Special Effects

The Kitchen.

Most people never realize just how much work goes into producing a TV commercial. For the most part what we see, if we are fast-forwarding over them, is the fifteen-second edit of the original sixty-second spot. They whiz by in a blip sandwiched between other ads that blend into a seamless stream of no one paying attention. But occasionally someone posts a video showing how things get done.

Have you ever wondered how they match the 3D animations to live action footage? Blend shots together? What the total production of a video looks like?  The video below for Canal+ shows you. No it doesn’t go into any lengthy detailed VFX breakdown, but it does give you a pretty solid idea of what it took to produce the promotional spot titled “The Kitchen”.

The finished sixty second spot

How they made it.

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Antartik.

Sometimes the simplest looking things, can be the most complex to produce. The video below is one of them. This features a blend of live action, animation, and stop motion, but the real magic is the seamless editing that took place to pull this off. This TV commercial is for Antartik, a new line of notebooks for Liderpapel. Directed and animated by Lucas Zanotto for BBDO and Passion Pictures London it really demonstrates the attention to detail and craft need to pull this off. There is no mention of an editor in the Vimeo credits so I’m going to assume it is Zanotto. After you watch it, do yourself a favor and scrub the through the video to see the change points.

Fast Romantics and Fred Astaire Dance on the Ceiling.

I don’t post music video stuff very often. Music videos get a ton of exposure and mostly people are interested in the band and not what it took to put the video together. The video below from Fast Romantics is an exception. Taking quite possibly is Fred Astaire’s most famous dance scene (1951’s Royal Wedding) where Astaire dances on the walls and ceiling of his hotel room, director Matthew Angus seamlessly blends the original footage with the new shots. If you haven’t seen the original sequence, I have added it below as well. This is absolutely fantastic.

Behind the Scenes of “Fable”.

By now most people have seen or read about the ads that were featured on Super Bowl Sunday. While there wasn’t anything all that mind blowing, there were some spots that really entertained, one of them being the Mercedes-Benz Tortoise and Hare “Fable” commercial for the AMG GTS.

Both the commercial and the making of are below. It’s the making of/behind the scenes video that interests me. When I first saw the spot, I thought the entire piece was CG. I had no idea that there was any live footage blended in. Since all the animals are CG I simply figured the car and the environment were digitally created as well. I was wrong. When you watch the behind the scenes video, you see just how much actual footage was blended in with the digital components, and its really pretty impressive. Director Robert Stromberg and his crew did a masterful job of creating a visually stunning spot for Mercedes-Benz.

Outer Space Portrayed in the Movies.

Since the dawn of civilization humans have always had a fascination with space. From that point where we first looked up at the night sky and pondered the stars and the vastness of the night sky, through today where we still explore the heavens. One of the more interesting takes on our fascination with the heavens and space is how it has been portrayed in film, especially in the last 50 years. As special effects have progressed from the ground breaking2001: A Space Odyssey”, to today’s blockbuster “Interstellar” the portrayal of space in film is one of amazing visuals and fantasies drawn out of human experience and imagination. The video below is wonderful edit of just how space has been portrayed in the movies. At almost 4 minutes in length it’s worth watching. Now can you name all of the movies referenced here?

Gang Films and Digital District Produce an Epic Spot for Volvic.

So you make mineral water and you want to advertise in a way that sets you apart from the crowd. What are you going to do? The competition is stiff and you are selling water. What you do is, hire  and Gang Films to produce a spot that feels like a movie trailer for an epic Sci-Fi movie. I have no idea what the budget or production schedule was on this, but I can tell you it wasn’t cheap, and it took some serious time and effort. If this doesn’t sell some Volvic mineral water, I don’t know what will.

“What If” The New Nissan Juke Spot from UFO.

The spot below was produced by UFO for Nissan and TBWA / Else. Directed by Sebastien Cannone it features a nice blend of CGI and live action footage with copious amounts of special effects thrown in. If you watch this on a system with surround sound, turn up the volume. If not put on your headphones. The sound design is really, really good. There are so many things Iike about this spot. The fact that it is in an ultra-wide aspect ration, the blue color pallet, the entry shot where the Juke assembles from a series of particle systems, and so much more. This is a perfect example of you get what you pay for. Big money went into producing an ad that feels like a big budget film. What a great look for 30 seconds of automotive eye candy.