Brickyard VFX in Winter Olympics
1 March 2006
Brickyard VFX lifts up US Olympians and audiences in a series of AT&T commercials for the 2006 Winter Games. The campaign includes the :30 HD ads “Ski Lift” and “Medal Ceremony,” which promote Brickyard VFX’s compositing, animation and effects expertise to create everything from lift lines connecting two continents to an 8,000-mile fly-over around the world. The ads were directed by Colin Gregg via Therapy Films UK, with GSD&M in Austin, TX, as the advertising agency for “Ski Lift” and Rodgers/Townsend in St. Louis, MO, as the advertising agency for “Medal Ceremony.”
In “Ski Lift,” the U.S. team travels by chairlift all the way from America to Italy. Using VFX, athletes are able to ride past downtown office buildings, across rural farmland and even over the ocean to disembark at a snowy Turin piazza. “Medal Ceremony” makes use of AT&T’s technology to bring a child inspiring images of an Olympics medals presentation. Both spots end with the V/O “Connecting you with the 2006 U.S. Olympic Team” and tag “The new AT&T. Your world delivered.”
“Ski Lift” involved a large combination of 2D and 3D effects work and collaboration by the Brickyard VFX team. Real ski chairs were shot on greenscreen, using a special rig that could be rotated 360 degrees. This allowed Brickyard to build a library of rotations to accommodate any angle needed for the production. Ski poles and cables were produced digitally and then composited invisibly within the live-action plates. For a shot in which the lifts go over tanker ships, Brickyard VFX created the ocean in full CG. The company also produced CG effects for the city of Turin, including sky and mountain replacements and falling snow.
“The ‘Ski Lift’ spot required a combination of 3D digital effects, 2D compositing, painting and beauty work, as well as effects enhancements to the different city settings. One of the bigger challenges was lighting the CG and color correcting it all so that everything would sit perfectly and accurately in the environment,” said Jay Lichtman, Executive Producer, Brickyard VFX.
“Medal Ceremony” saw Brickyard VFX, among other things, creating a 12-second, 100-percent CG sequence allowing the viewer to fly around the world from North America to Turin, Italy.
“This ‘journey’ sequence had us producing a photo-real depiction of Earth with details to an unbelievable degree,” explained Lichtman. “We created and did extensive R&D to produce clouds, displacements, city lights and grids, continents and more. It was a difficult task, but it was a great collaborative effort at Brickyard.”
The AT&T campaign again teamed up Brickyard VFX with director Colin Gregg and Therapy Films, who recently tapped the company to complete effects on a series of spots for Goodyear.
Titles: “Ski Lift,” “Medal Ceremony”
Group Creative: Russell Lambrecht, John Trahar
Creative Director: Bryan Edwards, Victor Camozzi
Producer: Kristin Roberts
Agency: Rodgers / Townsend
Executive Creative Director: Tom Hudder
Creative Director: Mike McCormick
Art Director: Luke Partridge
Producer: Kristin Roberts
Production Company: Therapy Films UK
Director: Colin Gregg
Executive Producer: Ewen Brown
Editing: HutchCo Technologies Inc.
Editor: Jim Hutchins
Post Production/Effects: Brickyard VFX
Compositors: Mandy Sorenson, Patrick Poulatian, George Fitz, Joe Morrison, Tony Graf, Jason Fotter
3D Artists: Yafei Wu, Robert Sethi, Miguel Geurrero, Hoya Lee, Keith Hamm
Executive Producer: Jay Lichtman