Samsung: “Amazing Things Happen: You Need to See This”

LONG-FORM COMMERCIAL
ROLE: Lead Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mission
AGENCY: 72andSunny
DIRECTOR: James Mangold

I don’t recall a whole heck of a lot about this spot, except having 3-4 days to conform and finish it, so it could air in time for the Oscars. I also recall there being a snafu with the watch geometry supplied by Samsung, which created a few degrees of stress.

As per the norm for these Samsung spots, I handled screen comps, general shot clean-up, and the CG end card, which used to be twice as long and far more graceful in an earlier rendition. For some reason, it got cut down in the final. Also, there was endless discussion to the layout of all these devices and how much they should each be silhouetted.

Samsung Galaxy: “LeBron Dunk” | “Pencil”


Samsung Galaxy Note 3: “LeBron Dunk”

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1: “Pencil”

COMMERCIAL
ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mill
AGENCY: 72andSunny

I clearly recall these two spots being a total pain in the ass. Both were focused on Samsung’s Galaxy family of mobile devices, the former “LeBron Dunk” on the Note 3, and the latter “Pencil” on the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1. And both were poking fun at their main competitor Apple, and their mobile equivalents.

That brings me to “LeBron Dunk.” This was challenging for two reasons. The footage couldn’t be digitally altered in any way, since this was a comparison between the two screen displays. That proved difficult, when addressing content revisions, because both screens had to be reshot side-by-side, on their respective devices, under the same lighting conditions, to uphold the validity of the comparison. And there were a lot of revisions.

I worked on all the wide side-by-sides, as well as the endcard, which featured the only CG element. I also contributed concept work to deciphering the look of the background environment, which admittedly doesn’t look like much. But it took a lot of back and forth to arrive at the given dark nebulous space that appears in the spot.

“Pencil” had similar background challenges. Again, this spot was shot all in-camera. But finding the correct lighting and depth cues to reveal each device had to be refined in post. And the right shade of darkness on the background surface helped determine that.

I contributed the opening reveal, the side-by-side screen comparison, which also had the same complexities as “LeBron Dunk,” and the endcard, which again featured the only CG element.

Samsung Galaxy Family: “Home Olympics”


COMMERCIAL
ROLE: Lead Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mission
AGENCY: 72andSunny

If memory serves, this was one of the easier Samsung spots to work on. It was still a minute long. And the schedule was under a week. But the workload was fairly straightforward. In other words, this was primarily a conform and clean-up job, with a lot screen comps, and a fancy CG endcard. Plus, there was a team of 6 Flame Artists.

I did a handful of screen comps, removed some logos from a snowboard for the downhill rooftop sequence, changed the time of day for the bathtub bobsled ride, and spent the remainder of the schedule crafting the triple product endcard.

Samsung Galaxy Gear: “Santa’s Secret”


COMMERCIAL
ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mission
AGENCY: 72andSunny

A humorous take on the holidays, Santa is in full Steve Jobs mode for this press conference parody product reveal of the new Samsung smart watch / mobile device.

The bulk of the work centered on the screen comps, the primary one being the motion picture-sized one behind St. Nick and his elf helper. There was a team of six, so those were split evenly. The main challenge was generating the content itself, which was created in After Effects and Flame, depending on complexity and timing.

Flame also contributed some subtle particle systems to emulate snow falling from the top of the stage.

And I handled the CG endcard, featuring four phones, a stylus, and a watch. When these endcards feature more than one product, the number of iterations can get out of hand. This one was no different.

Samsung Galaxy: “Meet the Note 3”


COMMERCIAL
ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mission
AGENCY: 72andSunny

Fairly straightforward yet elegant tabletop product spot for Samsung’s latest (at the time) Note 3 mobile device. This one involved the typical product beauty and rig removal for the phone.

Also, since the Note 3 was still in production at the time of our production, some of the screen content and functionality had to be built through 2D graphics and animation, and thus tracked back into the given shots. Some of that was handled in After Effects, some in Flame. I worked on the stylus functionality shots, as well as the watch.

Lastly, I built the endcard out of multiple plates to ensure proper timing and smoothness of product spin.

Samsung: “LeBron Always On”


LONG-FORM COMMERCIAL
ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mission
AGENCY: 72andSunny
PRODUCTION CO: Park Pictures
DIRECTOR: Lance Accord

This is the longest Samsung spot I worked on, during my permalancer days at the Mission. It’s mostly a found footage celebration of then-product sponsor LeBron James, with some original shots peppered throughout, and the requisite endtag product shot.

Being found footage, there was a fair share of cleanup, particularly in the NBA game footage, but also in background signage and product logos. Also, there was a fair amount of screen comps throughout … phones, tablets, flat screens, etc. I was one of six that handled the workload.

Lastly, as was now my M.O., I tackled the endcard, this round being assembled from turntable footage that needed to be rebuilt in 2D to accommodate agency preference. Screen comps, clean-up, glints and glimmers, and a new background space.

Samsung Galaxy Gear: “Evolution”


COMMERCIAL
ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mission
AGENCY: 72andSunny
DIRECTOR: Stuart Parr

This clever concept represents one of the earliest Samsung projects I worked on. Admittedly, I’ve never really cared for the smart watch, regardless of the brand, since I’m not the watch-wearing type. But I love the pop-culture references used here, nostalgic reminders of its historical presence, even if its been entirely in our on-screen imagination.

This spot had a quick turnaround, two or three days, if I recall. Each compositor got a watch or two to clean-up, comp, etc. I had Johnny Sokko, which was awesome, so my tasks included rig cleanup and watch beauty. I also had the endtag watch, which added a screen comp to the standard product beauty.

Sprint EVO: “Mobile Choir”


COMMERCIAL
ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Logan
CLIENT: Sprint
AGENCY: Leo Burnett

Sprint’s “Mobile Choir” demonstrates an unusual and clever way in which to market it’s data network. The spot features a choir of people using their smart-phones as faux instruments, thanks to various apps. Together, the group creates a harmonious musical composition, suggesting how smart phones and data can converge to create something greater than the sum of its parts.

Well … maybe that’s reading too far into it. But it’s nonetheless a creative bit of marketing.

The above featured spot represents the white version of the phone. Originally, this was shot with a black phone, and the ad’s first iteration was assembled with that in mind. Rather than re-shoot the phone for white, we decided to substitute a CG phone in it’s place. This necessitated the usual tasks – removal of the old phone, and tracking and integration of the CG one.

In addition, having worked on the black phone spots as well, there was a few extra tasks that either carried over, or needed to be revisited, such as revised screen comps (for content), shirt clean-ups (due to legal clearances), and plate color corrections (for enhancing the legibility of the white phone).

T-Mobile: “Come Out of the Dark”


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

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.

Sprint QIK: “Golf Cart”


COMMERCIAL
ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / Nuke Compositor / Matte Painter
VENDOR: Digital Domain
CLIENT: Sprint
PRODUCTION CO: Mothership
DIRECTOR: David Rosenbaum

Third in the “salt flats” series, this Sprint spot showcases the streaming video capabilities of the EVO 4G, through a humorous vignette concerning a golfer, his girlfriend, and a golf cart.

I split duties on this job between Flame and Nuke, using the former for finishing, and the latter for compositing.

All of the salt flat environments are pan-and-tile backgrounds constructed from on-set photos and footage. The talent and the sliding train sets are all shot live action on greenscreen. The golf cart, for the most part, is CG. And the golf course is a matte painting I did in Photoshop with grass textures I found on the web.