parts of the image.

“It worked far better than a conventional skateboard you can only push off once before slowing down,” said Reuben. He tinkered with other types of people-movers, but the electric skateboard seemed like the most natural and lightweight option.

The concept also called for talent and figuring out how they would inhabit this world. Adding talent required additional planning since they would be in motion, so Reuben captured them with strobes lights.

You can see where Reuben makes his mark to beautifully cast light on the shape and details of the Arteon. He bathes the vehicle and background in a palette of vibrant hues. Throughout this process, Reuben becomes an entirely different artist. Instead of capturing what is in frame, Reuben creates the image as the camera captures it. While it does require practice and planning, Reuben makes it feels quite magical.

The final element of wizardry involved having a retoucher on set to pull all the raw images together, make sense of them, and share rough comps with client. It really helped the client visualize what was shot and how the individual pieces would come together to create an enchanting image.

We are spellbound by the radiant images that Reuben created for this campaign and can’t wait to see what other tricks he has up his sleeve for the next project!