a52 has continued to bolster its roster with the signing of Andrew Bate as VFX Supervisor/Flame Artist. A multitalented VFX pro whose work spans the commercial, music video and film worlds, Bate’s recent efforts includes a Cannes Gold Lion and Emmy-winning Olympics spot for Procter & Gamble, a D&AD Annual-winning ad for Xbox, a Sports Emmy-winning promo for MLB, and Honda’s infamous Matthew Broderick’s Day Off Super Bowl ad from earlier this year.
Our favorite music teacher is back for more… (jeans that is) with the help of director, Andreas Nilsson and our very own Jesse Monsour. Jesse took to his stop motion animation skills and helped Andreas and the Target team at WK create a world where jeans and backpacks march to a beat all their own.
Nike “Ringmaker” premiered after LeBron James and the Miami Heat won the 2011-2012 NBA Championship game against Oaklahoma City. The spot directed by Errol Morris tells the tale of LeBron’s rise to fame and the craftsman that makes the ring that will eventually garner his finger.
a52’s Paul Yacono colored the spot giving it a gritty, honest tone that reflects the storytelling that W+K and Morris were striving for.
Kicking off the London 2012 Olympics with a bang. We were tasked by TBWA/Chiat Day with bringing four classic Olympic moments to life in a new way. Using archival footage as a starting point we used CG & careful compositing to enhance these moments— bringing us closer to the action. Hopefully the first of many great Olympic spots to come this year.
Always up for a challenge – we definitely found ourselves looking for creative solutions when Wieden & Kennedy + Max Malkin brought the latest Nike Golf project our way. The goal was to take some the great moments in recent tournament golf and strip the crowds away to experience the contrast between the serenity of the golf course and the excitement that comes with the tournament and the crowds.
The process was turned upside down as shots were picked and edited ahead of shooting – then came the fun part. Lead artist Jesse Monsour explains “We faced most of the challenges during production when we were shooting plates to match the stock footage exactly. We were able to get fairly close in camera but not perfect. We had to make a lot of adjustments in Flame to match up the shots more precisely. The next challenge was in the fact that these new plates we shot were incredibly clean, high-resolution images from a RED Epic camera. The stock footage was from various sources shot on cameras that aren’t meant to capture images nearly as clean and crisp. We had to play around a lot to find a look that would marry the two separate images so that the stock footage wouldn’t feel so cut out against these super clean backgrounds.”
What could be more fun than blowing up things? Doing it with Matt Asselton and 72 + Sunny in Buenos Aires. At least that’s what VFX Supervisor Andy McKenna said after returning from the three day shoot in BA.
Matt was intent on focusing on the performance given the dry comedic spokesperson for the campaign. So having Andy on set with him was a tremendous asset. Combining multiple live action plates, FX elements, matte paintings and CG aliens quickly grew to an inordinate amount of work.
Production designers laid the ground work in BA with incredibly detailed art direction for the foreground elements. But making BA feel like Armageddon was no easy task.
Once everyone returned to LA, the heavy lifting began. 3D matte paintings were designed for use in multiple scenes. In particular, the devastated apartment that seconds as a base jumping platform uses a matte painting that consisted of about 70 layers giving the scene outside depth and complexity. On top of that, the alien that poses for the hosts’ cameraphone was an original a52 design created entirely in CG. Alien spacecraft, meteors and explosions rounded out the contributions from the CG department.
“Working with Matt is always a pleasure,” McKenna commented. “But he definitely had the right idea in BA. If you ever get the opportunity to go there in the summer to blow up some stuff, make sure you get a couple of bikini girls in there for good measure. Makes the shoot day go a lot faster.”
There’s a lot we can do in VFX, if only we could actually make the Cubs win. But we did our best to fake it in this moving spot that imagines what the city of Chicago would be like if the Cubbies won the World Series.