point 1: i see your point dom, there is a part of me that wonders where all those windows are that i see in the reflections. a part of me considered making a visible background to match the reflections.....very backward and convoluted i know, but, one of the original comments i had back off the company was that they wanted to see somthing integrated into a real life background. this is something i havnt really done before. i dont think i have the software to do it. i have after effects, and have looked at the digital tutors lessons about using that for 3d/2d integration...pre matte multipliers and all that. i also signed up for the cg society nuke compositing course, starts in 3.
back on topic, i get your idea of using just a black and white ibl.
i take it then that you dont ever set the ibl to 'emit light', or 'emit photons'? i have experimented with this a couple of times but unless the scene is extremely light, intricacy wise,mr usually just crashes.
point 2: i thought, seeing as i have this maya scene/animation now, id play with it a little. i have animated the camera and added some spinning lights in the background. its no longer for the job application so im just playing, but as a quick fix i switched on the 'optimize fg for animation' in the render settings. seemed to work ok,less flickering, but def loss of lighting quality. any views on this approach?
Edit: Link to newer version : http://vimeo.com/15295384