Arianna & Pitbull: “Sexy People” (a.k.a. The Fiat Song)

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Luma Pictures
AGENCY: The Richard’s Group

An Italian songstress I’d never heard of. A Cuban rapper named after a canine. An abundance of ridiculously fit women with embarrassingly tight swimsuits. Topless mermaids. Something resembling a spy plot. An armada of Fiat 500s that drive both underwater and on the ocean surface. The ultimate beach dance party. And of course, Charlie Sheen.

Every now and then, I get to work on a project that’s batshit nuts. And with this one, I got to participate in the insanity three times – in English, Italian, and Spanish – because, of course, every language needs an entirely different edit with entirely different takes.

So … Three conforms, with three times the beauty work, three times the sky replacements, three times the ocean clean-up and land removal, and three times the dancing fish and floating Fiats of an entirely CG underwater kingdom. You get the general idea.

On the plus side, the end result does put a smile on my face. And I have to say, even though I can’t stand listening to the song, it does sound best in her native Italian.

For each of these videos, I worked with fellow Flame artist Chris DeCristo.

Dewar’s: “Highlander Honey”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Luma Pictures
CLIENT: Dewar’s
AGENCY: Opperman Weiss
DIRECTOR: Moshe & Eddie Brakha

Almost all of my work for this spot was performing beauty work on actress Claire Forlani. She doesn’t really need it. But creative direction made it a necessity.

The spot features an aggressive color grade, with contrast crunched to extremities and chroma shifted entirely to grainy gold. Also, she stands behind a prominently featured window screen that creates a subtle pattern over her face. Combined, these circumstances exaggerate normal facial features, transforming wrinkles into patterned crevices and blemishes into pixellated black holes.

The solution was less procedural and more manual frame-by-frame paint and source node work. In nearly every instance, the window screen also needed to be rebuilt and/or restored in a manner that didn’t re-introduce any imperfections to her face. A bit more challenging than the typical “airbrush” job.

In addition, I also comp’d a CG bee sting, and did product beauty work and animation for the product resolve.

T-Mobile: “Come Out of the Dark”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Luma Pictures
CLIENT: T-Mobile
AGENCY: Publicis Seattle

Although a fairly straightforward endeavor, “Come Out of the Dark” proved to be one of the more unique projects I had the opportunity to work on last year. Not because of the work itself. Moreso due to the circumstances surrounding it.

Luma Pictures, primarily a feature film FX house, was looking to make a stronger showing in the commercial market. This meant something new for them – finishing in Flame.

When I arrived to start conforming “Come Out of the Dark,” if I didn’t know any better, I’d have thought their Flame bay had been a staple in their facility for years. In reality, it was set up the day before with a rental box to boot. To be honest, the whole thing was a little frightening in retrospect. But overall, an impressive demonstration in rising to a challenge. And easily, one of the smoothest projects I worked on that year.

As far as the actual work, the spot consisted of the usual suspects – swapping practical set products with CG replacements, color correction all-around, some signage clean-up, anamorphic lens flares, and some lighting tricks here and there.